It's the first day of early voting in Maryland and judging by the lines outside of some polling places around the state, it's clear that many voters still prefer to cast their ballots in-person.
John Lee visited the Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall before it opened at 7 a.m. At the front of the line was Jo Ann West. The White Marsh resident had been waiting outside since 3:30 a.m.
John's 6:15 a.m. report:
She got in line so early because she owns an assisted living facility where she cares for veterans. Once she votes in the county, she is heading to Baltimore City to take a veteran to a voting center.
“I have to take him so he can cast his vote. I know I’m going to be in two lines today, so I did myself first and then I’ll go do my resident,” she said.
West said she wasn't suprised to see so many people in line during the wee hours of the morning.
“You’re going to see lines like this, you’re going to see people who got up much earlier than I did in all of the states across the country. Because we’ve had enough of Mr. Trump,” West said.
In addition to the lines that John witnessed at Baltimore County early voting centers, Emily Sullivan saw a healthy turnout at the voting center inside Dempsey's Restaurant at Camden Yards.
We’ve got a steady line here at Camden Yards. People about the enter the polling center say they’ve been waiting for about an hour and 15 minutes. pic.twitter.com/S9d2r7xB0F
— emily sullivan (@emilyasullivan) October 26, 2020
Emily's 9:30 a.m. report:
There’s a line wrapped around the ballpark by the ticket sales window. Voters about to enter the polling center say they’ve been waiting about an hour and fifteen minutes...and yes, there are a lot of jokes about how there are more people lined up to vote then there usually are to buy tickets at Birdland.
WYPR producer Mark Gunnery witnessed a long line of voters outside Mount Pleasant Church in East Baltimore.
— Mark Gunnery (@MarkGunnery) October 26, 2020
A WYPR Instagram follower by the name of @jamcn expected it to take two hours for her vote to be cast at the Mount Pleasant Church voting center.
Emily said election officials pasted red stickers on the ground six feet apart in an attempt to make sure voters were spread out. She also said voting booths were spaced far apart and poll workers stayed behind plexiglass.
In Baltimore County, John saw poll workers reminding voters to wear masks, keep their distance, and use hand sanitizer.
The State Board of Elections' Voter Guide includes additional information on how the state will protect voters inside polling places. The Baltimore Sun reported that temperature checks will be required for those casting a ballot inside Baltimore City voting centers, but WYPR's Rachel Baye says health screenings were not taking place this morning at the New Era Academy voting site.
The chief election judge here tells me they have not been doing any health screenings. However, every person who walks in gets a squirt of hand sanitizer, and all equipment is wiped down between voters.
— Rachel Baye (@RachelBaye) October 26, 2020
Election officials encourage residents to cast their vote during off-peak times (on weekends during early voting and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Election Day.)
- Listen to this Here and Now segment. Emily gave a report on early voting in Baltimore.
- Stories from the WYPR news team will air during All Things Considered (4:00-6:30 p.m.)
- Listen to Midday Tuesday at noon to hear an early voting update from Emily.
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This post will be updated. Get a complete roundup of voter information by visiting the WYPR Voter Guide and our Countdown to Election 2020 below.