As reported by the Gazette, it is unclear whether early voting will increase voter turnout or result in individuals voting early instead of waiting until election day.
Regardless of whether residents know about early voting — or take advantage of it — Maryland will initiate early voting statewide this year. For the primary election, early voting will take place between Sept. 3 and 9, except for Sunday, Sept. 5. The primary election is Sept. 14.
Early voting also will be conducted before the Nov. 2 general election — from Oct. 22 to 28, except for Sunday, Oct. 24.
Thirty-two states nationwide offer some type of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Most election officials say they have no idea how many voters will turn out for early voting.
“It could be thousands; it could be hundreds; it could be no one,” said Gail Carter, Carroll County’s election director. “We don’t know how receptive the public is going to be for it, so it’s going to be a learning experience for the whole state.”
In other states that have adopted early voting, overall voter turnout has not been affected, said Guy Mickley, Howard County’s deputy election director.
“I don’t think early voting is going to have any impact on anything,” he said.