FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — On Monday, Maryland opened 81 in-person early voting centers throughout the state.
As early at 5 a.m. voters in face coverings began forming lines outside of Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick–a full two hours before the 7 a.m. start time.
“There’s a lot going on with the pandemic, with the world today, around the world and we have to vote,” said Frederick County voter Rufus Pruitt, who joined the line of voters at 5:15 a.m.
According to election officials, by the time the doors opened to the polling station located within the school’s gymnasium, 267 voters were waiting.
Among the crowd were young voters casting their ballots for the first time, like 19-year-old Trent Malvin. He recalled standing by his parent’s side over the years and they placed their votes, but today he came alone.
“Coming in to vote for myself and choosing who I vote for was a unique experience,” said Malvin.
He says climate change and immigration are issues deciding how he casts his ballot, but most importantly, exercising his civic duty.
“Even if a whole bunch of other people vote for the person that I don’t vote for, I may be that one vote that decides who gets elected,” Malvin explained.
71-year-old Terry Robinson is also a first-time voter. Robinson is a Vietnam Veteran and explains that in past he hasn’t felt as confident in a presidential candidate as does in this 2020 election with top-of-the-ticket Republican President Donald Trump and democrat former Vice President Joe Biden.
“[Previously,] the people that I had to choose from to vote, I felt like I was voting for the lesser of two evils. I didn’t feel really committed to one or the other, so therefore I didn’t cast a vote,” said Robinson. “I’m committed in this voting here, I believe in the president I voted for.”
Within the first six and a half hours of voting, nearly two percent of Frederick County’s 177,964 registered voters cast their ballots at the polls. As of 1:30 p.m., election officials say, 1,290 democrats, 1,376 republicans, and 527 others participated in in-person early voting.
It took some more than an hour waiting in line to reach the polls, but for voter Tresler Stevens and her family, the rainy weather and waiting was worth it.
“We’re just going to have to wait it out because this voting is important,” Stevens said.
Early voting centers will remain open between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through November 2nd.
“We encourage Marylanders who would like to vote in person to take advantage of early voting,” said Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone in a press release. “While many Marylanders have, and continue to, cast their votes using mail-in ballots, voting early is one way to reduce lines and limit wait times at vote centers. The best time to vote in person is on a weekday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”
For more information on Maryland in-person early voting centers, click here.