Numbers from the State Board of Elections show that early-voting turnout is higher than in previous midterm elections.
Through the first five days of the week-long early-voting period, 17,079 people casted ballots for the 2018 primary election, a significant increase from the 9,672 ballots cast through the first five days of the 2014 primary.
Marjorie Roher, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County Board of Elections said the increase could be the result of two new factors in this year’s election – two new early-voting centers and a dramatic increase in the number of candidates running for office.
“The number of candidates running for the office is a contributor to the increase in the amount of voters,” Roher said.
Thanks to two additional changes – a new publicly-financed campaign system and term limits for members of the County Council preventing longtime members from running for reelection in 2018 – there is a large slate of candidates running for local office. So far, 33 Democratic candidates have filed to run for County Council at-large, an unprecedented number.
Roher said the unprecedented number of candidates on the ballot has led to increased interest and has set 2018 to be on pace for the highest early-voting numbers in the County’s history since early voting in Maryland first began for the 2010 elections.
In addition to the increased number of candidates, Roher said the two additional early-voting centers in Sandy Spring and Potomac are driving turnout, with the latter becoming one of the second-most frequented early-voting center in the County.
Roher said early voting tends to account for roughly 30 percent of the overall voter turnout in an election, but said the she cannot extrapolate that the increased early-voting turnout numbers will mean increased voter turnout on Election Day.
The early voting period ends June 21, meaning voters will have to wait until Election Day on June 26 to vote if they miss the early-voting period.