By Neal Earley
ROCKVILLE — With a rejuvenated electorate, Montgomery County’s early voting numbers are on the rise.
Perhaps because of national politics, or an unusually contested County Executive race, early-voter turnout numbers are on the rise in Montgomery County. In Montgomery County, 92,167 voted early, more than double the early-voter numbers from the last midterm election of 35,444 early votes in 2014, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
About 14.06 percent of the eligible voters in Montgomery County voted early, with 15,147 votes cast on the second-to-last day of the eight-day early-voting period, which ended Thursday. Those who missed the early-voting period can vote in the General Election on Nov. 6 at their local precinct.
For retired schoolteacher Anna Kofner from North Potomac, education issues are what drove her out to the polls Thursday afternoon – saying she voted for Democrats Ben Jealous and Marc Elrich.
“I’m concerned about educational funds and how they were depleted in a roundabout way by [Gov. Larry] Hogan,” Kofner said.
For voters in Maryland, early voting is sometimes an easier and more-convenient way to vote, with 11 early-voting centers located throughout the County. But while some early-voting centers are quick and convenient, there have been long lines at some – with wait times varying from zero to 55 minutes, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
While Kofner said she found voting early at the Executive Office Building efficient and easy, Joy Markowitz, who voted early in Silver Spring, said she found lines longer there.
Markowitz, who is a volunteer for the Marc Elrich campaign, has traveled around to several of the County’s early-voting centers. She said that while sometimes they are crowded, it’s a convenient option for many people.
“It feels like it’s giving people a good option, but that’s just based on my own personal experience,” she said.