Carroll to have 2 early voting centers in 2018 elections

After a record number of county residents turned out to cast early ballots in 2016, some experiencing long wait times at Carroll’s lone site, the Carroll County Board of Elections announced there will be two early voting centers for the 2018 gubernatorial elections.

Voters in Carroll County will be able to cast ballots at either the Westminster Senior Activities Center, 125 Stoner Ave. in Westminster, or the South Carroll Swim Club, 1900 W. Liberty Road in Winfield.


Katherine Berry, the county’s elections director, will present information about the new early voting center and other information about the Board of Elections to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, the start of a series of presentations over the next two weeks from a number of organizations that receive county funding.

Carroll had 119,143 registered voters for the 2016 general election, according to the State Board of Elections.

In Maryland, counties with fewer than 125,000 registered voters are only required to provide one early voting center. Counties with more than 125,000 voters but fewer than 300,000 must offer three. That increases to seven centers for counties with voting populations of more than 300,000 but fewer than 450,000, and 11 early voting centers for counties with more than 450,000.

In the 2014 general election, 8,014 people voted during early voting. In the 2016 general election, that number rose to 19,756.

“Our hope is more people will use it because it is more accessible,” Berry said.

This decision comes after Carroll was the largest county in the state to offer fewer than two early voting center in 2016. The county’s one early voting center per 119,000 voters put it at more than double the statewide average of 45,294 voters per center, according to data from the state board of elections.

Early voting opens for the primary election June 14 and runs through June 21. Early voting for the general election runs from Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.

Additional conversations

Over the next two weeks, commissioners will hear from a number of organizations to receive highlights from the groups before the preliminary budget is prepared by the budget office and discussions on fiscal year 2019 begin in the spring.

This week, commissioners will hear from eight groups: the Board of Elections; the Arc of Carroll County; Plant Protection and Weed Management; and Flying Colors of Success; CHANGE Inc.; the Carroll County Historical Society; the Soil Conservation District; and Mosaic Inc.

This is the second year commissioners will bring in groups for discussions months before budget deliberations begin.

Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, said this is a way to jump-start that process and to have people come in and tell the board what new in their organization.

“That’s really helpful for us before we get to the budget process,” he added.

The groups can tell commissioners what’s new, some of the good things going on, if they’re doing something different and what some of their challenges are, Frazier said. Once the budget is prepared in the spring, he added, those in the organizations can come back and ask for additional money if it’s needed.


“This is about them telling us what they’re doing,” he said.

Frazier said any organization that receives funding from county government is welcome to speak in front of the commissioners.

Don Rowe, executive director of The Arc Carroll County, said he’ll spend his time when he appears before the commissioners on Tuesday giving them an update about the organization’s challenges to continue providing services, in addition to what the future holds. Rowe also said he’ll talk about how things have been going in a new, renovated space, ways The Arc has been providing safer services, what new groups they’re working with and a recent award they received.

“It’s nice that they do that to continue that conversation,” Rowe said of the commissioners’ process.

Previously, it was challenging, because organizations were trying to discuss the budget, plus highlights and anything else that had to be brought up, in a limited amount of time right before commissioners made decisions on the budget, he said.

“I think this process is much smoother,” he added.

Jeff Richardson, of Mosaic Inc, said via email he plans to highlight some of the organizational changes, key programs and key trends in their industry, as well as their plans.

Michael Shriver, of Change Inc., said via he will be focusing in several key messages, including accomplishments, transition, challenges and looking forward.

“Change Inc. has enjoyed a very productive year of growth and transformation,” he said. “Because of the wonderful support that we have realized from the community, foundations and the county commissioners we have moved the organization forward with significant enhancements in our infrastructure (facilities), transportation assets, and programs and services.”

Shriver said their challenges continue to be recruitment and retention of members of our team, space planning and the advent of the Community Settings Rule from Medicaid.

Michael Hardesty, president of Flying Colors of Success, said via email he’ll be focusing on successes and challenges. The greatest challenge his organization is seeing is lack of job applicants, he said.

“We have numerous job openings and cannot find anyone to fill them. Our pay is competitive, as are our benefits,” he added.

Hardesty said he will also go over recent increases in health insurance.

Lane Heimer, of Plant Protection and Weed Management said, via email, that highlights would be the Cooperative State/County Noxious Weed Control Program is “a solid program and running smoothly,” Heimer said.

“The program has had a good year and had great cooperation from landowners and farmers and by the county Highway Department and State Highway Administration,” he added.

Gainor Davis of the Carroll County Historical Society and Myron Frock of the Soil Conservation District had not responded to request for comment as of 6 p.m. Monday.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about how many people voted during early voting in Carroll County and the number of early voting centers needed based on number of voters. The Times regrets the error.