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Expect a busy Election Day in Carroll County despite record-setting early voting numbers, election director says

On the eve of Election Day, the final day of early voting, Carroll countians streamed into the Westminster Senior Center and the South Carroll Swim Club to cast their ballots.

The lengthy line in Westminster produced about a 1-hour, 15-minute wait for voters who opted to come in after work Monday arrived at the senior center between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

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By mid-afternoon, more than 3,000 voters had turned out Monday, according to Election Director Katherine Berry, bringing the eight-day early voting total for Carroll close to 35,000 some five hours ahead of the 8 p.m. closing of the two sites.

According to Berry’s numbers, no fewer than 3,700 voters had turned out on any day of early voting with a preliminary high of 5,110 on Friday, Oct. 30. Fewer than 20,000 county voters participated in early voting during the last presidential election in 2016, the previous record high.

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Combined with the 39,051 Carroll voters who requested mail-in ballots, theoretically, the number of voters who cast ballots prior to Election Day was approaching 75,000 out out of Carroll’s 127,051 registered voters, although Berry did note that around 700 provisional ballots had been issued, mostly to those who requested mail-in ballots but changed their mind and wanted to vote in-person. Those ballots will not be canvassed until Nov. 13.

More than 2.2 million voters had cast ballots across Maryland, an unprecedented 55% pre-Election Day turnout. Drop boxes will be open until 8 p.m. Tuesday to accept ballots, and mail-in ballots postmarked Tuesday by 8 p.m. will be counted.

Prior to the election, Berry had predicted a turnout of about 85%, or some 108,000 voters. In 2016, 92,476 votes were cast in Carroll County, a nearly 78% turnout.

Even with the large early turnout, Election Day in Carroll County still figures to be busy.

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“I am expecting around 36,000 in-person voters tomorrow to go to our 13 vote centers,” Berry said via email. “Thankfully, most of the vote centers are facilitated in large gymnasiums so it will maximize the amount of voters who can check in and vote and hopefully keep the lines to a minimum.”

Thirteen voting centers will be open in Carroll County on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. Any Carroll registered voter can utilize any of the 13. They are:

· Francis Scott Key High School, 3825 Bark Hill Road, Union Bridge

· Liberty High School, 5855 Bartholow Road, Sykesville

· Manchester Valley High School, 3300 Maple Grove Road, Manchester

· New Windsor Community Room, 1100 Green Valley Road, New Windsor

· North Carroll Middle School, 2401 Hanover Pike, Hampstead

· Parr’s Ridge Elementary School, 202 Watersville Road, Mount Airy

· Pleasant Valley Fire Hall, 2030 S. Pleasant Valley Road, Westminster

· Sandymount Elementary, 2222 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg

· South Carroll High School, 1300 W. Old Liberty Road, Sykesville

· South Carroll Swim Club, 1900 W. Liberty Road, Westminster

· Taneytown Elementary School, 100 Kings Drive, Taneytown

· Westminster Senior Center, 125 Stoner Ave., Westminster

· Winters Mill High School, 560 Gorsuch Road, Westminster

Baltimore Sun reporter Emily Opilo contributed to this article.

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