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Carroll County mail-in voting requests exceed 30%; number of election judges who have resigned deemed ‘normal’

Carroll County Election Director Katherine Berry has advice for voters preparing to cast their ballot during early voting, which begins on Monday, Oct. 26: Expect lines and social distancing.

Berry also is reminding voters that masks are required at Carroll’s early voting sites, the Westminster Senior and Community Center and the South Carroll Swim Club, both of which will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day through Monday, Nov. 2.

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“Plan to wear a mask or be provided with a mask to respect the election judges and other voters,” she said via email.

Some 46 election judges have resigned for various reasons since September, but Berry said that isn’t cause for concern.

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“It is normal for us to lose election judges leading up to early voting and Election Day. We always have extra judges on standby,” she said. “Now, if we have judges quit the day before Election Day, that will be a major problem because we don’t have enough to fill all of those positions, but we are doing OK right now. The conflict is having them trained adequately before being deployed for last-minute assignments. Being an election judge is not as simple as it sounds.

“I can’t stress enough, without our election judges, we can’t have in-person voting.”

Berry said the number of requests for mail-in ballots slightly exceeded her expectations. Carroll County has 127,051 active voters. She had expected 30%, or 38,115 voters, to request mail-in ballots. Through Oct. 21, 38,938 requests (30.6%) had been received. Berry is expecting about 18% of active voters to utilize early voting and some 37% to turn out on Election Day, Nov. 3.

More than 22,000 mail-in ballots have already been returned for counting, she said Friday. The period for requesting mail-in ballot applications has now passed.

Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 or returned to one of the county’s drop boxes — at the Board of Elections office, Liberty High School, North Carroll Senior and Community Center, Taneytown Police Department station, Westminster Senior and Community Center and South Carroll Swim Club — by Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. The first round of canvassing, which began Oct. 17, ended Saturday, Oct. 24. Canvassing will resume Nov. 5.

Berry said that without her staff of eight working 60- to 80-hour weeks, there would be no mail-in ballot counting or in-person voting. She said the elections office is by appointment only because she is trying to keep the staff healthy and safe so there are no quarantine issues between now and the end of the counting after Election Day.

“ ‘Election Heroes Work Here’ is our slogan this election," she said.

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