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Harford voters encouraged to cast ballots by mail in June 2 primary; in-person voting available at McFaul Center

Registered Democrats and Republicans in Harford County can have three options for casting ballots for their party’s nominee for president and member of the U.S. House of Representatives in next week’s June 2 primary election.

The majority of those voters will be making their choice via mail-in ballot this year, however, as state and local elections officials have had to make significant changes in how this year’s primary is run in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Maryland primary was postponed from April 28 to June 2, on the order of Gov. Larry Hogan. The governor ordered, in the same April 10 proclamation, that voters in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions have the ability to either vote by mail or go to an in-person voting center — each county should establish at least one voting center, according to the proclamation.

Harford County elections officials have sent 144,269 mail-in ballots to registered Democrats and Republicans, and one in-person voting center has been established at the McFaul Activities Center in Bel Air. The voting center, which will be open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m. on Election Day, is meant for those who need assistance with filling out their ballots, such as people with hearing or visual challenges, or those who cannot get to one of two drop boxes.

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“We won’t turn anyone away, but we strongly urge people to mail their ballot in or put it in a drop box,” county Election Director Cindy Remmey said Wednesday.

People can send their ballots via the mail, and they must be postmarked by June 2 to be counted, or they can put it in a drop box by 8 p.m. on June 2. The drop boxes, which are open 24 hours a day and are monitored at all times, opened late last week.

One drop box is at the McFaul Center, 525 W. MacPhail Road in Bel Air, and the other is at the Harford County Board of Elections headquarters, 133 Industry Lane in Forest Hill.

“We’re trying to make everything safe and adhere to the [state] guidelines,” Remmey said.

Counties have the option of establishing up to four centers for in-person voting, according to a state press release on the Harford County Board of Elections website. Harford elections officials decided to go with one location to ensure the safety of voters and staff, plus the McFaul Center is a known voting site having been used for early voting in past years, and it is centrally located, according to Remmey.

She encouraged people to sign the oath on their ballot before mailing it to ensure the ballot is counted. Anybody who has concerns about voting via mail can use a drop box, which people can drive up to and put in their ballots without exiting their vehicles, she noted.

People can track the status of their ballot online at the website, voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/VoterSearch, or they can call the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-8683.

Harford County voters will be choosing their party’s respective nominees for U.S. president, the District 1 and District 2 representatives to the U.S. House — District 1 incumbent, Republican Rep. Andy Harris, and District 2 incumbent, Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, both face primary challengers — as well as local delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions later this year.

Visit the Harford County Board of Elections website, harfordvotes.info, for more information, or call 410-638-3565.

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