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More Howard residents request mail ballots than any other county in Baltimore area, second most in Maryland

More Howard County residents are voting via mail ballot in the 2020 general election than almost any county in the state, according to data from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

A little more than 47% of Howard’s registered voters have requested mail ballots for the Nov. 3 election amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is more than any county in the Baltimore area and only trailing Montgomery County in the state.

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Howard County has approximately 226,000 active registered voters, and 107,554 of them submitted their vote-by-mail requests to the Howard County Board of Elections by the Oct. 20 deadline.

Guy Mickley, director of the Howard County Board of Elections, said while that number is close to a final tally, it will continue to slowly trickle up due to walk-in absentee ballot requests.

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The only jurisdiction to request more mail ballots by the deadline than Howard County was Montgomery County. About 56% of Montgomery’s 673,198 active registered voters requested mail ballots, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website.

About two in five Baltimore County (41%) and Anne Arundel County (40%) eligible voters requested mail ballots, while 38% of Baltimore City voters chose the option. Approximately one-third of Carroll County (31%) and Harford County (29%) active registered voters elected for mail ballots.

In total, 1.6 million of Maryland’s 4.1 million active registered voters (40.7%) requested mail ballots by Tuesday’s deadline.

Of the mail ballot requests in Howard County, all but 500 of them have been sent out by the elections office as of Thursday. Among the mail ballots sent to voters who requested them, 66,170 are Democrats, 16,807 are Republicans and 24,075 are not registered with the two major political parties.

About 59,000 completed mail ballots have been received by the Howard County elections office either via the United States Postal Service or the nine drop boxes located throughout the county. That number represents almost 55% of the mail ballots that were requested of the county elections office.

Voters sending back mail ballots must do so by Election Day. The envelope will not be counted if it is postmarked after Nov. 3.

Elections officials, including Mickley, have urged voters to send their mail ballots in as early as possible. The tabulation of mail ballots returned by voters began Oct. 1, which was the earliest start in the nation.

“Generally speaking, the earlier the better for us,” Mickley said in September. “If people decide to vote by mail, I would suggest sending their ballots back as soon as they can, either by mail or by dropping it off in one of the drop boxes.”

The county’s nine drop box locations for voters to place their mail ballots are:

  • Elkridge Landing Middle School, 7085 Montgomery Road, Elkridge
  • Howard County Board of Elections, 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 200, Columbia
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School, 9250 N. Laurel Road, Laurel
  • Lisbon Elementary School, 15901 Frederick Road, Lisbon
  • Long Reach High School, 6101 Old Dobbin Lane, Columbia
  • Marriotts Ridge High School, 12100 Woodford Drive, Marriottsville
  • Meadowbrook Athletic Complex, 5001 Meadowbrook Lane, Ellicott City
  • Reservoir High School, 11550 Scaggsville Road, Fulton
  • Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia

While the deadline to register to vote was Oct. 13 and the deadline to request a mail ballot was Tuesday, registered voters in the county who aren’t voting by mail still have two other options to vote: in-person voting on Election Day and early in-person voting, which begins Monday.

For early voting, voters have the choice of casting their ballots at five different locations from Monday through Nov. 2. The early voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, including Saturday and Sunday.

The early voting centers are:

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  • Long Reach High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Marriotts Ridge High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Meadowbrook Athletic Complex — multi-purpose room
  • Reservoir High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Wilde Lake High School — cafeteria and gym

For in-person voting on Election Day, Howard County voters will have 17 voting centers to choose from. Unlike in past years, voters will be able cast their ballots from any center in the county, rather than being required to vote at a specific polling location. The voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

The voting centers on Election Day are:

  • Atholton High School, 6520 Freetown Road, Columbia — cafeteria and gym
  • Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City — cafeteria and gym
  • Elkridge Landing Middle School — cafeteria and gym
  • Glenelg High School, 14025 Burntwoods Road, Glenelg — cafeteria and gym
  • Hammond High School, 8800 Guilford Road, Columbia — gym
  • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School — gym and gym 2
  • Lisbon Elementary School — cafeteria and gym
  • Long Reach High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Marriotts Ridge High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Meadowbrook Athletic Complex — multi-purpose room
  • Mt. Hebron High School, 9440 Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City — cafeteria and gym
  • Oakland Mills High School, 9410 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia — gym and auxiliary gym
  • Patuxent Valley Middle School, 9151 Vollmerhausen Road, Savage — cafeteria and gym
  • Reservoir High School — gym and auxiliary gym
  • River Hill High School, 12101 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville — cafeteria
  • Wilde Lake High School — cafeteria and gym

The election in Howard County features five Board of Education races — one for each district — and one race for Howard County Circuit Court judge.

See what those candidates had to say about their reasons for running: Circuit Court judge | District 1 | District 2 | District 3 | District 4 | District 5

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