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State sets early voting record

Hurricane Sandy notwithstanding, it took Marylanders less than three days to establish a new record for early voting turnout.

Somewhere in Maryland on Wednesday evening, the state's 219,802nd voter cast his or her ballot to push turnout past the mark set over six days in 2010, according to figures released Thursday by the State Board of Elections.

By the time the polls closed at 9 p.m. Wednesday, 225,618 voters had cast ballots at one of the state’s 46 early voting centers.

The 91,362 who went to the polls on Wednesday, the first day of voting after a two-day break for the storm, added up to the greatest single-day turnout for early voting yet.

The current election is the second in which Maryland has offered early voting. The first was the gubernatorial election of 2010.

Voters continued to crowd the polls on Thursday. By mid-afternoon, another 42,256 had cast their ballots, bringing the total count to 267,874, or 7.25 percent of the state's eligible voters.

Early voting had been scheduled to run from Sunday through Thursday. With Sandy bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, Gov. Martin O’Malley canceled voting on Monday and Tuesday, but extended the voting period through Friday and lengthened the hours the polls are to remain open.

Elections officials say it will not be possible to add more early voting days because poll workers need time to transition to the regular Election Day vote next Tuesday.

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