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Early voting starts Monday. Here’s how to cast your ballot and make sense of Anne Arundel County charter amendments.

Anne Arundel County Board of Elections workers, clockwise from left, Bill Shepard, John Logansmith and Syeda Zainab count ballots to get a raw total of the ballots they collected Monday morning from drop boxes. Canvassers began counting early ballots received from the drop boxes and by mail at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections on Monday. Oct. 5, 2020.
Anne Arundel County Board of Elections workers, clockwise from left, Bill Shepard, John Logansmith and Syeda Zainab count ballots to get a raw total of the ballots they collected Monday morning from drop boxes. Canvassers began counting early ballots received from the drop boxes and by mail at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections on Monday. Oct. 5, 2020. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Anne Arundel County voters who wish to cast their vote in person this election cycle can begin doing so at 7 a.m. Monday at one of seven voting centers opening around the county.

Election Director Joe Torre expects voters to begin lining up by 6:30 a.m.

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Early voting is available from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. starting Monday through Nov. 2. Election Day hours are the same, but voters have 31 location options. Unlike a typical election year, voters can visit any voting center in the county and are not bound to their district’s precinct.

Masks are required for in-person voting, and voters who don’t have a mask will be offered one from elections staff or asked to vote at the Board of Elections in isolation to limit the risk of coronavirus transmission to other voters or election judges, Torre said.

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More than 91,000 Anne Arundel County residents have already cast their votes by mail and dropbox, a significant portion of 163,000 mail-in ballots that had been sent out as of Friday afternoon, said Deputy Election Director David Garreis.

Voters that received a mail-in ballot, but haven’t returned it yet, can drop it in any of the 32 secure drop boxes in the county. All the early voting centers are equipped with drop boxes, so voters don’t have to wait in line to submit a mail-in ballot. The boxes are open 24 hours, emptied twice a day by bipartisan pairs of election judges and are monitored 24/7 by security cameras.

Drop boxes and polling places will be open until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Every voter in line to vote or drop off their ballot will be allowed to do so as long as they are in line by 8 p.m., Torre said. Residents who wish to mail their ballots must have them postmarked by Nov. 3. If cutting it close, Torre recommends taking the ballot directly to a post office, rather than dropping it in a blue mailbox, which sometimes has delayed pickup times.

Where is early voting?

Early voting will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 through Nov. 2, including Saturday and Sunday. Early voting locations are:

  • Arundel High School, 1001 Annapolis Road Gambrills, MD 21054
  • Crofton Middle School, 2301 Davidsonville Road Gambrills, MD 21054
  • North County High School, 10 East 1st Avenue Glen Burnie, MD 21061
  • Northeast High School, 1121 Duvall Highway Pasadena, MD 21122
  • Pip Moyer Recreation Center, 273 Hilltop Lane Annapolis, MD 21403
  • Severna Park High School, 60 Robinson Road Severna Park, MD 21146
  • South River High School, 201 Central Avenue East Edgewater, MD 21037

Is it too late to register to vote?

No. Though you missed the traditional registration deadline, there is still an opportunity to do same-day registration during early voting or on Election Day. Just bring identification and proof of residency to the voting center. If you have a Maryland driver’s license or identification card, bring that. If not, bring a paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or another official document with your name and address on it. If the election judges determine you’re a county resident and eligible to register to vote, they will give you a voter authority card to sign and then issue you a regular ballot.

A guide to the ballot questions:

Anne Arundel County voters will also decide whether to amend the county charter. All the following questions are derived from County Council resolutions, many of which were drafted after a survey of county departments by County Executive Steuart Pittman. Charter amendment resolutions require five votes to pass the council, but voters get the final say in November.

Question A asks voters to approve expanded permission for the county auditor, allowing the auditor to access all records and files related to county business and conduct any financial or performance audit or review of any county office or department. This includes any agency that is funded in part or whole by government funding. This would allow the auditor to investigate any act or allegation of fraud, waste, or county resources abuse.

Voting against this measure keeps things as they are. The auditor currently has access to records and files relating to the receipt and expenditure of county funds and only being allowed to conduct financial audits. A vote against this measure would maintain that the auditor informs the county executive and county council of any improper procedure or other irregularity.

Question B asks voters to grant the Anne Arundel County Council more authority over executive appointments, including the county attorney, police chief and fire chief, rather than the county executive getting to make these decisions alone. The amendment would require the council to approve an appointment and allow the council to prevent the county attorney’s removal with a five member majority. It would also enable the council to block a county executive pick. Voting against this measure would allow the county executive to continue making these appointments without the council’s approval and continue to have the power to remove the county attorney without the council’s consent.

Question C proposes the elimination of the 1,500 hour limit for county contractual workers. This amendment allows the county to contract workers even after reaching 1,500 hours of employment. Currently, the county has to replace and train new contractors after reaching the 1,500-hour limit. Supporters say allowing these contractual workers to be extended would eliminate extra training periods and some departments' turnover. Voting against this measure keeps the 1,500 hour limit in place.

Question D would give the council power to increase the minimum value of purchases and contracts requiring full competitive bidding between $25,000 and $100,000. Voting against this measure would continue to require a competitive bidding process for acquisitions in this price range.

Question E would change how probation works for police and fire department employees at the beginning of their careers. Right now, officers are on probation for their first six months on the job. For law enforcement officers, that probation period now starts when they begin their service academy. Voting for this amendment would shift the start date of their probationary period to when they complete academy training and start on the job and for the following 12 months. Fire Chief Trisha Wolford and former Police Chief Timothy Altomare both spoke in support of this change when the council debated it over the summer. Voting against this measure would keep the probationary period for classified employees at six months.

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Question F would extend the period any acting department head could serve before having to be hired full time or be replaced. Effectively, it would give the county executive more time to find someone for the job. It would double the period from 60 days to 120 days and allow the County Council to extend the term by two additional six month periods. Voting against this measure would maintain the current system of acting department heads being able to serve for one 60 day term, with one four-month extension available from the council.

Question G would keep the county’s Human Relations Commission. The commission, which is independent of the legislative and executive branches, can mediate, investigate and adjudicate matters of housing discrimination through the code. Approval from voters would require future administrations to maintain the group. Voting against this measure would allow Pittman or future administrations to disband the group via a bill by the county council.

Election Day voting centers

Election Day voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Annapolis High School, 2700 Riva Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Broadneck High School, 1265 Green Holly Drive, Annapolis, MD 21409
  • Brock Bridge Elementary School, 405 Brock Bridge Road, Laurel, MD 20724
  • Chesapeake High School, 4798 Mountain Road, Pasadena, MD 21122
  • Crofton Middle School, 2301 Davidsonville Road, Gambrills, MD 21054
  • Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Hall, 161 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD 21146
  • Glen Burnie High School, 7550 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, MD 21060
  • Pip Moyer Recreation Center, 273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis, MD 21403
  • South River High School, 201 Central Avenue East, Edgewater, MD 21037
  • Arundel High School, 1001 Annapolis Road, Gambrills, MD 21054
  • Meade High School, 1100 Clark Road, Ft. Meade, MD 20755
  • North County High School, 10 East 1st Ave., Glen Burnie, MD 21061
  • Northeast High School, 1121 Duvall Highway, Pasadena, MD 21122
  • Old Mill High School, 600 Patriot Lane, Millersville, MD 21108
  • Severna Park High School, 60 Robinson Road, Severna Park, MD 21146
  • Southern High School, 4400 Solomons Island Road, Harwood, MD 20776
  • Van Bokkelen Elementary School, 1140 Reece Road, Severn, MD 21144
  • Arnold Elementary School, 95 E Joyce Lane, Arnold, MD 21012
  • Bates Middle School, 701 Chase St., Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Brooklyn Park Middle School, 200 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, MD 21225
  • Chesapeake Science Point Charter School, 7321 Parkway Drive South, Hanover, MD 21076
  • Corkran Middle School, 7600 Quarterfield Road, Glen Burnie, MD 21061
  • Crofton Elementary School, 1405 Duke of Kent Drive, Crofton, MD 21114
  • Heritage Community Church, 8146 Quarterfield Road, Severn, MD 21144
  • Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Road, Linthicum, MD 21090
  • Magothy River Middle School, 241 Peninsula Farm Road #1052, Arnold, MD 21012
  • Marley Middle School, 10 Davis Court, Glen Burnie, MD 21060
  • Millersville Elementary School, 1601 Millersville Road, Millersville, MD 21108
  • Rolling Knolls Elementary School, 1985 Valley Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Solley Elementary School, 7608 Solley Road, Glen Burnie, MD 21060
  • Southern Middle School, 5235 Solomons Island Road, Lothian, MD 20711

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