Gov. Martin O’Malley canceled Tuesday’s early voting as Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc across the state.
“We hope to be able to make up that missing day or those missing hours on the back end of this early voting window,” the governor said at a Monday press conference.
In advance of the storm on Sunday, O’Malley (D) declared a state of emergency and closed early voting centers Monday, extending early voting to Friday.
Early voting, however, has been popular as Montgomery County voters cast nearly as many early ballots in just two days, as the previous election, the first time Maryland offered the early voting.
As of Sunday, 23,509 ballots were cast in Montgomery County, said Margie Roher, Board of Elections spokeswoman. A total of 26,746 early ballots were cast in 2010, she said.
Over the weekend, lines wrapped around early voting centers in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Voters didn’t want to face the crowds on Nov. 6 and hoped to avoid voting in the aftermath of the hurricane that slammed the Washington metropolitan area late Sunday and was expected to last into Tuesday.
At the Silver Spring Civic Building Saturday, Brian Kirchoff, 36, of Bethesda decided to vote early because of an impending trip to Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Nov. 6 Election Day. Kirchoff said he did not mind seeing a line and said he was actually proud to see so many people come out.
“I hope that it sends a message that early voting is popular and that people should do more not less of it,” Kirchoff said.
About 1,000 people came to vote at the Silver Spring Civic Building as of 3 p.m. Saturday, said Donice Jeter, a member of Montgomery County’s Board of Elections.