Prince George’s County prepares for early voting Thursday -- Gazette.Net



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Prince George’s County residents will be able to vote early in the 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election at eight locations in the county starting Thursday. The early voting locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., including weekends, through June 19.

Early voting allows voters to cast their ballots on their own time, said Daneen Banks, deputy administrator of the county board of elections.

“You can vote at your convenience,” she said. “Often voters may have some time where they can go in and take that opportunity to vote early.”

Adapting to a new Maryland law, Prince George’s County added two early-voting locations this election cycle and extended the early-voting time period by two days, Banks said.

During the 2012 Presidential Primary Election cycle, the county experienced long lines at many early voting locations, which Banks attributes partly to the arrival of the hurricane dubbed Superstorm Sandy.

“We did experience lines at early voting and we thought people were trying to get ahead of the storm,” she said. “Some of our lines formed as early as a couple hours before the polls opened and we weren’t able to catch up.”

One location that experienced long lines during the 2012 election cycle was the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center in Landover, said Kira Calm Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“But we attribute that to the turnout because it was a presidential election,” Lewis said. “We do encourage people to come early and to be patient on the line and we try to minimize the impact on the residents using other parts of the recreation center,” she said.

Banks said the county board of elections does not anticipate lines at early voting stations this year.

“The presidential turnout is different than the gubernatorial turnout,” she said. “Having more sites will allow voters to have more choices to where they can go and we’ll be able to service more voters.”

The board of elections will also update its website, Facebook and Twitter accounts throughout the day with wait times for the early voting locations, she said.

eeastman@gazette.net