- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
More than 1,800 Charles County voters took to the polls during the first five days of the weeklong early-voting period for the 2014 gubernatorial primary, the most in the three primaries where early voting has been available.
Voters can vote early in the primary through Thursday. Early voting centers statewide are open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. In Charles County, the early voting center is the board of elections office at 201 E. Charles St. in La Plata.
In the first five days of early voting, which began Thursday, 1,823 county residents cast ballots — 570 on Thursday, 397 on Friday, 209 on Saturday, 138 on Sunday and 509 on Monday — or 1.83 percent of the county’s 99,857 eligible voters, the 18th-highest percentage in the state.
Turnout results for Tuesday were not yet available by press time.
The total turnout bested that of the five-day early voting period for the 2012 presidential election, in which 1,645 county residents voted early. But with only 77,071 eligible voters in the 2012 primary, voters still have some work to do to beat that election’s 2.13 percent early-voting turnout.
Given that the two biggest days came during the work week, Charles County Elections Director Tracy A. Dickerson expected Tuesday morning for the last three days of early voting to push the county’s turnout percentage past that of the 2012 primary.
Early voting turnout tends to pick up as the period winds down, after more people have voted and spread word about the option to vote early, Dickerson said.
After projecting a low turnout last week, Dickerson said she was pleased to see turnout in a gubernatorial primary comparable with a presidential primary.
“As long as it’s steady and people are coming in,” she said, “I would definitely like to see more people turn out.”
Dickerson said the state’s goal in the three elections early voting has been available has always been to achieve between 15 and 20 percent turnout during early voting, a lofty goal considering that statewide the early voting turnout in the 2012 primary was 2.4 percent, and after the first five days of this primary it stood at 2.1 percent.
“We can keep our fingers crossed,” Dickerson said.