Early Voting Must Go On!

Early Voters Practice Wuhan Restrictions

The early voting facility on Towson University campus moved from its regular location because of the Wuhan limitations placed on in-person voting to the South Campus Pavilion to conduct early voting because the parking lot at this site could handle increased vehicular parking. Early voting ended on Monday, November 2nd.

Early voting polling locations across Maryland experienced the largest single day voter turnout on the first day of in-person balloting on Monday, October 26th. Tuesday and Wednesday were both busy and brisk, but the rain on Thursday literally dampened the overall voter turnout total. On Friday and Saturday, the turnout steadily declined; and Sunday was slower than the two days beforehand.

Early Voters were all practicing social distancing by establishing a distance apart from each other in line and wearing obligatory face masks. One woman stated that her wait time took an hour to stand in line and cast her early ballot. The line appeared to move ever so and it only stretched away from the building a short spell on the sloping sidewalk.

The Towson early voting poll and those across Maryland all had a visible police presence stationed in flashing blue squad cars outside the facility. With all of the recent urban protests across the nation erupting into chaotic riots, authorities did not want to have to squelch any disruptions that could occur while early voters were waiting to cast their ballots.

Early Voters Share Commentary

Barbara Fowel, 33 from Middle River, said she would prefer to see Healthcare made better. She opined, “Open Medicare for all and fix the gap in medical coverage. If you get sick, can you afford the coverage?” She also remarked that Universal Childcare was needed in Maryland.

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Ray Howington, 21 from Armagh Village, is a first-time voter. He said he thinks Healthcare needs to be improved during the next administration. He noted that he liked Biden more than Trump, adding, “I don’t particularly even like him, but it really just seems that he is less bad.”

Joseph Perrotta, 18 from Snow Hill, turned out to register tonight as a same-day voter via a provisional ballot. When queried, he hesitated in answering, “I’m not sure”, as to what was a motivator for him to vote. “Maybe the economy, the lockdown.” He felt the pandemic was hyped up mostly for funding and to shut down the economy. Perrotta revealed, “I’m like fifty-fifty; whatever my brain chooses,” as he was going into vote without having made a clear decision as to whom to vote for President.

The Lights Go Out on Early Voting

The final day of early voting in Maryland showcased a decent turnout of early voters, but as closing time approached, the poll incurred a mini-surge of last-minute voters lining up to vote. At precisely 7:54 pm, the lights inside the polling facility went dark. The building had lost power; however, the voting machines continued to operate via emergency batteries for use in just this kind of situation.

Early voters exiting after voting remarked that they either held their own cell phones for illumination in order to vote with light or election judges held flashlights in their hands to provide light to voters at the kiosk so they could complete their early ballots.

A small number of early voters were still standing in line waiting to cast their early ballots as of 8:40 pm. One woman talking on her cell phone as she was walking to her automobile was audibly complaining that she had waited in line for over an hour and a half, and had just entered the building when the lights had gone out on her.

It is interesting to note that voter cell phones are required to be turned off when entering any polling facility. It is prohibited to photograph a printed ballot or the voting equipment utilized inside. Only the chief election judge may exercise use of their cell phone while balloting is underway. Regular election judges must exit the interior balloting hall to use their cell phones.

Election Protection for your Emotional Rescue

Debbie Oppenheim, 68 from Lutherville, is a League of Women Voters volunteer who missed the opportunity to function as a Baltimore Election judge on Election Day 2020 in Maryland. She began participating as an election judge during the 2016 campaign. Oppenheim worked the first shift on Monday, October 26th, and worked the final shift on Monday, November 2nd.

The League of Women Voters has teamed up with Common Cause to seek and train 42,000 volunteers to poll watch at election polling facilities all across the USA during early voting and on Election Day 2020. They must abide by the electioneering restrictions and are there to observe the voters standing in line waiting to vote. They also recruited a large number of lawyers to be on standby should they need to intercede in the case that election irregularities arise.

Oppenheim said the poll watchers are there to ensure that early voters are not intimidated by election signs, not intimidated by random observers loitering outside, do not have any issues impeding their use of a provisional ballot if they are registering as a same-day voter, or voters are not turned away from the poll without having cast a ballot. They must ask exiting voters if they may approach them to inquire about their experience. There were two visible yard signs planted across from the facility that were provocative, but nobody’s gonna raise a stink on their inflammatory message.

Author Profile

Timothy Tilghman
Timothy Tilghman
Timothy Tilghman is a Columnist for NRN. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tilghman earned a Master of Arts degree in verbal and visual communications in December 2002. He has hosted a weekly radio program since June 2010. He has been a contributing Reporter to the Northern News since July 2013, which publishes weekly in Carroll County. Tilghman has written for two collegiate campus newspapers and published several independent newsletters.