More than 600,000 people are registered to vote, currently, in Montgomery Co., Maryland. And more and more people are still signing up to vote. (They can do so until mid-October.)
Election officials are asking voters this year to consider the option of casting their ballots before Election Day.
They're worried about long lines. This is a presidential election year, when turnout always surges.
Secondly, there have been significant changes to precinct boundaries. "There was redistricting that occurred last January," observed Marjorie Roher, the spokeswoman for the Board of Elections. "And, for a lot of our voters, they have not been to the polling place since that redistricting occurred. So, we're encouraging everyone to review their sample ballot to see where their polling place is."
Polling places have changed for more than 60,000 Montgomery County residents. That will likely cause some confusion on Election Day.
There is another factor that has election officials concerned about long lines at the polls. Seven different issues are going before Maryland voters via referendum; among them: expanding gambling, gay marriage, the dream act, and the legislature's redistricting plan. If people show up at their polling places undecided on these issues, lines are sure to be longer than usual.
Marjorie Roher has two suggested solutions: "Beginning Oct. 12th, [voters will] start seeing sample ballots arriving in the mail. Read through that sample ballot. Look at the ballot questions. Mark up the ballot, take it with you on Election Day. It's make the process much quicker."
There's another alternative to long lines on Election Day. Any registered voter in may vote early from October 27th through November 1st at any one of five early early-voting centers in Montgomery County. The Board of Elections' website has the addresses of the five early-voting locations.