Early Voting Begins Thursday; Cecil County Republican Party Registrations Rise Again
Early voting in the Presidential, state and local elections begins in Cecil County on Thursday 10/27/16, as Republicans continue to widen their voter registration edge over Democrats in the county.
State Board of Elections statistics show a small uptick in the total number of registered voters in the county since the April primary election but there was a broader shift to Republican Party registrations, indicating some of the new GOP voters were likely former Democrats or independents.
There was a total of 64,896 “active” eligible voters in the county as of 10/23/16, the state BOE reported, including 27,579 registered Republicans, 22,476 Democrats, and 13,717 “unaffiliated” or independent voters. In addition, 399 voters registered as members of the Libertarian Party, 148 registered as Green Party members and 577 voters listed themselves as “other” party members.
Under a change in state election law applicable for the first time this year, voters will still be able to register to vote during the weeklong early voting period that begins on Thursday . Early voting will be conducted at the county administration building on Chesapeake Blvd. in Elkton, from 10/27 through 11/3, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The General Election Day voting will be held on Tuesday 11/8 in local precinct polling places throughout the county, or by absentee ballots postmarked as of 11/8/16.
The political affiliations of county voters continued a recent trend of favoring Republicans, after decades in which Democrats held a solid majority. The latest numbers show a GOP advantage of 5,103 voters over the Democrats’ total. That’s a boost of 1,350 from the April primary voter difference, when the Republicans held a 3,753 voter advantage over Democrats.
Overall, total voter registration rose from 63,301 for the primary election to 64,896, or a 1,595 increase, so far for the general election. There was a slight boost in the unaffiliated column, from 13,565 for the primary election to 13,717 this month.
Apart from the top of the ballot presidential race, voters will select a US Senator, to replace the retiring Barbara Mikulski (D). Contenders for the Senate seat are Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Montgomery County, and Kathy Szeliga, a Republican from Baltimore County, and Margaret Flowers, a Green Party candidate.
For the District 1 US House seat, incumbent Republican Andy Harris is opposed by Democrat Joe Werner and Libertarian Matt Beers. District 1 covers the entire Eastern Shore, most of Harford and Carroll Counties and dips into a section of Baltimore County, which is Harris’ homebase.
In Cecil County contests, voters will pick a new County Executive, deciding between Alan McCarthy, a Chesapeake City Republican who is currently vice-president of the County Council, and Wayne L. Tome Sr., a Democrat who is the mayor of the town of Port Deposit and a former county commissioner.
In new campaign finance reports to the state Board of Elections, McCarthy reported fundraising of another $3,320 since his late August report. After expenditures for direct mail and a pig roast fundraiser, he reported a net bank balance of 5,462 for the remainder of the campaign season. Tome has not yet filed the required October report as of late Wednesday. He recently held a fundraising event that should put him over the threshold required for providing detailed campaign finance reports. He previously filed affidavits stating that he had not raised contributions nor spent over $1,000 on his campaign for county executive.
Two County Council candidates are unopposed in the general election, after winning the Republican nomination in the April GOP primary: Jackie Gregory, in Dist.5, and Bob Meffley in Dist. 1.
There is also a non-partisan contest for a school board seat from District 1, with incumbent William C. Manlove seeking another term while challenger Kevin Emmerich is making his first run. The school board seat from District 2 is officially uncontested, with Jim Fazzino the only name on the ballot, but Ron Lobos—who lost a shot at the seat in the primary election—has been asking on social media for write-in votes.
The ballot also asks citizens to vote yes or no on a proposed Constitutional amendment regarding filling vacancies for state Attorney General or Comptroller, including requiring special election for vacancies occurring in time for the next two-year general election in what is normally a four-year term. The special election provision would replace current gubernatorial appointments for the full duration of the term of office.