EARLY VOTING TURNOUT SOARED: Final figures for early voting were just posted this morning: 859,928, 22% of registered voters. (The breakdown by party was not updated.) Highest percentages for Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties, over 30%. Howard County, 28%.
- Maryland early-voting turnout surged past 800,000 on Thursday — the final day to cast ballots before the general election. (Updated final figures below.) With lines reported into the night at some polling places Thursday, at least 150,970 had checked in to vote by 10:15 p.m. The record turnout for early voting, elevated by more voting locations and days to vote, means more than 20% of the state’s registered voters will have cast ballots before Election Day on Tuesday, writes Luke Broadwater in the Sun.
- A busy week of early voting in Carroll County and across the state came to a crowded end Thursday night as hundreds descended on the county’s only early voting center at the Westminster Senior and Community Center to cast their votes for positions from the local school board to the president of the United States, Jacob deNobel reports for the Carroll County Times.
- WMAR-TV is reporting that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders cast their ballots during early voting, some of them right up to the last minute. At 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the line outside of Towson University was still wrapped around the outside of the building.
VOTER INTIMIDATION CLAIM: Debra Alfarone of WUSA-TV is reporting that at one polling place in Howard County some said emotions are boiling over in the parking lot. The Florence Bain Center in Columbia sits within a heavily Democratic county. In 2012, President Barack Obama won reelection by 60%. A volunteer apparently filed a complaint against a man who is the co-chair for Trump’s campaign in the county, alleging that he’s intimidating volunteers. But co-chair Frank Mirabile said he isn’t intimidating anyone
HOGAN FILLS BOARD OF ED SEAT: A Montgomery County business owner and social scientist who unsuccessfully ran for the Maryland House of Delegates will fill a state Board of Education seat vacated by S. James Gates Jr., a highly respected physicist and professor who resigned to protest an order by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to start schools after Labor Day, Ovetta Wiggins of the Post reports.
THINK TANK CELEBRATES: The Maryland Public Policy Institute, the free-market think tank, celebrated its 15th anniversary Thursday night, announcing two new initiatives and honoring Gov. Larry Hogan with an award. In a short speech, Hogan gave the institute some credit for his path to the governorship. “For a long time, I’ve been passionately interested in the issues that the Maryland Public Policy Institute has been watching,” said Hogan, who served on the MPPI board. He said that led him to set up the advocacy group Change Maryland, which become the foundation for his campaign.
SOC SEC NUMBERS AT RISK: Some Maryland agencies are not fully protecting Social Security numbers. Auditors say they aren’t using a security tool to guard against hackers, if they break into agency computer networks. Joy Lepola and Paul McGrew of WBFF-TV report that since the start of 2016, FOX45 looked through audits released by Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits. Auditors found seven agencies did not encrypt personally identifiable information, amounting to over 7 million unencrypted Social Security numbers. The U.S. Census Bureau says Maryland’s population is about 6 million.
HOEBER-DELANEY RACE: They are residents of the same affluent neighborhood in Potomac, and, as their often acrimonious race for Congress heads to a finish next Tuesday, Democratic incumbent John Delaney and Republican challenger Amie Hoeber are digging into their own pockets in an effort to ensure victory, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Beat.
BROWN-McDERMOTT RACE: Candidates for Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District are making a final push during the last day of early voting before Tuesday’s election. Anthony Brown, the former lieutenant governor, is looking for redemption after his defeat against Gov. Larry Hogan during the 2014 election. Brown’s Republican opponent George McDermott, of Forest Heights, has not received his party’s support as Brown, who has the backing of the Maryland Democratic Party, McDermott said he is making do, Chase Cook writes in the Annapolis Capital.
LEVENTHAL EYES COUNTY EXEC SEAT: Montgomery County Council member George Leventhal (D-At Large) has made no secret of his desire to be the next county executive. So it is no surprise that his first fundraiser for the 2018 campaign will be less than two weeks after the end of the 2016 season, Bill Turque writes in the Post.
SCHUH BLASTS BUSCH: Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh fired back Thursday at House Speaker Michael E. Busch’s criticism that Republicans have politicized the county’s judicial race. During a meeting with reporters and editors from the Annapolis Capital, Schuh said Democrats are airing their grievances now because they’ve lost their hold on the county’s politics, writes Phil Davis. “Now all of a sudden, you’ve got a Republican governor and a Republican county executive and what do you know? Republicans are actually able to be appointed and to be seated to positions and now the system doesn’t work anymore,” he said.
CECIL GOES SOLAR: Cecil County officials gathered outside the county administration building last week to officially throw the switch to use solar power from the array they recently finished building there, Cheryl Mattix of the Cecil Whig reports. This is the first of two solar projects the county is undertaking. The second project, on county property adjacent to The Highlands community near Fair Hill, is scheduled to be done in July. It is being built at the site of the former Highlands spray irrigation field for a now-closed community sewage treatment facility.
BENTLEY MEMORIALS TODAY: Former U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, who died in August, will be remembered today at public and private memorial services on Baltimore’s waterfront. The public is invited to a service at 2 p.m. at the Fort McHenry National Monument, a site with a view of the cranes of the Port of Baltimore. Bentley was a longtime champion of the port, which now bears her name. In the morning, there will be an invitation-only memorial for Bentley at the port’s Cruise Maryland Terminal on McComas Street in Locust Point, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.