State Roundup: Early voting begins in Md.; limbo along the Purple Line

State Roundup: Early voting begins in Md.; limbo along the Purple Line

Long lines at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia as early voting begins before dawn Monday. Facebook photo by Mary Jo Neville

EARLY IN-PERSON VOTING STARTS TODAY: With eight days left in the fraught U.S. presidential campaign, Maryland on Monday will join dozens of other states that offer early, in-person voting as one of several ways to cast a ballot, Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox of the Post report.

GOT AN EARLY VOTING PHOTO? Send it to Remember to include the place, time and your name for the photo credit.

LIMBO ALONG THE PURPLE LINE: The aggravation of living amid Maryland’s massive Purple Line light-rail project was supposed to end in spring 2022. Instead, residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have been left with a 16-mile string of construction sites lying mostly dormant, even as orange barrels and concrete barriers keep some roads closed, others narrowed and communities torn up, Katherine Shaver and Luz Lazo of the Post are reporting.

FOR 4th DAY, NEW COVID CASES HIT ABOVE 700: Maryland reported 792 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday and five more deaths as the state had its fourth consecutive day of more than 700 daily cases, Phil Davis of the Sun reports.

WHO WON THE DEBATE: Bryan Renbaum of Maryland Reporter asked Maryland lawmakers who won Thursday night’s presidential debate.

SCHOOLS RETURN TO COMPLETE VIRTUAL LEARNING: A rural Maryland county – Dorchester – has closed its schools amid a spike in coronavirus cases, becoming the first county in the state to scale back learning in classrooms after officials pushed schools to reopen, the AP is reporting.

  • Fruitland Primary School in Wicomico County will return to complete virtual learning “immediately” due to a confirmed COVID-19 case of a staff member and symptoms in another, Kelly Powers reports for the Salisbury Daily Times. A number of staff members and students were in close contact with one of these two individuals at school on Thursday or Friday, she said.

CARROLL SETS ASIDE $1.9M FOR COVID RELIEF: The Carroll County commissioners voted to devote nearly $1.9 million in federal coronavirus relief funding to various government partners, with the bulk to benefit fire companies and municipalities. Local businesses and restaurants can also expect more support, Mary Grace Keller of the Carroll County Times reports.

MVA SAID TO BE MUM ON COVID CASES: At least 16 MVA workers had confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, as have several dozen since the start of the pandemic, according to a spokeswoman for the agency. At least one worker died from the virus earlier this month. However, reports Rachel Baye for WYPR-FM, MVA employees say no one in management tells them when a coworker is sick. Instead, they find out through word of mouth.

BA CO ADDS 31 BALLOT DROP-BOXES: Baltimore County has added 31 drop boxes around the county to handle the volume of requested mail-in ballots, Taylor DeVille of the Towson Times reports. As of Friday, nearly 91,800 ballots have already been submitted in the county. That’s more than 16% of the county’s total active electorate of 565,000 voters, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.

BLACK GIRLS VOTE: Since it formed five years ago, Black Girls Vote has registered more than 16,000 Black women to vote in the greater Baltimore region, according to Natasha Murphy, the organization’s deputy director of advocacy. Tatyana Turner and Penelope Blackwell of the Baltimore Sun writes about the organization and the women behind it.

DROP BOX FLAP FLAP: In an election rife with anxiety over the voting process, a thin, plastic rain flap has become an unexpected source of confusion for some Maryland voters. Like states across the country, Maryland has deployed hundreds of secure drop boxes where voters can deposit mail-in ballots, Rebecca Tan and Erin Cox of the Post report.

SIGNS POINT TO HOGAN RUN FOR PRESIDENT: For months, Gov. Larry Hogan has been honing his talking points about dysfunction in Washington and the need for political leaders to set aside partisanship to work for the greater good, writes Pamela Wood for the Sun. Add his targeted criticisms of President Donald Trump, a refusal to support U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the publishing of a political memoir, and his write-in vote for Ronald Reagan for president, and some say Hogan looks like a man with an eye on the White House.

Advancing Energy Innovation as an Economic Development Strategy: State entities can play an essential role in moving advanced energy technologies from universities or R&D labs into the marketplace. These activities provide a new foundation for economic development. States such as Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York are strategically utilizing public investment to support technology commercialization, create ecosystems and clusters in clean energy, and create jobs in start-up companies. Learn about cutting edge energy technology development programs and strategies, and what it will take to position Maryland for success in this space during this FREE webinar on October 29th.

PG STILL ARRESTS MORE BLACKS FOR MISDEMEANORS: People of color are still disproportionately arrested on misdemeanors in Prince George’s even though the rate of enforcement for such lower-level charges has decreased in the Maryland county and across six other large jurisdictions over the past 10 years, according to a new national study from the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College, Katie Mettler of the Post reports.

PAVING THE WAY FOR LEGAL SPORTS BETTING: If Question 2 on Maryland ballots passes during the upcoming election, Maryland would join 14 states that have already legalized sports betting, paving the way for legislation to be passed in the General Assembly in Annapolis and licenses to be awarded by the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. Greg Swatek of the Frederick News-Post writes about one man’s life-long enjoyment of sports betting.

GAMBLING INTERESTS STILL DONATE TO POLS: In 2012, when gambling interests were spending tens of millions of dollars to bring a massive casino to National Harbor and allow table games at Maryland’s existing slot machine parlors, lawmakers passed a law preventing casino owners and operators from donating to state political candidates. So it was a little jarring to see the campaign committee that has been set up to bring sports gambling to the state making political contributions in recent weeks. It’s perfectly legal — but it’s still worth noting, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters reports.

WA CO GOP CHAIR CRITICIZED: Despite an apology from a Washington County Republican official over a social-media post that referred to suicide, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, there was strong condemnation Sunday of the message, with some calling it “disgusting” and “evil,” Dave McMillion reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. One critic called on Jerry DeWolf to resign from his position as chairman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee.

AFRO ENDORSEMENTS: The editorial board of the Afro endorsed candidates for U.S. House, and Baltimore city mayor and council president, backing Kweisi Mfume to return to the House, Brandon Scott for mayor and Del. Nick Mosby for city council president.

POLICE REFORM TOWN HALL TONIGHT: Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, the Archbishop of Baltimore and state Sen. Jill P. Carter and Del. Sandy Rosenberg will discuss recent police reform measures during a virtual town hall meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at, Phil Davis reports in the Sun.

MO CO UNIONS WORK TO REBUILD CLOUT: Louis Peck of Bethesda Magazine looks at the history and role of Montgomery County’s public sector unions and their recent efforts to rebuild some lost clout.

MD, DC, VA WORK TO RESETTLE FOUND GRAVESTONES: Headstones found along the Potomac River in King George County, Va., were from Columbian Harmony Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground that was dug up and relocated in 1960 to make way for commercial development. Through a tentative deal with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), there are plans to send many of the headstones to the relocated cemetery in Land­over and create memorials in both Maryland and Virginia, reports Gregory Schneider for the Washington Post.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!