Across Maryland, polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday to cap off an unusual and delayed primary election season that is expected to drag on a bit this summer as mailed ballots are counted.
Voters can cast ballots in person until 8 a.m. at their assigned polling place. Those who requested mail-in ballots also have until 8 p.m. to drop those in one of nearly 300 designated drop boxes around the state; otherwise, ballots must be postmarked Tuesday to be accepted.
On the ballot are candidates for virtually all statewide political offices: governor, comptroller, attorney general, the General Assembly and the U.S. Congress.
Polls suggest close races for the Democratic and Republican nominations for governor. Comptroller Peter Franchot, former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former nonprofit leader Wes Moore are leading a crowded Democratic field looking to recapture the office from Republicans, while on the GOP side, voters appear evenly divided between former state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, endorsed by outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, and Del. Dan Cox, the choice of former President Donald Trump.
Maryland’s primary is closed, meaning voters must have a registered party affiliation to cast ballots, and can only weigh in on their party’s contests.
It could become clear Tuesday whether expectations of lower-than-usual turnout come true. Turnout during an early in-person voting period that ended Friday was lower than in the 2018 primary. Some 347,000 voters had cast ballots either by mail or in person by then, about 9.2% of eligible active voters, according to the State Board of Elections.
The primary had been scheduled for June 28 but was delayed three weeks as the state’s highest court considered legal challenges to newly drawn district maps for congressional, state legislative and some county council races. Now, the results of some contests may not be known until August, with counting of mailed ballots not set to begin until Thursday.