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1,500 ballots cast in Silver Spring, 32 registered to vote on-site on 1st day of early voting

On Maryland's first day of early voting, those who cast their ballot at the Silver Spring Civic building waited on average of 10 minutes.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — While lines at many locations across Maryland were hours long, the Civic Building in Silver Spring had an average wait time of about 10 minutes on the first day of early voting. When the polls closed at 8 p.m., approximately 32 people registered to vote on-site and 1,500 votes were cast, not including the number of ballots that were placed into the drop-box at this location. 

According to Gilberto Zelaya with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, the number one question that voters asked today was, "If I requested a mail-in ballot in Maryland, can I choose to vote in person anyway?" 

Zelaya said yes, but there's a catch.

"Yes, they can do that however they will need to vote a provisional ballot," he said. 

A provisional ballot allows someone who thinks they are an eligible voter, but there are questions about their voting eligibility, the opportunity to cast a ballot that will be verified later, according to The Maryland Board of Elections. 

"If the local board of elections determines that the provisional voter is registered and eligible to vote in Maryland and vote a provisional ballot, the ballot will be counted," Maryland's BOE said. 

Zelaya said he had to explain the impact of voting a provisional ballot to many voters on Monday. 

RELATED: Montgomery County ballot: Explaining questions A and B #TheQandA

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"Today we saw a lot of individuals with their vote-by-mail ballot in their hand, and we told them after you check-in you have to get on a different line," he said. "You will get your [new] ballot and you have to vote provisionally."

He told WUSA9 that nearly all of those people "changed their mind and they voted their mail-in ballot" by dropping it into the drop-box on-site. 

RELATED: Here's how to find an early voting center near you and estimated wait times in Montgomery County

So how can you find out how long the lines are at your early voting location before you get there?

"We have the new MoCo Voter App that's available on both Apple and Android," Zelaya said. 

Once you download the app, you type in your zip code and it populates the closest early voting centers, driving directions to the center and wait times, which are updated every 30 minutes. 

So how are they calculating that wait time?

"We have a wait card and we go out and give it to a voter," Zelaya said. 

The card indicates the time the card was handed to the voter and the number of people in-line at the time.  

"Once [the voter with the card] shows up at the check-in table then that’s how we get the estimate," he said. 

Credit: WUSA9
Wait-time card at Silver Spring Civic building


According to the Maryland Board of Elections, there are approximately 683,000 active registered voters in Montgomery County and about 74,000 eligible voters have yet to register. If that is you, Zelaya said you can still register to vote in this election.

"If you missed, for whatever reason, the Maryland voter registration deadline of Oct.13, you can leverage the same-day voter registration," he said. 

To register to vote on-site you'll need: a Maryland driver's license, permit or ID. 

If you don't have one of those three forms of state ID, you can bring a bank statement, utility bill or another government document with your name and current Montgomery county or corresponding county address.


RELATED: How a Yes vote on Question 1 of the Maryland ballot would impact state finances

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