Friday may be the last day of early voting in Maryland, but polling officials say long lines will likely mean that final early ballots will be cast after midnight, early Saturday.
As of Thursday night, 323,188 people — or about 8.75 percent of eligible voters — had voted, according to unofficial numbers from the Maryland State Board of Elections. That compares with 219,601 — or 6.33 percent of eligible voters — in 2010.
To make up for two days of early voting that were canceled last week during superstorm Sandy, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) extended poll hours to Friday and ordered polling places to stay open until 9 p.m.
On Wednesday and Thursday, that meant long lines, too. Voters waiting at 9 p.m. -- when local sheriff’s deputies take up position at the end of the line -- didn’t get to vote until more than two hours later.
But on Friday, with lines surging as schools let out, some local elections officials were forecasting the final night would turn into an early morning.