Turnout jumped on the last day of early voting

Voters and activists moved quickly in the summer heat on the final day of early voting Thursday at the Germantown Community Recreation Center in Montgomery County. Photo by Margie Hyslop.

Nearly 175,000 people voted in the early vote, which ended on Thursday.

The final day of the eight-day window saw the highest turnout by far: 49,578, according to preliminary data from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

About 4.6% of all eligible active voters turned out during the early voting period.

The figure was lower than the number of early votes four years ago, when 222,100 people, or 6.17% of voters, cast ballots at early voting centers.

However, the popularity of mail-in ballots, which can be mailed or dropped off in drop boxes, has grown significantly since the last gubernatorial election.

As of Wednesday, the state had received 152,260 returned ballots.

More than 505,000 mail-in ballots were requested for this election, up from around 42,000 four years ago.

Voters can still request that a mail-in ballot be emailed to them via the state’s online application system until 11:59 p.m. on Friday evening.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the July 19 primary date or returned to drop boxes statewide. A list of drop box locations is here.

The growing popularity of mail-in ballots, which are only counted two days after Election Day, could mean the winners of a number of races will be unclear on election night.

>> RELATED: In a unique summer primary, when can Marylanders expect election results?

Election day is Tuesday.

Voters can register to vote and vote in person between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Voters can find their assigned polling station here.

For more on the candidates, check out Maryland Matters election guide here.

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