Monday began early voting in Prince George’s County in a rare special primary election for a vacant seat on the county council.
The nearly 74,000 eligible voters in the jurisdiction’s District 8 area informally known as South County will choose one of six Democrats during the early voting period before the Jan. 4 Election Day.
The six candidates on the primary ballot are Edward Burroughs III, Sidney Gibson, Tony Knotts, Jerry Mathis, Marjorie Smith and Vernon Wade.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, eight people had voted in person at the Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Fort Washington after the polls opened at 10 a.m.
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Dorothy Newby of Fort Washington took advantage of mail-in voting and dropped her ballot in a drop box outside the complex.
“Voting is very important in my household,” said Newby, who declined to say who she voted for.
The seat was vacated last month when former Council member Monique Anderson-Walker resigned to focus on her bid as running mate of Maryland Comptroller and gubernatorial hopeful Peter Franchot.
Anderson-Walker stepped down before her term expired in December 2022, so the Jan. 4 special primary election was quickly arranged, with early voting continuing through Thursday and on Jan. 2 and 3. The primary will be followed by a special general election on Feb. 1.
The winner would complete Anderson-Walker’s term but must run again for a full term in the June 28 primary and in the Nov. 8 general election.
Burroughs, Knotts and Mathis stood outside the recreation complex Monday morning to chat with a few voters who chose to vote in person.
One District 8 voter, who declined to be identified, emphasized the importance of voting as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She said she chose Burroughs.
Floyd Alston of Temple Hills visited the complex to work out and conduct research on each candidate before he cast his vote.
Alston said the person he chooses should have a moral compass and seek to reform the criminal justice system by providing housing, employment, mental health and other needs for those formerly and currently incarcerated.
“It’s a lot of people that’s incarcerated that need a shot and should be able to vote. That’s a major thing for me,” Alston said. “We have to take our vote very seriously. You can’t just vote for anybody these days.”