FedEx Field in Landover could be transformed into a polling center for Prince George’s County voters on Election Day.
Before voting booths, ballots and elections judges converge at the more than 80,000-seat stadium, the Maryland Board of Elections plan to meet Friday, Sept. 11 and must grant formal approval.
The county’s Board of Elections scheduled an emergency meeting Wednesday, Sept. 9 for the stadium to become its 41st polling center for the presidential general election Nov. 3.
“We are going to do everything we in our power to make sure that absolutely nothing stops Prince George’s County from being able to show up in this next election,” said County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who told reporters about the plan at a Sept. 3 news conference. “This is going to be a historic turnout for this election and we’re going to do everything we can to prepare for it.”
Alsobrooks said the county expects voter turnout to exceed the number of voters who showed up to cast ballots in the June 2 primary.
According to final audit numbers, out of 521,877 ballots mailed, about 240,880 voters, or 46 percent, participated in this year’s primary election. Approximately 231,711 voters returned their ballots by mail or placed them in drop-off boxes.
The 46% turnout was second only to voter participation in the 2008 primary when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were competing for the Democratic presidential nomination. During that election, about 48 percent of registered voters in Prince George’s cast a ballot.
If FedEx Field gets approved to become a polling center, voting stations would be set up along the concourse area.
The move not only would provide a larger venue, but also keep voters maintain social distance during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Because of the virus, voters are encouraged to primarily cast their ballots by mail.
Thousands of Maryland voters have received applications to apply for mail-in ballots.
As of Thursday, approximately 497,514 voters have requested mail-in ballots, according to the state board of elections.
About 51,300 ballot requests came from Prince George’s, which ranks fourth in the state. The highest number of mail-in requests — 124,551 — came from neighboring Montgomery County.
For those who choose to vote in person, early voting in Maryland runs from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2.
The state approved for Prince George’s 11 early voting sites to have and have selected 29 high schools for the Nov. 3 election.
Prince George’s Election Administrator Alisha Alexander said the county is trying to recruit election judges who are registered Republicans. If not enough are available, she said registered voters who are registered as independent would be used in place of a Republican judge.