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Early Voting Surpasses 2010 Election

Most counties in Maryland show a spike in early voting turnout in 2012 while Anne Arundel and Worcester Counties show decreases.

Turnout for early voting this year has already exceeded that of 2010 in 22 of 24 jurisdictions in the state.

And while two counties report declines in the overall percentages one Eastern Shore county reports close to a 20 percent turnout.

But the exact meaning of the higher turnout is hard to immediately discern, according to one local elections analyst.

Residents across the state have the opportunity to cast votes for President, U.S. Senate, eight congressional races and seven statewide ballot questions including congressional redistricting, the Maryland DREAM Act, same-sex marriage and expanded gambling.

Source: State Board of Elections

Jurisdiction 2012 Early Voting 2010 Early Voting Talbot 18.08% 14.46% Kent 14.99% 13.03% Howard 12.20% 8.37% Caroline 10.27% 8.38% Dorchester 9.48% 6.82% Queen Anne's 9.44% 9.12% Montgomery 9.41% 4.66% Charles 9.23% 5.70% Carroll 7.13% 4.95% Somerset 9% 7.32%

In four counties—Caroline, Howard, Kent and Somerset—the early voting turnout over the first six days exceeded 10 percent. Talbot County reported more than 18 percent turnout this year.

A majority of the top 10 jurisdictions, in terms of highest turnout, were not in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

Even so, jurisdictions like Baltimore City, Baltimore and Harford Counties also recorded increased turnout over 2010.

Source: State Board of Elections

Jurisdiction 2012 Early Voting 2010 Early Voting Baltimore City 8.77% 5.44% Baltimore County 8.22% 6.34% Harford County 7.62% 7.45%

Anne Arundel County, which reported 8.74 percent voter turnout in 2010, is slightly down in 2012, reporting just over 8 percent turnout headed into Friday—the last day of early voting. Worcester County is the only other jurisdiction to be slightly under the 2010 early voter turnout.

What the increased turnout means for candidates and the various ballot questions is not clear, according to Donald Norris, Chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the .

"There is little or no evidence that early voting matters in overall turnout or in overall turnout among sub groups of voters—elderly, young, minorities, etc.," said Norris. "So I am not inclined to say anything about this except that turnout is up."

Kathy November 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
We voted early to take advantage of the Friday evening session. The work week is too hectic. Hopefully next time they will include Friday evening. Also it would be nice to have an Early Polling place in south Carroll.

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