Early voting turnout continues to climb heading into the final day
Early voting turnout continued to surge Wednesday as elections officials prepared for the final day of voting before the Nov. 8 election.
Today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is the last day of early voting at 67 locations across the state. It’s also the last day to register to vote at one of those stations.
As of Wednesday, more than 730,000 Marylanders had cast ballots in the hotly contested presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — well more than the 430,500 Marylanders who took advantage of early voting in 2012.
Though Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 in Maryland, about three times as many Democrats have voted to date.
Opinion polls in Maryland have showed a large lead for Clinton, but nationally her chances of winning are shrinking — amid news reports about an FBI inquiry into emails on a close aide’s computer.
At the Arbutus Recreation Center in Baltimore County — the largest swing jurisdiction in the state — voters were coming in at an average of about 30 per half-hour, according to chief judge Tracy Tanner. But many said their minds were made up about the presidential race months ago.
Among them was Samantha Lewandowski, a 39-year-old dietician and longtime independent voter, who said no recent events swayed her away from Clinton. .
“I think I had my mind up on the issues
Marylanders will elect a new U.S. senator and several members of Congress in 2016. Citizens in Baltimore will vote for a new mayor and comptroller and members of City Council. The general election is Nov. 8. For a look at the races, go to data.baltimoresun.com/voter-guide-2016 quite some time ago,” she said.
Brandon Kiplinger, a 27-year-old machinist from Arbutus and a registered Republican, said recent events, including the resignation of CNNcontributor Donna Brazile after it was revealed she leaked information to the Clinton campaign, sealed his decision to vote for Donald Trump.
“It all helps my vote,” he said. “It all makes it seem more concrete.”
In Towson, the polls were busy Wednesday morning, said Denise Isaac, chief Democratic judge for the early-voting site at Towson University’s administration building. The Towson location has served between roughly 1,300 and 1,500 voters each day of early voting, according to State Board of Elections data.
There, 20-year-old Towson University junior Lauryn Hightower said she waited in line for about 30 minutes to vote for Clinton. Recent news reports didn’t sway her decision, she added.
The political science major said she preferred Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton the Democratic primary.
“But there’s no use in splitting the vote,” Hightower said.
Orrin Yesko, 56, of Ruxton said he also voted for Clinton, adding that recent news reports did not sway his decision. He preferred Clinton’s positive message compared to what he called a negative message from Trump.
Also leaving the polls on Wednesday afternoon was Carney resident Dale Frederick, 59, a registered Democrat who said he voted for Trump. Recent news reports did not sway his decision, he said. “I’d like to see some change,” he said. Frederick said he has been meaning to change his voter affiliation, as he has been voting for more Republican candidates in recent years. He said he doesn’t necessarily agree with some of Trump’s opinions, but believes that, once in office, the candidate would surround himself with a better support staff and “straighten out his attitude.”
In addition to the presidential race, voters are casting ballots in a U.S. Senate race between Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Republican Kathy Szeliga and Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers.
There are also races for Congress, Baltimore mayor and Baltimore City Council.