Sunday, October 28, 2012

long lines, high democratic turnout in early voting

Early Voting at Praisner Rec Center
This was the line to vote this afternoon at the Praisner Recreation Center in Burtonsville, one of five polling places for early voting in Montgomery County. It may not look that long, but with people inside the wait was about an hour, according to Matt Verghese, communications director for the Maryland Democratic Party (and my former classmate at the University of Maryland).

Turnout has been heavy since early voting opened yesterday, with nearly 70,000 voters participating across the state. Some polling places report waits of more than two hours, though today in Burtonsville it was only about an hour. Turnout has been overwhelmingly Democratic, even for a blue state like Maryland, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by over three to one.

Polls are open from 10am to 8pm every day, except for Sunday, when they're open from 12pm to 6pm. Early voting will continue through Thursday, though Governor O'Malley has cancelled it tomorrow due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy. It may be extended to Friday to allow more voters to come out, however.

That said, I didn't vote yet as lunch was waiting for me at home, so I'll probably be back this evening. The polls will stay open to anyone who's there at closing time. Verghese told me that some polling places scheduled to close at 8pm last night didn't see their last voter until 11:45pm.

Waiting In Line To Vote, Paint Branch High School
Waiting in line to vote at Paint Branch High School on Election Day 2008.
It'll be interesting to see how this affects turnout on Election Day next week. Will early voting draw out people who otherwise wouldn't vote, or will habitual voters use it to visit the polling place on a different day?

1 comment:

perrik said...

I'd been taking advantage of early voting since MD offered it (I remember being in that line at Paint Branch!) but have been worried that it would be axed due to low turnout. But when I drove to the Praisner center to vote on Saturday morning... yikes. Is it interest in this year's election, or people worried that the storm will affect Election Day?

My husband was smart and voted via absentee ballot. I would have, but then I wouldn't get a "I Voted" sticker...