Early Voting Winds Down, Officials Cheer Turnout
County primary early voting turnout more than doubled in general election.
With so much focus on Election Day on Nov. 2, it's easy to forget that voters have had a chance to cast ballots for almost a week.
Early voting closes tonight, but not before 30,000 people pass in and out of one of five polling centers in the county. One of them is the Honeygo Community Center at 9033 Honeygo Blvd. in Perry Hall. Polls close at 8 p.m. Thursday.
This is the first year for early voting in the state. Katie Brown, director of the Baltimore County Board of Elections, was thrilled about the turnout as the daily numbers came in for the general election. In just three days, the county had passed the turnout for the primary election.
"We didn't know what to expect," Brown said. "We were very glad to see that, that the turnout was better that more people found out about it and that more people took advantage of it."
Statewide turnout has also more than doubled compared to the primary early voting. In some parts of the county, like Randallstown, election judges report lines out the door.
The turnout also looks good for the budget. According to Brown, six days of early voting cost the county about $300,000 to pay election judges, transport equipment and other bills. If you do the math, the 12,876 primary voters cost the county $23.30 each. By comparison, assuming just 5,000 showed up to vote Thursday (a conservative estimate), the 29,264 voters would cost just $10.25 a head.
County statistics also provide insight into who's voting early and for whom. Of the more than 24,000 who voted through Wednesday, nearly 17,000 were registered Democrats and 5,665 were Republicans. But given the nature of some county races, particularly the county executive race and District 5 county council race, where each Democratic primary loser has all but endorsed the Republican, those numbers may be misleading.