Long lines greeted Marylanders casting ballots as polling places opened for early voting Thursday with record turnout. According to the Baltimore Sun, when the polls closed at 8:30pm on the first day, about 5,000 people had cast ballots in Baltimore — more than four times the number of the first day of early voting in 2011.
This year, citizens can register and vote on the same day during early voting, which may be one reason for the high voter turnout. Others may be getting to polling places early, at least in Baltimore, because of the high-profile mayoral race. This year’s unusually crowded race –with 17 candidates on the primary ballot, including 13 Democrats – coincides with the one-year anniversary of the uprising.
In an effort to give local communities an opportunity to hear candidates’ ideas, OSI co-hosted two #VoteBaltimore mayoral forums this year with Associated Black Charities and City Paper, on February 24th and March 16th. Topics ranged from income inequality in the first forum, to criminal justice reform and the question of police in schools during the second.
More recently, OSI and Stoop Storytelling hosted the Stoop Mayoral Show. This one-of-kind event featuring many of Baltimore’s mayoral candidates telling 5-minute true, personal tales about their first job.
Early voting runs from Thursday, April 14 through Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 10am – 8pm. Visit the Maryland State Board of Elections site to find voting locations, requirements for registration and other information.
Photo courtesy Kim Hairston, for the Baltimore Sun.