- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
Small Turnout For Early Voting Prompts Doubts
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
September 7, 2011
A mere 4,000 Baltimore voters cast ballots during the first three days of early voting. Five fully-staffed polling places, open from 10 o’clock in the morning to 8 in the evening, handled this trickle of voters. Meanwhile, taxpayers are expected to get a bill running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for all six days of early voting. WYPR’s Mike Adams went to a couple of the polling stations and filed this report.
On Saturday morning, City Councilman Bill Henry stood outside a Northeast Baltimore polling place, waiting for the voters. Build it and they will come. Well, maybe. Inside, there were plenty of poll workers, and not a single voter. And, this confirmed Henry’s suspicion that early voting is the proverbial elephant that went into labor and gave birth to a mouse.
“I have to tell you that having been out here for different parts of the day, for all three days so far, that it is so slow at some points that I question whether or not that we need to be having this much early voting.”
Henry reasoned that having the polls open for 10 hours on six days is too much. He wants the election board to make adjustments for next round of early voting. Smaller shifts of judges, working during the hours that people are most likely to vote, would be more cost- efficient, he explained.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke stood next to Henry in the parking lot of the polling place in the 1100 block of Cold Spring Lane. She pointed out that this marks the first time that early voting has been used in Baltimore’s municipal election. It will take time for the idea to catch on, she explained, adding that many voters will continue to be creatures of habit.
“Really, most people want to vote on primary Election Day – I do. I do. I want to vote on voting day and I think a lot of people like me are just in that habit.”
Inside the polling place, Joan Colliflower cast her ballot headed toward the parking lot. Asked why she thought it was important to vote, she replied:
“I feel I’ve done some homework, I’m a little more aware as voter than I was in years past, so it is important for me to try to be an informed voter and make my voice heard.”
Colliflower said he voted for Jodi Landers in the mayoral race, but declined to reveal her other choices.
“Well, I’ll tell you this, I voted for Jodi because I feel, I think he has a lot to offer. He lives in our district, I know him personally and I think he has a real up road to go as a Caucasian in Baltimore City. That’s got to be tough.”
Election judge Billy Bratton said has been a poll worker for more than 40 years. He surmised that the light early voting turnout on Thursday and Friday was an indication the electorate was not excited by this election. He gave these turnout figures:
“It was 1,200 for the whole city on Thursday and some 1,500 on Friday. Now, this site here has always been the heaviest one. We had 385 on Thursday and 491 yesterday.”
Asked if early voting should be scaled back, city election director Armstead Jones, Sr., had this to say:
“Well, of course, you know that was a decision made by the legislature and statutes to have six days of early voting and of course it was optional for the local election, and it was determined to use the six days just as we had in the gubernatorial race.”
Asked about the cost to the taxpayers, Jones added:
“Well, the costs of early voting runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, times all of the costs of vendors, the printing and all those things are done.”
About a mile or so away from the polling place on Cold Spring Lane, Clifton Larry Grant sat relaxing with a buddy at Northwood Shopping Center. He said he knew about early voting, but he preferred to vote on Election Day at his regular polling place.
“I votes every year, up at the library.”
Grant said he’ll vote for Catherine Pugh for mayor, but he had trouble explaining how he might vote in the council race.
“I like, er, ay, I just had the name on the tip of my tongue.”
Well, the name never came back to Grant, but perhaps he will recall it on Election Day on Tuesday.
I’m Mike Adams reporting, in Northeast Baltimore, for 88.1 WYPR.
IN FOCUS TODAY
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 6:35am
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 5:02am
This weekend's Memorial Day festivities are sure to include renditions of the Star Spangled...
Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 4:50am
The taxpayers of Baltimore are about to front a developer $107 million in something called tax...