Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s a little more than a week away from Election Day, but the polls across the state will open this weekend.
Gigi Barnett explains it’s the start of early voting, and churches and synagogues are teaming up to get souls to the polls.
Eleven days and counting, candidates continue on the campaign trail and special interest groups are still trying to sway voters.
But for Maryland voters who want to cast their ballots early, the polls are open this weekend.
“I think it takes the pressure off of election cause there’s more opportunities for people to vote. You don’t have to push everybody through the process in one day,” said Ross Goldstein, Maryland State Board of Elections.
The convenience of early voting is causing churches, synagogues and religious groups to band together. They’ve launched a campaign called Get the Souls to the Polls.
Lines are shorter on the weekends.
“On Sunday after worship services, or as soon as possible thereafter, that everybody in every jurisdiction head to the polls,” said Rev. Sheridan Yeary, Douglas Memorial Church.
The Maryland State Board of Elections says polls across the state are already up, but with a lengthy ballot this year, long lines could build fast so read the sample ballot early.
“If we have people waiting to get to the poll to read all of this material there are going to be lines, so we need to encourage everyone. They can mark that sample ballot,” said Armstead Jones Sr., Baltimore Board of Elections.
With a massive storm threatening the Mid-Atlantic this weekend, early voting could be a wash out.
In a written statement to WJZ Governor Martin O’Malley says “[We] are actively monitoring weather developments in order to determine whether changes to the early voting schedule may be necessary. In the meantime, the state Board of Elections, the local boards and all early voting locations should continue their preparations.”
Maryland has had early voting for the last three years. Election officials say they have not seen a change in turn out because of it.
Early voting begins on Saturday in Maryland and runs through Thursday.
Voters in Maryland do not need ID to cast a ballot, and they can go to any poll in their county to vote.