Md. Lawmakers Push To Expand Early Voting In 2014

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PARK HEIGHTS, Md. (WJZ) — The lessons of the 2012 election may change the way Marylanders vote in 2014.

Pat Warren reports some lawmakers say it’s time to expand early voting.

Early voting at Edmondson Westside High School: Voters went as far as the eye can see. At Old Pimlico Middle School, Governor Martin O’Malley chatted up the crowd in line to vote early.

“Daniel, this is my son Jack. Say hi to Daniel. Are you voting today too, Daniel?” O’Malley said.

Long before Jack and Daniel are ready to vote, all these lines may be a thing of the past. Some lawmakers are considering ways to expand the times and places Marylanders are able to vote.

“I think that the more people vote , the better the result of the election and that’s true always,” he said.

“I went to Pimlico, and people were quietly waiting in line. They knew they would be waiting for more than two hours, but they weren’t going to stop,” said Del. Sandy Rosenberg.

Rosenberg says it’s time to extend the number of early voting days and increase the number of early voting centers to avoid these back-ups at the polls.

“Everybody benefits by broadening access to the ballot,” he said.

Congressman Elijah Cummings thinks the federal government should encourage more states to utilize early voting.

“I tell you, I’m surprised about the turnout. I didn’t expect this many people,” said Cummings.

“I just think it’s important for everyone to take advantage of an opportunity,” said voter Marilyn Seidman.

Maryland’s Republican Party Chairman says the solution to long lines is better staffing and more machines, not additional voting days.

The traditional opposition to early voting has more than likely been significantly weakened if for no other reason than the number the people who waited for hours to cast their ballots.

The State Board of Elections unofficial results show that voter turnout was at nearly 70 percent.

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