Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Several lawmakers, including the governor, are moving ahead on proposals to expand early voting.
Pat Warren explains why this has become such a priority this year.
Maryland voters made themselves heard in more ways than one in 2012. Voting matters, no matter how long the wait.
Brian Geisman brought his children to the polls.
“It’s important to get out here and show them what this process is about very early,” he said.
Kate Hanson and her children prepared for a long wait.
“We had prepared with apples and Halloween candy for the kids so they were really good being patient inside,” said Hanson.
The long lines did not discourage Charles Hall either.
“I feel great, I’ve discharged my civic duty and responsibility as a citizen,” Hall said.
Even with early voting record turnout, there were long lines on Election Day.
“I was surprised that at midday we had the turnout we had,” said voter James Reese.
Jane Richardson thought some changes could be made to make the process move faster.
“I think a lot of us wish there were more days for early voting,” she said.
And that’s what Governor O’Malley and other lawmakers propose to do. A number of bills under consideration add days and polling places, and would allow Marylanders to register and vote on the same early voting day.
Baltimore Delegate Jon Cardin–sponsoring some of the legislation–dismissed concerns that expanded voting invites fraud.
“There’s essentially very little evidence of people trying to vote twice or vote in two different locations,” Cardin said.
There will be hearings in both the House and the Senate.
Maryland’s Republican Party chairman says the solution to long lines is better staffing and more machines, not additional voting days.
The House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony on one of the bills Thursday.