By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — We are now less than two weeks away from election day. Early voting starts Thursday, and the state’s congressional delegation is encouraging Maryland voters to protect their rights.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on their message.

Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Elijah Cummings are warning voters to be on the lookout for election scams.

Word to voters: don’t be fooled.

“We cannot remain silent when people are trying to lessen the rights of people to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D) District 7.

Early voting starts Thursday.

“This was way easier than actually voting on election day,” one voter said.

“But yet and still we still have issues that we have to deal with,” said Cummings.

With early voting comes early warning. Remember the robocall four years ago that told voters it was OK to stay home?

“Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful. We’re OK. Relax,” the call said.

“And we see those kind of tricks being played all the time. And that’s the kind of stuff that we have to guard against,” Cummings said.

Attempts to discourage or prevent people from voting are a national concern and voters are encouraged to know their rights and to spot deception.

“Not in Maryland, but in other states where a robocall was used to try to convince voters who are more likely to vote for the Democrats that they could vote by phone,” U.S. Sen. Cardin said.

You have the right to a provisional ballot if you can’t use a machine, you don’t need ID unless you’re a first time voter, you have a right to get help, to vote early in your county, vote by mail, take time off from work to vote, to vote at 7 a.m. and vote past 8 p.m. if you’re still in line and not to be bothered within 100 feet of your polling place.

For many, it’s more than a right, it’s a duty.

“When you don’t cast your vote, you have no need to complain,” voter Harriet Jones said.

Early voting is October 23 through Oct. 30.

Even more convenient: starting in the 2016 presidential election early voters will be able to register and vote on the same day.

Remember: the polls for early voting are open at 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Polls open at 7 a.m. on election day only.

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