By Pat Warren


BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Marylanders have until 8 p.m. Thursday to cast their ballots in early voting.

Primary early voting will end with a whopping 53 percent increase in turnout.

The question is: What will this mean for the general election?

Tens of thousands of ballots cast during early voting coming to an end means lots more energy for candidates and poll workers alike

“People coming in exercising their rights to vote. We need you,” one person said over the megaphone at a polling location.

And Marylanders have been answering the call, with more than 170,000 casting ballots at the latest count and growing.

Baltimore County Executive candidates were at the polls Thursday.

Early voting seemed to energize the campaigns.

“I think so, yeah. I really do, and brings us all out,” said Baltimore County Executive candidate Vicki Almond (D). “It brings us out to meet the people, shake their hands and say hello, and that makes a big difference that personal touch.”

“Yeah, it’s been great. People are excited, they’re looking forward to putting people in positions from governor, to county executive and local positions, and they’re very well informed. They’re paying attention to what’s happening out there,” Baltimore County Executive candidate John Olszewski (D) added.

Expert opinion says that may bode well for the primary.

[Reporter: “Will we be able to get an indication, based on the early voting numbers, what the voter turnout will be in the primary?”]

“Oh, I think we can,” said UB political expert John T. Willis. “20 percent of the voters — the total voters — voted early in 2014. If the same ratio applies, we’ll have in excess of 200,000 more voters on primary election day than we had four years ago. With a good day [Thursday], we could break 200,000.”

Another advantage of early voting for the candidates is that it tells them where they need to work hardest.

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