Early voting in Maryland shows modest increases in an election year when some polls suggest strong public apathy for some races, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Over the first five days of early voting this year, 71,159 Maryland residents cast ballots—a turnout of 2.1 percent according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
That’s more than both 2010 and 2012 where 59,207 and 59,716 voters respectively turned out to vote during the same period of early voting. In both of those years, overall turnout for the first five days was just shy of 1.9 percent.
Nearly 80 percent of those who took advantage of early voting this year—55,587 voters— did so on the first two days and on Monday.
Two-thirds of all votes cast came from five jurisdictions—Baltimore County (11,117), Prince George’s (10,224), Montgomery County (9,672), Baltimore City (8,233), and Anne Arundel County (7,697).
The totals come as some recent polling suggests that voters are less than enthusiastic about their choices in the Democratic and Republican primaries for governor and attorney general.
In April, a poll conducted by the St. Mary’s College of Maryland found that 54 percent of Democrats and nearly 66 percent of Republicans said they were undecided when it came to electing a governor in their respective primary.
Polls released earlier this month by the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post place those undecideds at between 16 and 24 percent. Both papers reported that 40 percent of those surveyed said they remained undecided in the Democratic primary contest for attorney general between Dels. Aisha N. Braveboy and Jon S. Cardin and Sen. Brian E. Frosh.
The reason for the apparent apathy is unclear. Some have suggested it is because the state is holding a primary election earlier than it has every held such an election. Others, such at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather R. Mizeur, have a different idea.
Mizeur, speaking Tuesday on The C4 Show on WBAL radio, said apathy is only a portion of the equation that includes “negative campaigning” which she said turns voters off.