VOTER TURNOUT: After months of being bombarded by slick advertising, celebrity endorsements and candidate pleas, Maryland voters will go to the polls today — in large numbers, according to one estimate — to have the final word, Annie Linskey and John Fritze report in the Sun.
Frederick County residents last week shattered the 2010 record for early voting, with almost 10% of registered voters heading to the polls despite interference from Hurricane Sandy, Bethany Rodgers and Pete McCarthy write in the Frederick News-Post. The two also interview county election director Stuart Harvey, who said there are many good reasons “to come out and vote. There’s something on the ballot for virtually everyone.”
Don Aines of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that more than 8% of Washington County registered voters took part in early voting, a percentage that increases above 12% if absentee ballot requests are included, according to Washington County Board of Election figures.
Nearly 6,000 voters in Cecil County took advantage of early voting last week, surpassing totals of the first year of early voting here in 2010 by 2,530, Cheryl Mattix of the Cecil Whig reports.
The Sun’s Erin Cox puts together a photo report on 13 things you need to know before going to the polls.
VOTE GENERATORS: The Garrett County Board of Elections has moved one voting precinct for today’s election and sent generators to many others in the event power would be lost, reports Michael Sawyers for the Cumberland Times-News.
BACK TO NORMALCY: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks’ treacly, upbeat, hopeful, excited feeling that Americans are a smart and informed people who value reason, logic and fairness who put aside differences by going to the polls to vote lasted … well, not long.
NOTHING SIMPLE ABOUT ‘MAJORITY:’ In a commentary for MarylandReporter.com, J.H. Snider of iSolon.org writes about the meanings of the phrase “majority vote” when it comes to elections in Maryland.
GOTTA HAVE A SIGN: Steve Frantzich, a political science teacher at the Naval Academy who studies aspects of elections, including signs, said the placards tend to say more about the people who have them in their yards than the candidates themselves. “I don’t think they change a lot of votes,” he said. That said, writes Theresa Winslow in the Capital-Gazette, it’d be a mistake for a novice candidate — or one with a difficult name to spell — not to have signs.
O’MALLEY’S LAST PUSH: In back-to-back Baltimore news conferences yesterday, Gov. Martin O’Malley made his final arguments for expanding gambling and legalizing same-sex-marriage — two of the most contentious questions on today’s ballot, reports Annie Linskey in the Sun.
John Wagner of the Post reports that O’Malley has also cut a new ad for the campaign to pass Maryland’s version of the Dream Act, which would allow in-state college tuition rates for undocumented immigrant students if certain conditions are met.
REFERENDUM WRAPUP: Ian Shapira of the Post wraps up a number of the referendum issues for Marylanders as voters head to the polls today.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Reuters’ Edith Honan writes in the Sun that Ezekiel Jackson is black and his wife is white. As Jackson campaigns to legalize gay marriage in Maryland, he likens the plight of same-sex couples to that of interracial couples, who were banned from marrying in the state until 1967.
Joel McCord of WYPR-FM tries to clear up some of the falsehoods that opponents of same-sex marriage have been putting out there.
DREAM ACT: Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew writes about the last-minute push to rally the troops to canvass voters for Maryland’s Dream Act.
GAMBLING SPREE: The spending spree surrounding the battle over expanded gambling in Maryland continued to escalate in the final days before today’s election — with the two sides reporting spending more than $87 million in their efforts to sway voters, reports the Sun’s Michael Dresser.
John Wagner of the Post puts the figure at above $90 million.
Matt Connolly of the Washington Examiner writes that if Question 7 passes, Maryland would allow table games, round-the-clock operation and a casino in Prince George’s County.
MAILER STIRS ANGER: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold and other Republicans are fuming over a mailer by Michael Steele and Audrey Scott that claims to be a “Republican voter guide” that offers recommendations on how county Republicans should vote including for gambling expansion, reports Tim Prudente in the Capital-Gazette.
BIG SOFT PUNCH: Comptroller Peter Franchot, responding to one state senator’s attack on him for not supporting expanded gambling, did not reply under his own name. Instead, his office sent a letter to Ed DeGrange under the signature of Franchot’s chief of staff, Len Foxwell, the Sun’s Michael Dresser writes.
NO TO GAMBLING EXPANSION: In urging its readers to vote against Question 7 to allow a casino in Prince George’s County, Red Maryland says that the real objection to the referendum lies in its genesis in the primordial ooze of Annapolis. A vote against would send a message that we will no longer tolerate the rot and corruption permeating the State House.
BONGINO FILES COMPLAINT: The Rob Sobhani campaign put out a robocall denouncing the “Republican nominee for Senate,” which went out without an authority line, reports Red Maryland. On Monday, the Dan Bongino campaign put out a release stating they are filing a complaint against Sobhani with the Federal Election Commission.
Bongino’s campaign posted a YouTube recording of the call, which has a woman saying that Bongino doesn’t support English as the country’s official language, while Sobhani does, writes Pamela Wood in the Capital Gazette. The robocall is embedded to the left of the story.
WBFF-TV reports that, under FCC regulations, all public communications, including robocalls, that are paid for by a federal candidate’s campaign must include a disclaimer indicating that the call was paid for by the campaign so as not to mislead the public. The Sobhani campaign says that the robocall had an authority line when created.
CARROLL REPORTS: Carroll County Times reporters Carrie Knauer, Rachel Roubein and Kelcie Pegher, will spend Election Day out at the polls, talking to voters about the issues that are important to them. Check back frequently for updates after the polls open at 7 a.m.
ALSTON CONTINUES FIGHT: Ann Marimow of the Post writes that Tiffany Alston, the Prince George’s County delegate suspended from office last month, was still fighting to clear her name and possibly get her job back yesterday, even as state prosecutors accused her of exaggerating her court-ordered community service hours.
LEGAL EXPENSE RULE PULLED: The Anne Arundel County measure that could have required County Executive John Leopold to repay his legal expenses was withdrawn last night before it came to a vote, Erin Cox reports in the Sun.