Convenience of early voting earns voters' approval

There was no waiting, no rain and no line of volunteer campaign workers to deal with during the first Sunday of early voting in Baltimore County for Maryland's primary election.

The five early voting centers in the county averaged just over 310 voters March 25, as residents took advantage of the opportunity to cast their votes for candidates for president, senate, House of Representatives, circuit court judge and delegates to the Democratic or Republican national convention.

The polling places in Catonsville, North Point, Randallstown, Towson and White Marsh averaged 506 on Saturday, the first day of early voting.

On March 26, more than 2,200 county residents cast their votes, with 370 voting in Catonsville.

County residents could vote at any of the five facilities from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the early voting period, which ends Thursday, March 29.

"They've been coming in steady, but no lines," said Katie Brown, director of the Board of Elections at the board's headquarters in Catonsville.

"Am I surprised? Yes and no," she said March 25. "I'm surprised at the turnout, given there were so many uncontested races on the ballot.

"But I'm glad to see it, too," she said. "We've put a lot of time, effort and money into it and it's nice to see people come out."

Woodlawn resident Kathleen Mason was among those happy to take advantage of the first-ever opportunity to cast her vote on a Sunday.

"I came from church," said Mason, who attended the March 25 service at her church in Edmondson Village, then stopped by the Catonsville facility. "It was very convenient for me to come straight here."

Mason said she took advantage of the early voting period in 2010, the first time it was offered to Maryland voters, and was happy to do so again.

"You don't have to worry about getting out early before work (on Election Day) or when you come home after work," she said.

Catonsville residents Guy Davis and Norma Hensler-Davis were also happy to cast their votes prior to April 3.

"I like early voting. It's a lot more convenient," said Guy Davis.

Davis said he could not recall ever missing an opportunity to vote, a dedication his wife shared.

"It's my responsibility," said Norma Hensler-Davis, a Lansdowne native.

The couple were among 244 voters who cast their ballots at the Bloomsbury Community Center Sunday.

That total was the second lowest in the county, trailing Randallstown (588), Honeygo (330) and Towson (307), but nearly double the total at North Point (109).

Brown noted that about three dozen people were waiting for the polls to open at Randallstown on March 25 and another dozen or so were in line before the noon opening at Randallstown the next day.

"This is what the voters wanted," she said. "I guess the people must think this is a good thing."

It has been for Brown, she admitted.

The 2010 election was the first since Brown started working for the Board of Elections in 1987 that she had not had to vote by absentee ballot.

On Saturday, she took advantage of a lull after the morning rush to vote in the primary.

Voters who prefer to vote on Election Day can vote April 3 at the polling place to which they have been assigned. On Election Day, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To avoid delays, the state recommends that voters go to the polls between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

To find your assigned precinct, check at the voter notification card you received from the local board of elections or go to

For information about absentee ballots and other aspects of the primary election, go to or call the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683).


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