Next week's election might be short on candidates and contests — besides the county school board, no county or state elected officials are up for election this year — but it doesn't lack for drama and hotly debated issues.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Howard County voters will get to vote on some remarkably tight contests. Locally, voters will decide the aforementioned school board race, in which six candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for three open slots on a board that will have to work with a new superintendent to maintain the school system's quality reputation. On the state level, voters will face no fewer than four ballot questions that have generated a lot of interest and, in the case of the expanded gambling proposal, a perhaps unprecedented level of spending on ads that are as often misleading as not.
Nationally, of course, there is the presidential race, which polls show has grown tighter than anyone would have guessed a couple of months ago.
It is trite, of course, to talk of the importance of voting, the need to make your voice heard, the value of every vote. So we won't belabor that point — except to note that this year as much any in recent memory, all that trite talk is true.
It's also possible the admonition is not needed. Voter turnout at early voting sites in Howard County earlier this week far exceeded expectations. And while that may have as much to do with the threat of Superstorm Sandy at the time, it could very well indicate how serious county voters are taking this election. As they should.
Early voting, shut down for two days by Sandy, has been extended through Friday, Nov. 2 at the three sites in Howard County: Florence Bain Senior Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way in Columbia; Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Road in Ellicott City; and, Ridgely's Run Community Center, 8400 Mission Road in Jessup. On Nov. 7, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Below is a recap of our election endorsements, explained in more detail in our previous two issues.
For Board of Education: David Gertler, Ellen Giles, Jackie Scott
Question 4, the Dream Act, which allows some illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public college and universities: Yes
Question 5, the new congressional districts drawn up by the General Assembly: No
Question 6, allowing same-sex marriage in Maryland: Yes
Question 7, adding a sixth gambling casino in Maryland: No