Voter turnout, like the rain, was a pretty steady trickle on Saturday, as people made their way to the Towson University Administration Building for the first day of early voting in Maryland's 2012 primary election.
"There's no throng, but it's been steady," said Joe Lobianco, 28, a poll worker who stood under an umbrella handing out literature for presidential hopeful Ron Paul.
Annie Shepter, an election judge whose usual duties on election days are at Towson Presbyterian Church, had her first early election experience on Saturday at TU, and said about 350 people had come by mid-afternoon.
And on Sunday, March 25, the five early voting centers in the county averaged just more than 470 voters, as residents took advantage of the opportunity to cast their votes for candidates for president, U.S. senators and representatives, circuit court judge and delegates to the Democratic or Republican national convention.
Few voters seemed particularly confused or perplexed that some of the names on the ballots are, because of recent redistricting, not the names they are accustomed to. Changes were made to the district lines this past year based on 2010 census data.
The greater Towson-Timonium-Lutherville-Cockeysville area already was split among multiple districts — prior to this cycle, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts composed much of Towson, while northern areas were in the 6th Congressional District.
But the 6th District has been redrawn in its western borders, so that it no longer reaches to Baltimore County. The 7th Congressional District now includes much of the area from Lutherville north. (See map.)
"I knew. I've been switched from (district) 2 to 7," said Jimmy, 24, a Lutherville resident who declined to give his last name as he came out of the Towson University voting center on Saturday.
"It's hilarious," he said of the redistricting. "People across the street from me are in a different district. It looks like one of those elephant paintings — where they give the elephant a paint brush."
Several other voters at Towson said they were aware of the alterations, or had not changed congressional districts.
Sandra Wieprecht, also of Lutherville, said she had received mailings from the League of Women Voters and others detailing the change.
Her son, Will Wieprecht, came to the polls with her to vote Saturday. He said he had been unaware of their change in districts, also from the 2nd to the 7th, but said his mom set him straight before they got there.
Shepter said she had only had one person who was confused by the changing district lines — but said the ease of adjustment might be unique to early voters. She said poll workers might see more questions next Tuesday, April 3, when the masses come to vote.
'We're talking about early voters, so they're already up on things," she said. "It might be more of a problem on primary day."
Early voting in Maryland continues through Wednesday and Thursday, March 28-29, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.
The Towson-area early voting center is at Towson University's Administrative Building, 7720 York Road, Towson. Others in the county are: Bloomsbury Community Center, 106 Bloomsbury Ave., Catonsville; Honeygo Community Center, 9033 Honeygo Blvd., Perry Hall; North Point Library, 1716 Merritt Blvd., Dundalk; and the Randallstown Community Center, 3505 Resource Drive, Randallstown.
More information about early voting is available at http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/early_voting.html.
Voters who prefer to vote on Election Day can vote April 3. On Election Day, polling places will be open for voting 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.
On Election Day, voters should go to the polling place to which they are assigned. A voter can find his or her assigned precinct by looking at the voter notification card he or she received from the local board of elections — or by visiting http://www.mdelections.org.
For information about absentee ballots and other aspects of the primary election, go to http://www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2012/index.html or contact the State Board of Elections at 1-800-222-VOTE (8683).