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Baltimore County leads state in early voting through Sunday

Campaign volunteers talk about early voting at the Bloomsbury Community Center in Catonsville. (Lauren Loricchio/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Although Baltimore County has fewer registered voters than Montgomery and Prince George's counties, it had the highest early voting turnout in the state this year with 26,522 ballots cast through Sunday.

The weekend lull at the Bloomsbury Community Center in Catonsville, one of eight early voting centers in the county, picked up Monday morning as voters trickled into the center at 106 Bloomsbury Avenue, which houses the county's Board of Elections office.

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Just 422 voted on Saturday and 338 voted on Sunday at the center, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections, compared to 987 who cast ballots Thursday and 985 Friday.

"It was way down from 2010, which I'm surprised," said Katie Brown, director of the Baltimore County Board of Elections in comparing the weekend totals with four years ago. "I don't know if it was just a beautiful weekend and people were out enjoying the weather."

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In 2010, on the third and fourth days of the early voting period, 1,010 and 1,038 cast ballots, respectively, at the Bloomsbury Community Center.

Early voting began Oct. 23, with 7,213 casting a ballot at the eight polling places in the county that Thursday.

Other sites include: the Randallstown Community Center, the Towson University Administrative building, Honeygo Community Center in Perry Hall, North Point Public Library in Dundalk, Back River Community Center in Essex, Center for Maryland Agriculture Farm Park in Cockeysville and Reisterstown Senior Center Hannah More campus.

During the last mid-term election in 2010, there were only five early voting sites in Catonsville, Randallstown, Towson, Perry Hall and Dundalk.

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Maura Deeley, 39, of Catonsville, exited the center on the morning of Oct. 27 wearing an "I voted" sticker and pushing her 18-month-old son in a stroller while she held her 3-year-old toddler's hand.

"On Election Day, I would have had one more," she said, adding that her 6-year-old would have off from school next Tuesday.

Deeley explained that she votes in mid-term elections because, "It affects everything — my daily life and where my kids go to school."

"We love living in Catonsville and we want to make sure things continue to go in the right direction," said the registered Democrat.

She was followed by Ryan Molick, 39, who also found early voting to be more "convenient" than casting a ballot on Election Day.

Economics brought Molick, a registered Republican, to the polls Monday morning.

"They represent us, our state and our tax dollars," Molick said. "I don't want them wasting our tax dollars or overspending."

Campaign workers were busy handing out campaign literature to voters before they cast their ballot. .

Democrats Eric Ebersole, Terri Hill and Clarence Lam and Republicans Gordon Bull, Joseph Hooe and Rick Martel are vying for three empty seats in the newly drawn district which encompasses parts of Catonsville and Arbutus, along with a portion of Howard County.

Dick Johnson, 64, a retired mail clerk and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, handed out pamphlets about the District 12 Republicans to passersby in front of the center.

"We need a change. The tax structure is bizarre here in Maryland," said Johnson, who has volunteered during election season for the past 40 years."These are hard economic times — we need to lower the taxes."

Nearby, Michele Mazzocco, a developmental scientist who resides in Catonsville, handed out literature to voters entering the Bloomsbury center about the District 12 Democrats.

"It's been pretty constant. A lot of people are coming knowing who they're voting for, yet there are still some willing to listen because they're not sure about every candidate on the ballot," Mazzocco said.

"There are a lot of candidates to vote for on the ballot, so it's possible that people might have a particular candidate in mind but might not have made up their mind about the House of Delegates," Mazzocco said. "So I do feel that being here helps to inform those who are not quite sure of their position or are not quite sure they can vote for all three."

Early voting will continue at eight centers in Baltimore County from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Thursday, Oct. 30. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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