Nearly 43,000 Marylanders cast their ballots on Thursday, a significant uptick from the first day of early voting four years ago.
Turnout statewide was up about 37 percent from 2010, the last time a governor’s race was on the ballot, according to figures released by the Maryland State Board of Elections.. The highest totals Thursday were seen in Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
The voting got underway as the gubernatorial candidates urged their supporters to get to the polls now rather than wait until Nov. 4.
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, accompanied his 19-year-old daughter to an early polling center in Landover so she could vote in her first general election. After casting a ballot for her dad, Rebecca Brown told a swarm of reporters that it’s important for teenagers and 20-somethings to vote.
“We always say that we want our voice to be heard — and what better way to let our voices be heard than to vote?” said Rebecca Brown, a sophomore at the University of Maryland.
Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), also voted early in Columbia on Thursday, accompanied by his wife and two young daughters. Brown said that he is waiting until Nov. 4.
Meanwhile, Larry Hogan, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, traveled around Prince George’s County to encourage people to vote early — and, during a stop at a Bowie senior center, be coaxed into ballroom dancing. While touring Bowie Town Center, Hogan told one shopper: “It’s coming down to the wire. The voting starts today.”
Earlier in the day, one of Hogan’s daughters, Jaymi Sterling, tweeted a photo of herself casting an early ballot for her dad. Sterling is a prosecutor in St. Mary’s County and recently starred in a campaign ad defending her father’s positions on women’s issues.
Early voting runs through Oct. 30, with polls open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters can cast ballots at any early voting center in their county, all of which are listed on the Maryland State Board of Elections Web site.
While turnout was up Thursday compared to four years ago, it was well shy of 2012, a presidential year. More than 78,000 people voted on the first available day in that election.