The Baltimore Sun reports on the increased number of early voting sites, days and hours of early voting that has not increased voter turnout. The evidence shows participation has been dismal and actually gone down. No discussion of cost with the article, but this 2012 analysis shows the additional cost for early voting pegged at $2.6 million.
According to Maryland Board of Elections statistics, just 2 percent of Harford’s eligible voters participated in the first five days of early voting from Thursday through Monday, despite more sites, more days and longer hours to vote in Harford this year. The turnout has been equally dismal throughout the state, with roughly 2.1 percent of all Maryland voters casting a ballot, according to the state elections board.…It’s been pretty slow,” she said about all four voting sites. “It’s also the primary, it’s the first time it’s been in June; people are going to be on vacation.” The early voting sites in Harford drew 950 people on the first day Thursday, 850 on Friday, 377 on Saturday, 199 on Sunday and 818 on the Monday, according to the state’s unofficial turnout results. The McFaul Activity Center in Bel Air had the largest turnout, drawing 1,599 of the voters. Jarrettsville library was second-most popular with 588 voters and Edgewood library came in third with 582. The University Center in Aberdeen drew 425 people. The turnout has been far lower so far than in the 2010 gubernatorial election when early voting was offered at one site, Livingston said.