05 November 2010

Turnout is down in Maryland despite early voting...but that's not the whole story

FOX45 Baltimore is reporting that "[d]espite six days of early voting, turnout in Maryland's general election was five percent less than four years ago."  They cite turnout as 52.5% in 2010 as compared to 57.5% in 2006.  The story goes on to say this happened despite early voting, and they question whether or not early voting is worth it.  However, there is a problem this number because it doesn't include most of the absentee and provisional ballots as you can see from this screenshot:
None of the state's most populous counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery, Prince George's) nor Baltimore City has even reported their first canvass of absentee ballots, and no jurisdictions within the state have reported any provisional ballots or started their second canvass of absentee ballots.

If you look back at the 2006 numbers, you would find that absentee and provisional ballots represented over 11% of total votes cast statewide.  With 3,468,287 registered voters as of the close of registration prior to this election, 52.5% would represent approximately 1,821,000 total votes cast; yet the possibility exists that upwards of 200,000 absentee and provisional ballots will eventually be counted.  This would push total votes over 2,000,000 and at 58%+ which would match 2006 turnout (and possibly represent a small increase).  But that wouldn't make a news story, would it? :-)
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