When President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney meet on Tuesday, Oct. 16, for their second debate at 9 p.m., the battle lines in Maryland will already have been drawn; eligible voters must have registered to vote by then.
Donna Duncan, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Board of Elections, said the agency is experiencing a rush of people registering to vote before Tuesday’s deadline—a common event in presidential election years.
The deadline is 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Online traffic peaked Oct. 4, the day after the first presidential debate in Denver, when more than 6,000 Marylanders accessed the online registration system. On an average day, the system logs about 2,500 visits, which can be simple address changes or new registrations.
“It’s wonderful to see this many people interested in our process,” Duncan said.
Why People are Voting
This year's ballot features several controversial voter referendums, including the Maryland Dream Act, which would allow some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities; Gov. Martin O’Malley’s congressional redistricting plan, which opponents have accused of creating some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country; and a same-sex marriage law that would allow gay couples to obtain marriage licenses starting Jan. 1, 2013. The issues appear as Question 4, 5 and 6, respectively, on the ballot.
Question 7 would expand gambling in Maryland by adding table games, longer hours of operation and a new casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County. A recent poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies suggests Question 7 may be the closest vote among the referendums.
The ballot also includes three changes to Maryland’s constitution. Questions 1 and 2 would require judges on the Orphans’ Court of Baltimore and Prince George’s counties to be members of the Maryland State Bar Association, while Question 3 would cause elected officials to be automatically removed from office immediately following a conviction or if the official pleads guilty or no contest.
How to Register
Voters who have yet to register can do so on the Maryland State Board of Elections website—http://electionsmaryland.com—provided they have a Maryland driver’s license. The website also allows voters to update their name and address and lists their polling place.
In-person registration is available at the Harford County Board of Elections (133 Industry Ln. in Forest Hill).
Voters can also mail in paper applications, postmarked by Oct. 16. Pick up a voter registration application at the Havre de Grace Public Library (120 N. Union Ave.) or post office (301 N. Juniata St.) in Havre de Grace. Or download it from this article, where the application is attached as a PDF.
Each voter will be mailed a card confirming registration after the application is approved. Registration status is also available online.