Vote for a Change

November 02, 1992

There's no mistaking it. This day seems filled with an anticipatory excitement not felt in many election eves of recent memory. Voter registration statewide is at an eight-year high, and election officials are predicting record turnouts -- barring torrential downpours -- at local polling places.

In Baltimore City, the previous high turnout of 68 percent is expected to be broken by as many as seven percentage points. Baltimore County could set a new record with a turnout in the high 70s. And in Harford County, a predicted turnout of about 80 percent would eclipse the old mark of 77 percent set in 1980 and 1988.

So what's all the hubbub about?

* A choice for president, from among three main candidates this time. The loopy nature of this year's run for the White House has had the positive effect of generating voter interest, thus boosting registration rolls.

* A statewide abortion referendum, as controversial a ballot question as Maryland has seen in years.

* A Senate race.

* Congressional contests. The races affecting Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Harford County are easy calls and have lacked the acrimony produced by the campaigns in the First and Sixth Districts. However, the Helen Bentley-Michael Hickey race in the Second District has grown more heated down the stretch.

In addition, there are crucial bond issues and charter amendments for voters to consider tomorrow when they step into the booths.

If these weren't compelling enough reasons to vote, there is also the less tangible matter of the current public mood, the apparent consensus that something must be done to put our society back on track. As Baltimore's Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said recently, explaining the boom in voter registration this year, "There are a lot of people hurting. They want to make a change. They feel they can have an impact by [voting]."

That three-sentence quote is a pretty good summation of how voting makes our brand of democracy go 'round: From dissatisfaction comes the desire for change, and change is created through the simple and precious exercise of voting. Even when times seem hard -- as a lot of Americans are convinced they are -- we can be encouraged that each adult citizen possesses the power to make things better. That power comes through the vote.

See you at the polls tomorrow.

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