Reasons to vote

November 03, 1992

Still need a reason to vote today? This Election Day, you might have more compelling reasons to get to the polls than you've had in recent memory:

* A choice for president, from among three main candidates this time. This year's unusual run for the White House might have depressed some observers, but at least it has piqued voter interest, thus boosting registration rolls.

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

* A Senate race, in which Barbara Mikulski seeks to retain her seat and possibly welcome several female newcomers to the legislative body.

* Congressional contests. The races affecting Baltimore City, BTC Baltimore County and Harford County are virtual cakewalks for the incumbents and didn't produce the acrimony seen in the First and Sixth Districts. Still, Helen Bentley and Michael Hickey did their best to make the Second District battle more heated down the home stretch.

Voters will also get to say yea or nay to important bond issues and charter amendments.

Just how high is voter interest this year? Registration statewide has hit an eight-year high, and election officials throughout the region are predicting record turnouts 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.

While voters will be drawn to the polls by the races and issues cited above, they'll also be moved by a less tangible factor: their mood. There's an undeniable feeling among the public that something must be done about the many problems -- crime, substance abuse, economic sluggishness, lack of health care, and others -- that have thrown society off track.

Yet even from this gloom emerges something as positive as the wish to make things better -- via the ballot box. 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]."

For those hurting in some way, today brings a prime opportunity to do something about it. See you at the polls.

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