Joe Volz:?You could disenfranchise yourself by voting early -- Gazette.Net







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A number of prominent politicians, including President Obama, advocate early voting this year.

The reasons are many: Give workers a chance to get to the polls convenient to them, they say; avoid the long lines or bad weather.

In theory, itís a good idea, and many states, including Maryland, are using the concept.

But count me out — at least this year.

My reason?

By voting early, you, in effect, disenfranchise yourself in the event of any last-minute development.

Suppose Obama makes a blunder in foreign policy? Or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says something foolish?

You will have to wait another four years to express your outrage because you have already voted. So why not wait until Election Day on Tuesday?

For those who canít wait, however, early voting began with long lines on Saturday and Sunday at the Frederick County Department of Aging office at 1440 Taney Ave. in Frederick, with the polls orginally scheduled to be open through today.

But thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Martin OíMalley suspended early voting on Monday and Tuesday, and, at this writing, had added Friday as an additional day to vote. Early voters can now also cast their ballots from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Voters who are voting on Election Day must go to their polling place which is listed on the sample ballot you have received in the mail. If you need additional information, contact the Frederick County Board of Elections at 301-600-VOTE.

Maryland is not a presidential battleground state, so unless there is something extraordinary, the actual race in the state will be won easily by Obama, although he might not carry Frederick County.

There will also be referendum questions on a host of issues from same sex marriage to casino gambling. Each is explained concisely in the elections brochure the county has sent out.

The real contest here will in the 6th Congressional District between 86-year-old U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R), the incumbent for two decades, and newcomer John Delaney (D), 49, who lives in Montgomery County.

That race comes down to a choice between a longtime lawmaker who has helped bring in millions in defense money to the county but who will not back any tax hikes to pay for the spiraling budget deficit, and a prosperous businessman who objects to his opponent signing a pledge not to raise taxes.

The new 6th District — a gem of a Democratic-concocted gerrymander — includes western Montgomery, the southern part of Frederick County and stretches across Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties. Frederick city is also in the district.

Joe Volz, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written for newspapers in New York and Washington. You can reach him at