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Thousands Getting Out The Vote Early In Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Getting out early. We are less than two weeks away from the Maryland primary election, but you can already cast your vote.

Early voting is now underway. Several key races in campaign 2016 will be decided by the turnout.

Political reporter Pat Warren with more on why it's so important this year.

The mayor's race is one of the big issues on the ballot, and already, the first day of early voting in Baltimore is four times what it was in the last mayor's race.

Former mayor Sheila Dixon was on site in West Baltimore. It's that golden time with voters casting ballots at the same time the campaigns are making their final sprint to election day.

The race belongs to the voters now.

"It is the voters. That's what it's about. We've been out here since last March," said mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon.

Since that time, momentum has been building--but is it enough to motivate? For Margaret Forman, it's personal.

"I want a better Baltimore, you know? I have seen things--last year and this year--that really hurt me. My son got killed last year. Someone shot him in his head twice, and the guy didn't get a day for it," said Forman.

Baltimore City primary turnout has dropped consistently. In 2003, there were nearly 90,000 votes. That dropped to 86,000 in 2007, and to fewer than 75,000 votes in 2011.

As of the last gubernatorial race, there were 295,000 registered Democrats.

"I've never seen this kind of a turnout for early voting," said Catherine Pugh, mayoral candidate. "So I can't imagine what the vote count is going to be. I think people are really interested in change."

There will be a change in City Hall--whose face it will be depends on who gets out the vote.

You can also register to vote at early voting locations.

Addresses for the early voting centers are available HERE.

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