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Local Issues Push Residents to the Polls

Despite a tight presidential election, North Baltimore residents said local issues were why they were voting.

In a year with a tight presidential election, it was local issues that brought North Baltimore residents out to vote on Tuesday.

Julian Franz, 44, said because Maryland is such a heavily Democratic state that it mutes the "buzz" of some of the national and statewide races. President Barack Obama is expected to carry the state, Sen. Ben Cardin appears to be headed for re-election and the members of the House of Representatives that represent the area were expected to retain their seats.

But Franz said it was issues such as allowing the city to borrow money to make improvements to cultural centers such as the Walters Art Museum, Center Stage and the Maryland Science Center.

"I’m a big proponent of all the cultural institutions in town," said Franz, a Roland Park resident.

Billy Canes, 21, said he came out to vote for the first time because of local issues such as Question 6, and bond bills allowing the city to borrow money to improve parks and build new schools.

"The city schools system is pretty terrible and probably has been for some decades now," said Canes, a Hampden resident.

But for others voters there wasn’t any driving force to get out and vote other than just doing what they felt was a civic duty.

Martin Vogelhut, 90, cast his ballot at First English Lutheran Church said there wasn’t a particular candidate or issue he was fired up for. He said he voted simply because he always votes.

Although the Tuscany-Canterbury resident said he was impressed with the turnout, and that he couldn’t remember there being a line to vote like there was on Tuesday. In fact, the line gave him a little pause about sticking around to vote.

"I [thought] better just chick this, but I didn’t," Vogelhut said.

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