The House of Delegates voted to bring early voting to Maryland in legislation spurred by a constitutional amendment that state residents approved in November. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, allows voters to begin casting their ballots from the second Friday before a regularly scheduled primary or general election through the Friday before elections, excluding Sundays. State analysts estimate the cost to implement early voting by the 2010 elections to be between $1.8-million and $2.5-million.
Lawmakers also moved forward with several other bills. They gave initial approval to a bill that would change how slot machine money would be allocated to horse racing purses. Under Maryland law, up to $100-million in slot machine proceeds will be dedicated to horse racing purses once slots become operational. Another measure aiming to reduce mercury in the environment also moved forward. The bill would require scrap yards to remove switches with mercury from all cars in their lots.