Frederick County sees steady stream of voters -- Gazette.Net







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This story was updated at 8 p.m. Nov. 6.

A steady stream of voters moved in and out of Lincoln Elementary School in Frederick at 8 a.m. Tuesday, with minimal waits according to most residents.

John Delaney (D), who is challenging 10-term U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Dist. 6), was at the school, greeting voters and asking for their support.

The Potomac businessman said Lincoln was his third stop in Frederick, and that he planned to make a few other stops in the county throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Bartlett met with voters outside Urbana High School Tuesday afternoon.

Bartlett said he started his day in Garrett County early Tuesday morning, where there were still about 8 inches of snow on the ground from last week’s storm, and was visiting each of the counties in the district.

After the stop in Urbana, he was scheduled to visit several locations in Montgomery County.

Officials in Garrett County told him they were having their biggest turnout ever for that early in the day, Bartlett said.

Turnout has been heavy everywhere, driven by the sunny weather, a Republican district where voters were enthusiastic about the presidential election, and ballot referendums that were drawing a lot of voters, he said.

Bartlett greeted voters as they approached the voting site.

One woman wished him luck in winning re-election.

“It’s a challenge this time, but we’ll see what happens,” Bartlett told her.

Many people at the polls this morning said it was local and statewide ballot questions — not the tight presidential race between Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney — that motivated them to vote.

Question 6, which asks voters whether they support a law allowing gay marriage, was a driving force for many of the voters to head to the polls.

Jennifer and Christian True of Frederick both support the law.

The pair also said they were in favor of the amendment for charter government in Frederick County.

“I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand, but I listened to a lot of it on the radio and read about it,” Christian said.

If voters choose to replace the current form of government, the charter would create a county executive, first elected in 2014, to oversee the offices and agencies that would make up the executive branch of the government. A seven-member county council would propose and pass laws and perform other legislative duties.

Robin Pitzer of Frederick said he votes in every election, but came today to vote against gay marriage and Question 7, which would expand gambling in the state and legalize table games.

Daniel Davis of Frederick said he wanted to cast his vote for Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and against gay marriage.

“I’m worried about the deficit in this country,” Pitzer said. “And also, Question 6, no to that.”

The Rev. Luke Robinson, a pastor at Quinn Chapel, AME, was at the polls to urge voters not to vote in favor of Question 6.

“I think we should not redefine marriage,” he said. “That’s between one man and one woman.”

Across the county at Walkersville Middle School Tuesday morning, long lines of voters were casting their ballots. A steady stream of cars moved through the parking lot, as voters filed into the school.

“It’s been good,” said Bernice Miller, a county election officer. “It’s busy now. We had a break, but it’s busy now.”

Miller said the only glitch during the early morning rush was a broken voting machine.

“It went to sleep,” she said.

As residents left the school, many said they came out to vote because they saw it as their civic duty.

“My daughter has been asking me ‘Are you going to vote, are you going to vote?,’ so I had to come out,” said Carrie Pollock of Walkersville.

Dorothy Loller of Walkersville said she couldn’t wait to cast her ballot.

“I just really wanted to vote,” she said.

Loller said she was impressed with how smoothly voting went.

“It was excellent,” she said. “They [election judges] are doing a good job. It was extremely organized. I knew what I wanted, and I didn’t have to stand in line too long.”

Randy Vaeth of Walkersville said he came out to cast his vote for Romney.

“I like his business experience,” he said. “And, the economy brought me out.”

Later in the day, Katherine McCann of Middletown was handing out fliers in support of Question 6 to voters heading inside the Cornerstone Fellowship election site in Frederick.

A member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, McCann said she and the other of members of the church’s Social and Environmental Justice Committee decided to go out and seek support for the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

She said the act would protect basic civil liberty, which should exist for gay marriage regardless of whether people feel it is moral or not

“This question is about the legality and equality of people,” she said.

McCann said she could not guess how people would vote on the issue in a conservative area like Frederick County. But she noted that voters had been polite to her all day as she handed out her fliers.

“You have to explain to people that this has nothing to do with church. It has to do with the law,” McCann said.

Joseph Mann of Frederick, who also voted at the Cornerstone Fellowship station, was also pleased to see Question 6 on the ballot in Maryland this year.

“I am glad they put the civil marriage on the ballot,” he said. “I feel that everybody should have that kind of ability.”

Polls remained open Tuesday across Frederick County until 8 p.m.

Staff writers Margarita Raycheva and Ryan Marshall contributed to this story.