Election Day advice: ‘Be patient’ at polls -- Gazette.Net


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Early voting has been going on for a week, interrupted for two days by Hurricane Sandy, but traditional Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, and will bring to end the long-running campaign season.

The polls at the county’s 31 precincts open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Early voting ends today, Friday at 9 p.m. at the Potomac Building at the governmental center in Leonardtown.

St. Mary’s County voters are making their choices for selections for president of the United States, along with a U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seat. They will settle a contest for judge of the St. Mary’s County Circuit Court and three school board races. They are also weighing in on statewide ballot questions.

Hurricane Sandy caused the governor to cancel early voting on Monday and Tuesday, but over the weekend and by the end of Wednesday, 3,670 St. Mary’s voters cast their electronic ballots. That is 5.74 percent of the 63,928 registered voters. In Maryland, 6.11 percent of voters came out during those three days.

The political turnout was fairly even in St. Mary’s in early voting with 1,539 Democrats and 1,612 Republicans. There also were 495 independent early voters.

As of Thursday morning, some 300 more voters had come through at the early voting location at the Potomac Building, said Wendy Adkins, supervisor of the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections. “We’ve had a line all morning,” she said.

“This is just a preview of what Election Day will be like,” she said. “Expect long lines and be patient.”

Those planning to vote on Nov. 6 may call the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections at 301-475-7844, ext. 1100, if they are unsure if they are registered to vote or to make sure their address is updated so they vote at the right polling place.

If someone arrives at the wrong polling place, they will either be directed to the right one or the voter can fill out a provisional ballot.

Maryland law does not require proof of identification. A voter must provide their name, date of birth and address.

Republican Mitt Romney is challenging President Barack Obama for president. In the last presidential election on Nov. 4, 2008, voter turnout in St. Mary’s was 77 percent, the highest since the presidential election of 1992. The county went for Republican John McCain over Obama.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D) is being challenged by Republican Daniel John Bongino, Libertarian Dean Ahmad and independent Rob Sobhani.

Del. Tony O’Donnell (R-Calvert, St. Mary’s) is challenging Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th). Hoyer has been in Congress since 1981 and O’Donnell has been in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1995. Libertarian candidate Arvin Vohra and Green Party candidate Bob Auerbach are also in the race.

There are two candidates for the St. Mary’s County Circuit Court. David W. Densford who was appointed judge by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), and Joseph M. Stanalonis, a prosecutor with the county’s state’s attorney’s office. Both candidates are registered Democrats, but the ballot does not list party affiliation.

St. Mary’s County Board of Education incumbents Marilyn Crosby, Cathy Allen and Mary Washington are being challenged by James Tomasic, Jim Davis and Joel Rose.

Crosby was first elected in 2008, Allen in 2000 and Washington in 1996.

Voters will have their say on the expansion of gambling in the state, the approval of same-sex marriage, allowing in-state tuition at community college for some undocumented immigrants, a new Congressional district map and the removal of elected officials charged with certain crimes.

jbabcock@somdnews.com