Voters trickle in for primary -- Gazette.Net


By late morning, Takoma Park Middle School had two “major” voting waves: a line of three people at 7 a.m. and a line of five people at 10 a.m.

“Those were the waves,” said Dianne Cherry, one of the chief election judges at the precinct.

Gubernatorial primaries have not been known to fetch large numbers of registered voters. But by most accounts, Tuesday’s turnout was slow even for a gubernatorial primary, according to the election judges interviewed Tuesday afternoon.

Many blamed the early June date for the low numbers.

“People are on vacation. School just got out. People just aren’t around,” said Robert Romano, chief judge at Summit Hall Elementary School in Gaithersburg. Six people had cast votes in the hour after the polls opened at 7 a.m, Romano said.

By 10 a.m., 74 ballots were cast at Wootton High School in Rockville, according to unofficial results reported at the precinct. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and would remain open until 8 p.m.

By noon, there was “a slow, but steady trickle” of voters, according to chief election judges Carol Millman and Mary Grace Sabol. Victoria Williamson, 71, arrived at Wootton just after lunch.

“When I saw the parking lot was full of cars I was excited,” Williamson said. “But then I quickly figured out it was summer school.”

Williamson said she voted for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for governor.

Mary Bell of Gaithersburg said she voted for Brown, whom she described as “a progressive person.” Gov. Martin O’Malley has done a good job in office, she said, and she thinks Brown, would do the same.

Bell’s vote for county executive went to Councilman Philip A. Andrews, who faces Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and former county executive Doug Duncan.

“I think Leggett has done a fine job, … but Andrews, he’s been there through everything on the County Council for a long time,” Bell said.

Deborah Peeples, 62, who lives in the Gaithersburg-Rockville area, said she backed Del. Heather Mizeur for the Democratic bid for governor.

“I feel like the county is failing and needs new leadership, someone who will represent other minorities,” Peeples said. “Anthony Brown, he’s OK. I’m definitely not a Gansler supporter.”

Demographically, Montgomery County’s politics are powered by Democrats — something Tony Dedmond said he would like to see change. Dedmond is a 63-year-old Republican who cast his primary ballot at Summit Hall Elementary School in Gaithersburg early Tuesday.

“I’m not sure we’ll be able to change much, but I’m looking for a balance of power,” Dedmond said.

His wife, Rhonda Dedmond, a Democrat, left the polls moments later. An educator, Rhonda Dedmond, 60, said she was most interested in the race for school board, which she described as “a bit of a mess.”

The Dedmonds declined to say whom they voted for. Education, lowering taxes and improving the local economy were the issues they said mattered most.

In Bethesda, Susie Krasnican handed out pamphlets for Bennett Rushkoff, a Democratic challenger for Maryland’s 15th legislative district. She said she’s supporting Doug Duncan for county executive, out of concern that Wheaton was being overlooked when it came to community-focused development, especially in downtown Wheaton — an arts district she said was missing art venues.

“We all go to Silver Spring anytime you want to do anything,” Krasnican said. “It’s a missed opportunity.”

There are more than 630,000 registered voters in Montgomery County, according to figures from Maryland Board of Elections. Maryland’s primary elections are closed — something Daniel Bloom, a registered Independent, said he didn’t realize until after he arrived at his polling place to vote. Bloom said given the opportunity, he said he would have voted for Doug Duncan for county executive.

“I’m really disappointed because I wanted some people out of office,” said Bloom, 30, of Takoma Park.

Despite the anecdotal observations, Nancy Dacek, a member of Montgomery County’s Board of Elections, said the turnout was on par with prior gubernatorial primaries.

“There are so many opportunities to vote — early voting, absentee ballots — all of which are supposed to cut down having to wait in lines,” Dacek said.

Staff writer Lindsay A. Powers contributed to this report.