Election Day: Voting Lines Around South County
We are checking in with voters around South County on Election Day. One thing is certain, if you plan to vote, give yourself plenty of time. There are lines, with some waiting as long as two hours to cast the ballot. Part of it is turnout, the other part is a lengthy ballot, which, with review, takes a couple of minutes to complete.
One voter we met Wednesday afternoon said that that he got up to vote early and arrived at his polling site of Central Middle School at 6:45 a.m. He said he was certain he’d be the first in at 7 a.m. When he got there, there were four other people ahead of him. That said, they got him in and out quickly.
3:15 p.m. At Shady Side Elementary, voters waited about 30 minutes to cast their ballots. At noon, Shady Side had already seen more than 930 voters of about 1,800 eligible to vote at the precinct. Of those, 426 were Democrats, 329 were Republicans and the remainder were other parties or no affiliation (independents). The wait has been a steady half-hour throughout the day, although the parking lot overflowed with cars. Many parked on Snug Harbor Road or Atwell Road while others made their own makeshift parking spaces in the parking lot.
3 p.m. Deale Elementary School had a 20-minute wait, luckily the line was indoors. Some voters in line said that it is the longest wait they have seen since voting in 1976. The line moved quickly though. Earlier in the day, Deale had voters waiting 45 minutes to cast their ballots.
2:45 p.m. Lothian Elementary had no line. Voters were coming in and out of the building at a steady pace. The long ballot has made voting take longer this year. For voters who weren’t prepared, reading the ballot and deciding on the ballot and charter questions could leave a voter at their voting station in excess of five minutes.
2:30 p.m. Thing were pretty quiet at Southern Middle School in Lothian. A full parking lot, but no lines out of the building. Voters said that the wait was an hour.
1:45 p.m. Tracey’s Elementary line was moving along when we arrived. There was about a half-hour wait. Election judge Paula Davis was helping elderly and handicapped voters by providing chairs for them to sit until their place in line came up. Outside, U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D) stopped by for an appearance. He shook hands with constituents and talked to voters. He was slated to go into the school and talk with poll workers and election judges. After that, his aides said that he was headed to Crofton.
1 p.m. Mayo Elementary in Edgewater was busy in the morning, but the lunch crowd had thinned out by the time we arrived a little after 1 o’clock. There was a small line, about 15 people, waiting outside of the cafeteria where voting was taking place. Outdoors, we found Paul Carlo waving “Bongino for Senate” and “Romney for President” signs. Carlo said he set up around noon and he would stay for a little while. He wants to show his support for his candidates. Carlo said that a lot of women were honking in support of the two GOP challengers.
12:15 p.m.‘I’ve been voting here for years and I’ve never seen it like this,” Cindy D. of Harwood said of her polling place at Central Middle School in Edgewater.
At lunchtime, the line snaked out the doors of Central Middle gymnasium—where the voting takes place—and wrapped around the restrooms and the locker bank to the set of staircases in the front of the building. From the stairs there, the wait was about 45 minutes.
11:45 a.m. At South River High School, the wait was estimated to be about two hours. One woman we spoke to, Chantal Snavely of Edgewater said that she will vote today despite having a 3 p.m. dental appointment. She has been voting at the high school for many years, she said, and the line has never been this long—even in 2008. Snavely should know, she has lived in Edgewater since 1959.
9:50 a.m. Edgewater Elementary School had a line inside of the building, but it wasn’t terribly long. The line to buy Girl Scout Cookies outside seemed to rival any line indoors.
9:30 a.m. Edgewater Library had a little line forming—nothing like the lines we saw there during early voting.
9:30 a.m. South County Senior Center had a little line forming—nothing like the lines we saw next door at the library during early voting.