Voters find wait time short
Some problems reported
CENTREVILLE — Voters in Queen Anne’s County waited outside for the doors to open on election day at many election precincts. There were no big waiting lines afterward, but some people weren’t informed that they could vote electronically instead of by paper ballot.
And some of the walks into polling places seemed excessive, especially for elderly or people in wheelchairs, citizens said.
At Queen Anne’s County High School, 18 people were in line when the doors opened. Election officials at Centreville Elementary reported a sizable group that quickly dissipated after 10 minutes.
However, Church Hill Elementary School had 68 people waiting when the doors opened, indicating longer lines could be found on election day in areas of the county where early voting was not convenient. That location had 187 voters in the first 90 minutes it was open.
Several people said they didn’t like the paper ballots and they were not told using the touch-screen computer was an option.
Christy Beville of Centreville said, “I feel like were going backwards in the voting process using paper ballots again.” She brought her son, Mason, 9, a third-grader at Kennard Elementary School, to watch her cast her ballot.
Beville admitted, “I made a mistake marking the paper ballot, and what are we suppose to do when we do that? I guess we’re stuck with it on the paper.”
She mentioned it to the election official before placing her paper ballot into the scanner. She was not told she could have voided the ballot with the error and marked another. She also didn’t know about the touchscreen computer option.
She had said after voting, “It would be nice if we had a choice on using paper or using the computer for those of us who are computer savvy.”
At Church Hill Elementary School, Chief Judge Steve Winand said, “Using the optional touch-screen computer still produces, prints out, a paper ballot that the voter has to present to be scanned in. There must be a paper trail in case election results are contested and the ballots would have to be counted after the election by hand.”
One voter complained she could not see if the scanner if her ballot correctly. The election official told her, “the scanner records whatever is marked on your ballot.”
Some voters complained the walks into polling places seemed somewhat excessive, especially for elderly or people in wheelchairs. The walk from the parking lot at QACHS was almost the length of a football field to get to where the votes were cast inside the school’s gymnasium. The same was true at Church Hill Elementary School, and many voters in this election had been rerouted to vote there instead of Chestertown where they had previously voted. The Chestertown voters were unaware that they could have driven to the back door where the voting was done inside the school’s gymnasium instead of walking through the entire school to get there.
The Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department was mobbed with voters. During the first three hours, almost 450 people had voted, and when the doors were opened at 7 a.m., there were almost 50 people waiting to vote, said Nina Groves of Grasonville, an election judge.
Despite the high voter turnout, there were no lines after the doors were opened.
Dave Daugherty of Stevensville voted at the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department. He shared the pressing issue for him and the person he voted for.
“The pressing issue was honesty and security of this country. I voted for Trump. He’s the best candidate for the presidency. He’s the most qualified. He has the country in his heart. He’s considers the country over self gain. I believe Hillary is corrupt. I don’t think she is. I know she is,” Daugherty said.
At the Matapeake Elementary School, there was no waiting to vote. “We’ve had a steady flow of people coming in,” said Tony Hatcher, chief judge. “We had 55 people waiting when we opened at 7 a.m It doesn’t surprise me for a presidential election.”
Frankie Kratovil of Stevensville was a first time voter. He’s 18 years old. “I’m voting for Clinton ... I think it’s an important election.”
Also at Matapeake, Helen Bennett of Chester and Mike Ranelli of Stevensville were lobbying against Question A outside the building. They were next to the cone that marked the boundary for lobbying. They both talked to people heading into the building to vote.
Bennett said she convinced one voter to vote
against Question A, which proposes a change in the way county commissioners are elected. “The facts changed people’s minds,” she said.
“Things are fine,” said Dave Peterson, chief judge, at the Kent Island High School location. “We had about 70 people in line at 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. There’s never been a big waiting line.”
Some voters discussed the election at Grasonville Elementary School and Shore Fellowship Christian in Queenstown. But most people didn’t want to make a comment.
Grasonville Elementary School had no campaigners outside, just a bunch of signs.
Tom Walsh of Queenstown said he’s happy the election is over. “So happy this is over. I’ve been waiting for months for this.” He said he’s seen a lot of elections and that this one was ugly.
Alice Velthuis of Queenstown
said, “It’s been quite a journey. I’m well into the age category that would know”
Demetrio Beach of Grasonville said, “I’m just thankful and grateful it’s over and pray that we’ll move together, both parties, as we work to make America better.”
“I hope this election will indeed make America great again,” said Margaret McCabe of Grasonville
At Shore Christian Fellowship, a poll worker said there was a steady amount of people in the morning, but no problems. There was a line when doors opened.
Lane Cole of Queenstown said, “Glad it’s here. Glad it’s over with. Hope enough people vote Republican.”
“Hope Republicans win and protect our rights, change Maryland politics a little,” said David Smith of Queenstown. “I think we proved that when we elected Governor Hogan.”
Reporters Christopher Kersey, Doug Bishop and Mike Davis contributed to this story.
Election polling locations opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. An election judge at Shore Christian Fellowship said a steady flow of people had come through to vote in the morning.
Centreville Elementary School Election Judge Paula Wolflin, left, with Kennard Elementary third-grader Mason Beville, 9, and his mother, Christy Beville, as she prepared to mark her paper ballot Tuesday morning, Nov. 8.
Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann, back, visits with a group of American Heritage Girls encouraging and thanking voters on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, outside Centreville Elementary School. From left are Maggie, Emery, Eden, Sophia, Kennedy and Giada. Troop MD 0414 is led by Erin Zimmerman.