Vot­ers find wait time short

Some prob­lems re­ported

Record Observer - - News - From STAFF RE­PORTS

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

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.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF QA SHER­IFF’S OF­FICE

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.

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