Voters at Medfield Heights Elementary School in northern Baltimore talk about the issues important to them in the election, why it's important to vote and how they believe every vote counts. (Jon Sham/BSMG)

Vote totals hung on a board above the voting machines at Medfield Heights Elementary School on Tuesday morning.

And the winner by a landslide was ... fajita chicken.

Fajita chicken garnered 184 votes, compared to 12 votes for turkey and cheese sandwiches, seven votes for pineapple, three for rice and two for corn.

The food vote, presumably for a school project, was a mystery even to parents waiting on a long line to vote in the general election while their young children, preschool students at Medfield Heights, played among themselves. And since public schools were closed on Election Day, there was no one to ask.


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"I don't know what they were voting on," said Kerry Ford Morancy, mother of Eli, 4.

The vote totals provided a bit of comic relief for a serious presidential election that drew crowds larger than in 2008 to Medfield Heights Elementary, according to longtime Republican chief judge Tom Kerr, of Medfield.

"This is the slowest it's been," Kerr, 69, an election judge for 22 years, said as he surveyed a line of 10 people waiting to vote at 10 a.m. "We had 50 people (waiting) before we opened."

"You have the seniors who are retired voting now," Kerr said. And he was expecting another wave at 3 p.m., when people started getting off work.

Voters across Maryland reported record long lines and waits of up to two hours Tuesday, and state elections officials predicted an 80 percent turnout rate among registered voters, consistent with past presidential elections, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Kerr agreed with most pollsters, who predicted a razor-thin race between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney — especially in a precinct of predominantly Democratic Baltimore City that Kerr said is friendly to Republicans.

"You know it's going to be close (with) all these people" waiting in line, he said.

The line at Medfield Heights paled in comparison to a line of at least 100 people that stretched from the front door up two flights of stairs at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church in Mount Washington.

"I think It's good," said Mount Washingtonian Paul Cudone, 56, wine manager for The Wine Source store in Hampden, who was the last in line at 11:09 a.m.

In the parking lot outside, political science students from Goucher College in Towson handed out exit poll surveys for a class project. The precinct skews heavily Democratic, but, "This is where we got permission to take the poll," said student Emma George, 20, a Goucher sophomore.

They also conducted exit polling at Barclay Elementary/Middle School in Charles Village. Goucher classmate Sam Rapine said he was surprised to see a fair number of Republicans turn out there.

Throughout north Baltimore, "you've got a big turnout today," said William O'Donnell, a Northern District police officer who was going around to polls in the area to make sure everything was all right. The longtime community liaison officer said turnout struck him as exceeding 2008. "I've never seen it like this," he said. "Of course, the weather cooperated."

O'Donnell was leaving Govans Manor on York Road, which has about 1,700 registered voters but in years past has under-performed, according to election judges there.

About 350 people had voted at Govans Manor by 11:30 a.m.

"In 2008, this is what we had at the end of the night," said voting technician Gaye Burrell, of Northwood.

"They're coming," said Democratic chief judge Natalie North.