For the first time in its history, Cecil County will have a county executive and, based on unofficial partial election returns from Tuesday, Republican Tari Moore will be the first to hold that office.

With 20 of 23 precincts reporting, Moore led Democrat Pamela R. Howard by more than 2,000 votes, receiving 53 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Howard.

County elections officials said 40,311 of the county's 62,522 eligible voters, 64 percent, cast votes either Tuesday or during last week's early voting. Absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted.

In addition to electing Moore as the county govenment's first chief executive, Cecil voters also strongly rejected statewide ballot questions on the Maryland Dream Act, same-sex marriage and expanded gambling, even though all three passed statewide.

"Like" exploreharford's Facebook page

Republicans ruled up and down the ballot in Cecil, much as they did in 2010 when the GOP swept every local office.

In the race for Congress in the First District, Cecil County overwhelmingly voted for Republican incumbent Congressman Andy Harris, giving him 62 percent of the vote, nearly 12,000 ahead of Democrat Wendy Rosen, who dropped out of the race in September after being found to have voted in Florida as well as Maryland in 2006 and 2008. Rosen, whose name stayed on the ballot, still received 31 percent of the Cecil vote, as a an effort by Democrats to back write-in alternatives fizzled.

Libertarian candidate Muir Wayne Boda got about 3 percent of Cecil's votes. Write-in candidates received 4 percent.

Cecil voters also elected their first members of a new county council Tuesday.

In County Council District 1, Republican Alan McCarthy took 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Democrat Pamela H. Bailey.

In District 5, Republican Robert Hodge defeated Democrat James Crouse, 55 to 45 percent.

In Board of Education races, William C. Manlove easily won the District 1 seat, while Lauren C. Camphousen won the District 2 seat.

In the race for President, Republican challenger Mitt Romney received 61 percent of the Cecil vote to 39 percent for President Barack Obama. Despite the lopsided local numbers for Romney, Obama easily carried Maryland and won nationwide.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino also carried in Cecil but lost statewide to incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin.

Question 4, known as Maryland's "Dream Act," gives undocumented immigrants in-state tuition at Maryland's colleges and universities. Cecil County voters rejected the proposed law, 57 percent to 43 percent, but the question passed easily statewide.

Civil marriage for same-sex couples, Question 6, also lost in Cecil by a 56 to 44 percent margin. It too passed statewide.

One of the more hotly contested ballot questions was Question 7, which proposed to expand gambling in Maryland. Despite being home to Perryville's Hollywood Casino, the question was rejected by Cecil voters by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent. Question 7 passed statewide by a 52 to 48 percent margin.

At the polls on the western side of the county Tuesday morning, elections officials and voters alike said the turnout was fairly heavy, with lines of voters waiting at some polling places when they opened at 7 a.m.

"Between 7 and 7:55 [a.m.], we had 148 people who had voted," said Sabrina Scholl, chief election judge at Bainbridge Elementary School in Port Deposit.

"As of 9, we had 300 people. It has to be a record," Scholl said.

Scholl said that during other elections, there would usually be five or 10 people waiting at the polls before they open. On Tuesday, it was different.