Steady morning voting at Baltimore County polls

Angela Sudano-Marcellino, of White Hall, 52, campaigns for Donald Trump and Del. Pat McDonough at the The Center for Maryland Agriculture/Farm Park on Shawan Road in Cockeysville on Election Day, Nov. 8.

By 11:36 a.m. on Election Day more than 350 voters had cast their ballots at the Center for Maryland Agriculture/Farm Park on Shawan Road in Cockeysville.

In southwestern Baltimore County, the pace was brisker. About 100 people were in line at Halethorpe Elementary before the polling station opened at 7 a.m. and 454 had voted by 11:09 a.m., according to one election judge.


An election judge in Cockeysville declined to comment on turnout, but Pat Foerster, 76, a volunteer for the coordinated Democratic campaign said the morning had been relatively slow. Between 10 a.m. and noon a steady stream of voters went in and out of the center, but no significant line formed.

Between the polls opening at 7 a.m. and 11:36 a.m. 167 Republicans, 128 Democrats and 53 unaffiliated voters had cast ballots, as well as two Libertarians and three classified as "other."


At the center many voters in the parking lot ran into acquaintances, sharing hugs and small talk. Yard signs for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. senatorial candidate Chris Van Hollen blanketed the entrance to the county's farm complex, accompanied by a "Pick UR Own Crops" sign.

Just before 10 a.m. a large, green John Deere tractor drove by the entrance, parallel to the long driveway connecting the voting center to Shawan Road, which is between two fields, one with goats grazing.

Foerster started campaigning for Van Hollen and Presidential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton around 7 a.m. that morning, and said she expected to stop volunteering at the location around noon.

She's out there supporting Democrats Clinton and Van Hollen for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the Hunt Valley resident said.

"It's very important to me that we remain a stable country that acts on facts and is willing to collaborate and work toward a consensus," the retired Baltimore County Public Schools teacher said.

As Foerster stood outside the polls greeting voters, a family of four with an infant and 6-year-old daughter walked out of the center. The father, David Vitberg, of Cockeysville, said he was surprised that the state is using paper ballots.

"It seems very slow and inefficient," Vitberg said. Though he wasn't delayed casting his own ballot, he said he imagined the system could cause delays later in the day when more voters come to the center after work.

Vitberg didn't have very much time to answer questions, he said, but it was important to him that he and his wife, Dori, took their children with them when they voted to encourage them to be good citizens. Daughter Talia, 6, said the experience was interesting.


Not long after, Andrew Levine, president of the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Humane Society, left the poll. Levine was wearing a navy T-shirt that listed three options; Republicans, Democrats, Dogs. The "Dogs" option had a check next to it. Dogs always have a positive outlook on life, he said.

Levine, 52, of Lutherville, said he is registered Republican, but believes party affiliation shouldn't matter — he would like to see people vote for the person they think will do the best job, he said. He voted for Trump. The big issues for him this election were concerns about tax increases and fighting between political parties.

"We need to shake the bad leaves out of the trees," he said. "[Trump] is the only one qualified to make a true change."

Campaigning for Trump that morning as well as Republican candidate for U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District, Del. Pat McDonough, who is running against Democrat incumbent, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, was Angela Sudano-Marcellino, of White Hall. She had been there since 9 a.m. She was wearing a red, white and blue hockey jersey with the name "Trump" on the back, signed by the candidate himself during his visit to Dundalk in September.

"For me, this election is really about making American great again," Sudano-Marcellino said, adding that she believes Trump will support the country's military veterans.

She said she was pleased with the turnout, and glad that people were coming out to vote, no matter which candidate they supported.


At Halethorpe Elementary School in southwestern Baltimore County, Chief Republican Judge Zach Nelson said there were no technical issues over the course of the morning.

During the 11 a.m. hour, voters said the wait was as short as 35 minutes and as long as 50, with the longest line being the one to place their completed ballot into the single scanner on site.

Melanie Hanson, a 63-year-old from Arbutus is a registered Republican who said she voted for Hillary Clinton. She said it was not was not the first time she voted outside the party.

"I couldn't believe what Trump was saying," she said. "I don't care for his character."

Chrissy Stafford, a 40-year-old school bus driver from Arbutus is a registered Republican who voted for Trump. She said he was the lesser of two evils, when it came to the major presidential candidates.

She said she was interested in having a businessman lead the country, though she admitted he was not good with foreign policy.


"His other people in office are going to help him get where he needs to be," she said. "He's not going to fix everything, but he's going to help."

Shannon Nickey, a 41-year-old bartender and student from Arbutus, came to the polls with her 11-year-old son, Parker. The registered Democrat voted for Clinton.

"I'm extremely anti-Trump," she said. "He's a sexist, he's a racist, he's a misogynist, he might be a sociopath."

Nickey said it was important for her to do her part to prevent a Trump victory.

"I think it would be the downfall of our country and I don't know what would happen in the next four years were he to be elected."

Polls are open until 8 p.m.