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Early voters happy polls stayed open late

Whether it was the presidential election or the referendum questions, hundreds of people lined up at the Westminster Senior and Community Center Friday to participate in the last day of early voting before the Nov. 6 election.

Gov. Martin O'Malley signed two executive orders which canceled early voting on Monday and Tuesday as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Once the storm was finished, O'Malley signed another executive order that extended the hours and added a day to early voting.

By 9 p.m. Friday, 10,542 people voted early in Carroll County, according to Gail Carter, director of the Carroll County Board of Elections.

Having early voting open two days worth of extra time was a big help to Sharon Graham.

Graham, of Keymar, said she was asked by her boss to do work out-of-town on Election Day, and it was too late to fill out an absentee ballot.

"When my boss called, I panicked and thought that I would not be able to vote for the first time since I was eligible to vote," Graham said. "I didn't want to miss my chance to vote."

Luckily, early voting was extended and she was able to make it to the polls. Graham said she was thankful that the governor extended the early voting time.

Though she has always voted on Election Day, Brenda Wilson, of Westminster, said she wanted to check out the early voting option. While voters had to wait up to 30 minutes to vote early on Friday, Wilson said she didn't mind it. No matter how much time it took standing in line, Wilson said she was going to vote.

"I'll wait all day, it doesn't mater," Wilson said. "I vote every election."

For Wilson, the big topics this election were the same-sex marriage and expanded gambling referendum questions, she said. Wilson said she supports same-sex marriage and wants equality for everyone.

By giving support to expanded gambling people are voting in favor of allowing a new casino to be built in Prince George's County as well as table games such as poker and roulette at gambling halls. By allowing voters to choose if gambling should be expanded, Wilson said they have the option to keep money and jobs in Maryland.

"I think all of us as citizens, we need to keep our money here in the state of Maryland," Wilson said.

Expanded gambling was a big reason Cody Cashman, of New Windsor, voted early on Friday. Cashman said that Maryland residents probably won't have the chance to expand gambling again for the next 50 years, so it's important that people go out and support it.

"We need to keep Maryland money in Maryland," Cashman said. "Regardless if it goes to education or not, it goes to the state of Maryland, and that's important."

Aside from expanded gambling, Cashman said it was important to him to cast his vote for Gov. Mitt Romney for president. Ultimately, Cashman said, President Barack Obama will win the state, but it's still important for people to vote for their candidate.

"I believe that if you don't vote, you can't complain," Cashman said, then laughed. "That's why I stood in line for 30 minutes to vote, so that I could complain."

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