As voting at Carroll County precincts picked up throughout the afternoon and early evening, the opinions of voters remained a steady Republican red with conservative issues dominating the votes of those who were willing to talk about their trip the ballot box.

Amy Kipe said taxes were the biggest issue on her mind when she cast her vote at North Carroll Middle school shortly after 5 p.m.


"I am ready for a change," she said. "We're a Republican county and I am hoping we can become a Republican state, a little more conservative."

Throughout the day, voters specifically mentioned the increasing taxes of the O'Malley-Brown administration that made them want to vote Republican Larry Hogan into the Governor's mansion.

"It's getting harder and harder to live here as a family," Eldersburg resident Dianna Arnold said at Carrolltowne Elementary School Tuesday afternoon.

"I just keep hearing people say more and more how hard it is. We're just getting charged more and more for everything.

Dolores Matty said she felt that change would mostly likely come from the governor's race after voting at Manchester Valley.

"I hope Hogan wins. I think Maryland needs a change," she said. "Hogan seems like he is for the middle class. I think Brown will get rid of the middle class."

The Republican-leaning sentiment even crossed party lines, for some. Ed Wrobleski walked out of Manchester Valley talking to a band of fellow voters about the importance of the governor's race and seemed more than a little energized about the election.

"Here's the thing: I am a Democrat, but I didn't vote for even one Democrat," he said. "With all the problems we have in this country, I will never vote for another Democrat in my life."

Peggy Ridely, of Westminster, said she came out specifically to vote in the governor's race and support Hogan.

"I'm tired of the O'Malley administration, and I think Brown is going to be a continuance, so I think it's time for a change," Ridely said.

Darryl Varnum said his support of Hogan goes beyond his contrast to O'Malley.

"I'm excited about Hogan because he was a small business guy," Varnum said. "O'Malley has been in office for quite a long time, and it was my opinion that we needed a change."

Eugene and Yvonne Vaughn, of Taneytown, said since they are retired and have a fixed income, taxes take a heavy toll.

Michael S. Almony, another Taneytown resident, said three-fourths of his friends have moved out of the state due to being overtaxed.


"Taxes here are horrible and I'm hoping our new elected officials can make something happen to change that," Almony said.

Not all voters were solely concerned with the gubernatorial race. At Francis Scott Key High School, recent FSK graduate Ryan Warren said he was most concerned with the Carroll County board of education race.

"I'm against Common Core," Warren said. "All the extra steps during tests are unnecessary."

For many of the voters at Winfield Elementary Tuesday afternoon, especially those with children in the school system, the Carroll County Board of Education race was top on their priority list.

Heather Kuykendall, of Taylorsville, said she hopes the election will bring board of education candidates who are willing to ensure teachers receive adequate pay.

The starting salary for teachers in Carroll county is below other Maryland counties and teachers have not received a step increase in four of the last five years. Although, through negotiations in the current three-year contract, which ends next school year, teachers received bonuses and cost of living increases.

"We have good teachers in this county and to keep them from going across the county line we have to give them better pay," Kuykendall said.

Kuykendall, who has children in both middle and high school, said she also supports incumbent board of education candidate Virginia Harrison on her stance on Common Core, a controversial set of standards in mathematics and English language arts.

"Common Core was implemented too quickly," Kuykendall said agreeing with Harrison. "But I believe or teachers are well trained to handle it."

Overall, Kuykendall said she does not believe there is anything wrong with Common Core other than it being an unfamiliar learning strategy for most parents.

"Parents aren't able to help their kids anymore with their homework, but that doesn't mean the child won't get it," she said.

However, Brian Chapline, of New Windsor, said Common Core was "forced down our throats."

For Chapline, whose adopted son from Ethiopia needs additional learning support, Common Core is not the best method of teaching.

"Common Core is more complicated than the old school way and for our kids, it's harder for him to learn the information," he said.

Chapline said his older son, a senior, even has difficulty helping their youngest with homework.

Chapline believes there is value to a simplistic approach to learning.

Arnold also said she made sure to vote for the Board of Education positions as well, even though her three children attend private school.

"I don't like the whole Common Core [idea]," she said.

Arnold's friends, who are public school teachers have told her about their dislike of the state standards, she said.

Another voter at FSK, Robert Harrison, said that a Democrat in Carroll County there wasn't much he could affect in a Republican-dominated jurisdiction but he considers it his obligation to vote.

"I couldn't get excited about any local representatives so I focused on state races," the Westminster resident said.

He said he voted Anthony Brown for governor because he wanted to see a continuation of office.

Harrison also said one important issue he focused on was taxes.

"I'm not an anti-tax individual and I didn't buy into the rhetoric [of lowering taxes]," he said.

At the Tech Center, Ed Merryman, of Westminster, brought his son Owen, 5, to see the electoral process in action.

"I feel like it's our duty to vote. I think our country is special, and it's quite a privilege to be able to vote," Merryman said. "People died for that privilege and it's easy to lose sight of that when you're sitting around comfortable. The truth is our freedom has been bought with a dear price. We want to give a good example for the next generation."

As David Rampolla cast his vote, he said he thought about what an honor it was to be a part of the system.

"It's our God-given right to vote," Rampolla said. "It is so important to use the voice we have to make a change in our government if we so choose."

Monica Schwartz, of Eldersburg, said she didn't feel like she did as much research as she would like before voting, but she listened to radio interviews with the gubernatorial candidates and decided which one matched her views.

In other races, Schwartz said what research she was able to do showed her that her party affiliation lined up with the candidates she agreed with.

"It doesn't always [match] but it did this time," she said.


Many voters also said they came to the polls not because of a specific race or issue but because they have a responsibility to vote.

"I think elections are always important," said Alan Hendrix of Eldersburg. "You can't complain if you don't vote, although my wife doesn't vote and she complains all the time."

The polls will remain open until 8 p.m., and any voters in line by that time will have a chance to cast their ballot. To find your polling place, visit the the Carroll County Times special election section map or the Carroll County Board of Elections website at