Polls closed throughout Maryland at 8 p.m., but Carroll County Board of Elections director Katherine Berry said anyone in line by 8 p.m. was still able to vote. Unofficial results released at 11:06 p.m. showed 67,350 ballots cast in Carroll County on Election Day.
Hampstead Elementary School, 8 p.m.
The polling place at Hampstead Elementary had seen a steady flow of voters all day, so it was no surprise to Chief election Judge Alex Unglesbee that last-minute surge had accumulated at 7:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the polls closed Tuesday night.
"At points there were lines, but no more than 10 minutes long, tops," he said. "We've had a continuous flow here, which is good."
At 7:45 p.m., poll workers began to keep an eye on the clock in order to ensure the doors were locked right at 8 p.m. Anyone in line at that time, of course, would be allowed to vote, but only a handful of voters trickled over the last quarter-hour – which is not to make light of the overall turnout.
"We've had almost 2,600 voters," Unglesbee said. "Our precinct holds about 4,800 but 1,000 of those turned out for early voting, so quite a large turnout."
One of the very last voters to cast a ballot at the poll was 37-year-old Nicole Todd, of Hampstead, who said she knew she was cutting it close but really wanted to come out.
"I wanted to vote for Donald Trump because I was really feeling very strongly about that," she said. "I just think that Hillary would just be a very bad choice for our country. I just feel she is a dishonest criminal."
At exactly 8 p.m., the call went out: "Lock the doors." Volunteers began rapidly collapsing the voter tables and privacy screens, while election workers began breaking down their stations and preparing to count and report.
Overall, according to Unglesbee, a veteran of the 2012 election, it was a good Election Day.
"It definitely seems like one of the larger turnouts, for sure. A lot busier than 2012," he said. "People have been very courteous, polite; smooth would probably be the word I would use. It's been a very good day."
Westminster polling sites, 7 p.m.
According to Carroll Lutheran Village chief judge Janet Mary Kelly, the precinct had 830 registered voters. 130 voted early and 475 had voted as of 5:10 p.m.
"We never had any issues," Kelly said. "We have a great crew and everything went very well."
According to Westminster Elementary chief judge Herb Eyler, the precinct had 5700 registered voters. 1200 voted early and 2625 had voted as of 6:15 p.m.
"We had a crowd lined up around 6:30 a.m.," Eyler said. "After 12:30, we had a slow period for a couple of hours and then we were bombarded."
Electioneers remained outside Westminster Elementary despite the low traffic.
Tom Gordon III, of Westminster, waved a sign for Carroll County Board of Education candidate Marsha Herbert. He also said he's supporting Carroll County Board of Education candidate Donna Sivigny.
"The BOE is a very important component of what goes on in our county," Gordon said. "It's not only important for education but also the taxpayers and property owners."
Gwon and Al Starlings, of Westminster, waved signs for their friend Donna Sivigny.
"Her kids are in this educational system so she's aware of what's going on," Gwon said.
"She's an actuary so I trust her numbers and her expertise," Starlings added. "She's a good person and she has good ethics."
Rachel Passerin, Carroll County's volunteer director of the Johnson campaign, waved a sign because she wanted voters to know "there is a third choice."
"I'm a huge Johnson supporter," Passerin said. "This election is a huge chance for the Libertarian party to get some traction. With enough of a vote this could make them a real party, not just a third party."
Manchester Valley High School, 6 p.m.
The crowds at Manchester Valley High School on Tuesday were so large that election officials had to bring in another scanner to help alleviate the lines.
The addition of the third scanner did help clear up some of the wait, but the Election Day turnout was enormous, said election judge Gail Riley.
"They've been lined up all the way through the parking lot," Riley said at about 5 p.m. as a line began to form out the door of the polling site. "This is just the heaviest I've seen."
The precinct, she said, is not the largest in the county, but it is filled with residents who are involved in their community and government, Riley said.
"Our people, this precinct, they vote," she said.
Manchester resident Dane Menges, was one of those residents Tuesday.
"I love voting," Menges said.
He said the 2016 election has brought out the worst in people.
"This one's been one of the most venomous, I think," Menges said.
Old New Windsor School, 5:30
Young voters and future voters stood in a short line at the Old New Windsor School Community Room Tuesday evening. Anna Brey, 19, was one of the people voting for the first time.
"I just wanted to vote. If you don't vote, you can't contribute to the conversations or arguments," said Brey, of New Windsor, adding, "I'm voting for the right to have a gun."
According to chief judge Pam Grimes, 1,353 of 2,858 voters in the precinct had cast their ballot by 5:29 p.m. -- 454 people voted early or as an absentee.
Tisha Hebron, of New Windsor, brought her son Drake, 11, with her to the poll.
"It's important to take your children to see you vote so they know it's their responsibility and their right to do it," Hebron said. "Being African-American, it's important because so many people fought to have that freedom. It's important that we use our right to vote since so many people fought for so long."
Julie Zepp, of New Windsor, stood in line with her daughter Caitie Starkweather, 19. Starkweather was voting for the first time.
"I wanted to come with her because she didn't know what to do," Zepp said.
"I feel like our generation is really influential to the future. It's important to cast your vote," Starkweather added. "My focus in on the president because although the Congress plays a big part, the president represents who we are as a nation."
Rachael Baldwin, 11, said she stood in line because she wanted to see her mom Michelle Baldwin vote.
"I was interested in what you do and how she votes," Baldwin, of New Windsor, said. "I wanted to understand what it's like."
Colin Delaney, 6, said he wanted to see if his parents voted for the same person. His mother Elizabeth Delaney said Colin wouldn't be able to watch both of them vote.
"He was excited to see who we voted for but he's sad he can't see it," said Delaney, of New Windsor.
Lisa Wood, of New Windsor, brought her daughter Georgia, 8, to the poll.
"I think it's important for her to see because we have a right not everybody has, and I want her to appreciate it."
- Michel Elben
South Carroll High School, 4:30 p.m.
By 4 p.m., the precinct stationed in South Carroll High School's gym had seen 2,338 voters -- and more were expected.
Early voting brought 1,136. The precinct has 5,992 possible voters, Bobbi Savaliski, who was working the polls, said. There definitely appears to be more people than in previous years, she added.
Overall, they hadn't seen any issues throughout the day, Savaliski, of Sykesville, said. And at most, people were waiting 30 minutes.
Steve Novak, 50, of Sykesville was, one of those people who came out Wednesday to vote. Novak was voting for Hillary Clinton, he said.
"It [would be] good to see a female president," he said.
Novak said he has two daughters, and Clinton is someone who cares about their future. While he thought the presidential election was important, he hadn't paid as much attention to the local elections.
Even still, Board of Education candidates, and their supporters, were out electioneering throughout the day.
Julie Kingsley, a Mount Airy resident and Howard County School System teacher, was out at South Carroll High School Tuesday afternoon. So far, Kingsley said, she'd gotten good feedback.
Kingsley is one of four candidates running for two open seats on the nonpartisan Carroll County Board of Education. The other three are retired Carroll County teacher Marsha Herbert, of Westminster; former Carroll County schools instructional assistant Mary Kowalski, of Westminster; and actuary Donna Sivigny, of Finksburg.
She said she'd been out since before the polls opened, and had been around the county all day. And while most people had made up their minds, she said, some were still open to hearing candidates' pitches.
- Emily Chappell
North Carroll Middle School, 4:20 p.m.
Voters at North Carroll Middle School were anxious to cast their ballot for presidential candidate Donald Trump Tuesday afternoon.
The parking lot at the Manchester school grew busier as the clock struck 4 o'clock, but election judge Andrew DeMario said the flow of voters had been steady all day.
"Normally, this time of day, we're standing around and doing nothing," said DeMario, a 16-year veteran of election work. "It's really good."
"The rest of the day has been a constant in and out in and out," he said.
Hampstead residents Ellie Garner, 23, and Brendon Blanchette, 25, both Republicans, said they were happy to cap a wild election with a vote for Trump.
"I just think it was more of a circus show than an election," Blanchette said.
For him, Trump provided the best hope for the country's future.
"I just think he's more of a blue collar guy," Blanchettte said. "I think he says what he feels."
Garner said her decision involved more looking at Trump's opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"I just don't like Hillary," Garner said, adding that Clinton "should be in prison."
Both predicted that Clinton will ultimately finish the night with a win.
"I'm just hoping if she gets in maybe she's impeached," Blanchette said.
- Heather Norris
Piney Ridge Elementary, 3:45 p.m.
- Heather Mongilio
Spring Garden Elementary, 3:20 p.m.
- Heather Norris
Robert Moton Elementary School, 3 p.m.
At Robert Moton Elementary School, the polls for precincts 7-8 were set up in the school gymnasium.
"So far everything has gone pretty good, we've just had a few spurts here and there," said Chief Election Judge Charlene Dorsey, noting about 560 people had cast ballots as of 2 p.m.
"They have been very nice, we have had no problems," she said. "No one has been yelling or anything like that. People have just come in, they have voted, they have said a few words to us -- 'How are you doing, thank you very much for coming out and doing this today -- and they've left."
Debbie Zeitler, 53, of Westminster, was one of those efficient and polite voters. She had one mission: to cast a ballot toward Trump's election as president.
"I have been for Trump all along. I think we need a change. He's a little scary maybe, but I think he'll do OK," Zeitler said. "Hillary, I just think she hasn't done anything. She's been in the eye for 30 years and nothing's changed. I'm just looking for a change, hopefully for the better."
That's a sentiment Zeitler shares with Angela Burns, 49, from New Windsor, who was also focused on the presidential election, and making sure Trump finds his way to the Oval Office.
"I like his policies and I am looking forward to a change in healthcare -- I want it to go back the way it was," she said. "I need Obamacare gone, because it costs too much. I want Hillary to go to jail."
For Stacey Widener, 46, of Westminster, it was a little more complicated. Also focused on the presidency, she said Trump would not have been her first choice, but, "given the option, I surely wasn't going for her, so it's him. Even though there were other options, in reality, it's him or her."
By "other options," Widener meant third party candidates Gary Johnson, for the Libertarians, and Jill Stein, for the Greens.
"It's nice they are there, but they have no chance," Widener said. "It has to be him or her and for me it can't be her, so it's him."
Sandymount Elementary School, 3 p.m.
Gene Leppo, who was working at the Sandymount Elementary School polling place, said they’d been “extremely busy” all day. By 11 a.m., he said, 1,121 people had voted. By about 2:30 p.m., that number had gone up to 1,936.
Stephen Alexander, 25, of Finksburg, said while waiting in line he wasn’t happy with either of the presidental candidates. He thought he’d probably vote for a third-party candiate like Gary Johnson, he added.
- Emily Chappell
Career and Technology Center, 2 p.m.
Voting at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, the polling place for precincts 7-6, was mostly a steady trickle, according to Chief Election Judge Kristen McMasters. Complete lulls were rare, but neither was there much of a line.
"We are really lucky to have 26 percent vote in the early voting, so that took a little bit of the load off of us," she said in an interview around 2 p.m. Tuesday. "We have had 637 voters already today and we consider that a great turnout."
The overall tenor of the day had been civil and upbeat, McMasters said, with people finding the voting process easy and no signs of interference or other malfeasance, despite the topic coming up in national discussions leading up to the election.
"There's been no security concerns and we really feel like things are going very smoothly," she said. "Everything was planned out well and everybody is really glad to be voting."
One of those voters was 66-year-old Sandy Van Doren, of Westminster, who is retired from the Carroll County Public School system. While she did not wish to share who she voted for in the Board of Education races, Van Doren said school crowding was an important issue for her.
It was the presidential race, however, that was the big issue for Van Doren. She's supporting Hillary Clinton.
"I had some problems with both candidates, but if there is a dishonest president, I prefer that over what I consider to be an unstable president of the United States," Van Doren. "I have to make sure, in my own mind, for my future children and grandchildren … that someone more stable is in the presidency."
Mildren Worthen, 67, of Westminster, also had strong, conflicted feelings about the presidential candidates, but came to a different conclusion.
"It was a disservice to the people of this country by both of these major political parties that they couldn't come up with a respectable candidate," Worthen said. "I can't believe it, that we have gotten to this point in this country that anything goes -- the president can be a crook, the president can be a womanizer and it's fine."
Ultimately, Worthen said, it came down to which candidate you could hold your nose and vote for. She pulled the lever for Trump.
"I couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because of the email server business when she was in the State Department," Worthen said. "I was in the defense department for many years, if I had done something like that, I would have been in jail, I would have lost my job, I would have had huge legal bills."
Hillary Clinton's emails were also the biggest issue for 49-year-old James Duncan, of Westminster, a defense contractor executive who described himself as left behind as a Republican party no longer as conservative as he is.
"I voted against Hillary Clinton," Duncan said. "She should be in prison and not on a ballot. As somebody who has a secret clearance, I would be in jail. Instantly."
Other than that, Duncan said his main issue was an airing out of the halls of government.
"It's just a referendum on the entirety of our system right now," he said. "Anybody who is new to it I welcome as opposed to an incumbent."
Elizabeth Brown, of Westminster, was a bit more enthusiastic about the political system. It was, after all, the 20-year-old, Towson University music education major's first general election.
"I did mail in for the primaries, so this is my first in-person election," Brown said. "As I was filling out the ballot I felt such like a rush of pride and excitement that I didn't expect to feel. It felt good, like a rite of passage to be able to vote for the first time."
Most interested and educated on the presidential and senate races, Brown voted for Clinton and Chris Van Hollen.
"I was looking for people who have the needs of everyone in mind, not one particular group of people but kind of the greater good of everyone in mind," she said. "As a college student, I am looking for people who are looking to help my generation and help us not be in loads and loads of debt from college."
Help available for those that need assistance voting
Pam Wagner, of Westminster, reported to the Carroll County Times that she had a difficult time voting at Sandymount Elementary School Tuesday morning. Wagner, 58, said she has low-vision and the bubbles on the ballot were too small for her to see clearly.
"When I went to use the ballots, the bubbles were so small I had a hard time filling it out. The ballots are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant," Wagner said.
Carroll County Board of Elections director Katherine Berry said she could not comment on Wagner's specific situation but did say all precincts have ADA compliant assistive devices.
"We have very large magnifiers that can be offered," Berry said. "There's also a bipartisan team of chief judges to provide voter assistance and precincts have ballot marking devices which have contrast features and enlarging features."
Wagner said a magnifying glass will not help with her particular vision issue and she did not wish to share her ballot with anyone.
"I should be able to vote with privacy and respect like everyone else," Wagner said. "I'm 58, intelligent, college-educated, I live a full life, and I don't want other people to know how I vote. I'm independent. Voting is a very private thing."
Wagner said the ballot bubbles should be made bigger so voters can make their choices independently.
"They need to be a little more aware of people with disabilities. I shouldn't have had to go through that. Making the bubbles bigger for voters in a no-brainer," Wagner said. "You shouldn't have to have other people do it for you."
Wagner said while many things are difficult, voting should be easy.
"The people working the polls need to be taught disability awareness," Wagner said. "The options may not work for everyone. No one wants to feel left out."
According to David Jacobs, Department of Justice deputy press secretary, leading up to and throughout Election Day, Civil Rights Division staff members will be available by telephone to receive complaints related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (Toll free at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report such complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and by a complaint form on the department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.
- Michel Elben
Elmer Wolfe Elementary, 2 p.m.
Elmer Wolfe was quieter around noon, with few lines. And while it appeared quiet, Joe Vargo, chief judge for the Republicans, said that it’s been a steady flow of people. He’s also seen increased turnout, he said.
Northwest Middle School, 2 p.m.
Mark Grimes, of Taneytown, was in and out of the school in less than 10 minutes, as he made his choices for the future of the country. He said he feels it’s his civic duty to come out to each election to vote.
“I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing,” Sivigny, of Finksburg, said. “All of the vibes have been positive. I’ve talked to a lot of voters who are interested in what I have to say.”
- Jacob deNobel
South Carroll High School, Noon
- Heather Mongilio
Francis Scott Key High School, 11:30 a.m.
Nearly every person who walked into Francis Scott Key High School had a similar refrain: astonishment at the number of people lined up to vote.
"I've never seen this many people before."
"Usually you just walk in."
"They said come at 10 a.m. and there wouldn't be a line. I guess they lied."
Though the line only consisted of about 10 to 30 people at any given time, most voters in the area were used to no wait times before casting their ballots. Election Judge Karen Bullock said the location was indeed busier than usual this year. With the cramped quarters, the line initially extended outside, before voters readjusted to let more people into the building at once.
Because voting lines are usually small or nonexistent at FSK, the polling center was set up in the school's band room, off of a tight hallway in the rear, rather than adjacent to the school's lobby, the way voting is set up at many other schools.
Kathy Everly, of Union Bridge, said she wasn't discouraged by the line, but was instead excited to see so many people taking part in their civic duty.
"It's the source of our freedom," Every said. "I think it's definitely a good thing. Everybody should come out, even if they can't make up their mind. Even if you just vote zero, you should still come out."
Kathy's husband Joe Everly said he was interested in the Board of Education race this year. He said Donna Sivigny had his support based on her financial background. He said he thought a different set of skills would be important for the school board.
Sandy Wright, of Uniontown, said she's been voting at FSK since 1984, and can't remember a time where so many people had come out to have their voice heard. She said, she thinks it's the effect of the election itself.
"I'm 73 years old, and I've never seen an election like this," Wright said. "I don't think it's good for people's mental health."
- Jacob deNobel
Pleasant Valley, 9:30 a.m.
- Jacob deNobel
Sykesville Middle School, 9:15 a.m.
- Heather Mongilio
Westminster West Middle School, 8 a.m.
Several dozen people came out on a brisk Tuesday morning to line up outside of Westminster West Middle School before the opening of the polls to be among the first in the county to cast their votes for president on Election Day.
- Jacob deNobel