Talking with election judges and voters at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center and Robert Moton Elementary. (Jon Kelvey and Max Simpson / Carroll County Times)

The Times had reporters visiting polling places around Carroll throughout Election Day. Share your updates with us on our Facebook page or as part of our live blog using the hashtag #carrollvotes. You can also send update to cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com.


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."

-Michel Elben

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.

--Heather Norris

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.

Empty polls outnumbered voters around 3 p.m. at Piney Ridge Elementary School in Eldersburg.
There was a steady trickle of voters coming to cast their votes, and they were able to walk right away and vote without worrying about lines.
By 2:41 p.m., 1,002 people had cast their ballots at the schools, said Chief Election Judge Rebecca Bederka.
“It’s been very good. A steady flow of voters,” she said.
She wasn’t sure why there were so many voters this year, and said that there was higher turnout than expected Tuesday.
“First thing in the morning, at 7 a.m., was busy,” Bederka said.
Shannon, 39, and Kelsey Harmon, 20, voted at Piney Ridge around 3 p.m. For Kelsey, it was the first time casting a ballot in a general election.
She said she was most concerned with the presidential election, and her vote went to Hillary Clinton.
“I just agree with a lot of things she said, and I don’t personally like Trump or believe or trust anything he says,” Kelsey Harmon said.
She said she was a little nervous to vote in the election. She called the lead up to the election “crazy,” noting how busy it was on social media. The social media buzz differentiated the 2016 election from others, she said.
Shannon Harmon said she was also concerned with the presidential election, but elected to not say which candidate got her vote.
Everyone should get the opportunity to vote and say what they believe in, which is why it’s important people come out to the votes, she said.

- Heather Mongilio

Spring Garden Elementary, 3:20 p.m.

Kenny Kiler stood alone outside Spring Garden Elementary Tuesday afternoon as the sole electioneer at the southern Hampstead polling site.
As voters walked past, Kiler held out two campaign signs: one for Marsha Herbert and the other for Donna Sivigny, both candidates for two open seats on the Carroll County Board of Education.
Though the day started busy at Spring Garden — a one-hour wait at opening, election judges said — by 3 p.m., the crowds had been replaced with a steady trickle of voters.
Kiler, a Manchester resident, said he was surprised to be the only electioneer outside the polling site doors, but the voters he had the chance to talk with, he said, were receptive to his message.
“I’ll be honest, there were times when I took the Board of Education [elections] for granted,” Kiler said. But with recent school closures, he said he realizes now how important the election is.
“I’m telling everybody: pay attention,” he said.
In a town that saw its high school closed last spring, Kiler said he believes voters in the north Carroll area are particularly informed on the school board election, but there are some who don’t recognize the names on the signs, he said.
One woman admitted to him it was the first time she had voted and she felt a little unsure on some of the races.
“I said that’s not dumb. You’re doing it,” he said.
While some of the most enthusiasm came from voters looking most forward to casting their ballot on the presidential election, Kiler said he believes the most consequential election Carroll residents vote in on Tuesday is the school board race.
“The most important [race] is probably the local [one] because we can have the most effect,” he said, noting Carroll County’s heavy Republican advantage and Maryland’s tendency to sway toward the Democratic candidate.
“You feel like in the local ones, your vote counts more,” he said.

- 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.

Seventy-three-year-old Thelma Pletzer’s voted in her fair share of elections over the years.
But this one is a bit more special than most, the retired Finksburg resident said  -- she’s voting for Hillary Clinton.
Voting for a woman president just feels “great,” she said. They need a few more women in office, she added.
“It’s my duty to come out,” she said.
For most, it seems, getting out and voting was important Wednesday.

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.

Here's what you need to know before you go to the polls Tuesday.
The morning was the only time they really had a big line, Leppo said, though he expected the crowds to be bigger from 4 p.m. until closing. When they first opened, they had a line through the building. And in the first 20 minutes, they got 243 voters through, he added.
“We’re rolling them through,” Leppo said.
Even with the morning rush, Leppo said people haven’t been waiting more than 15 minutes at most. They hadn’t had any problems with angry voters, nor had they had any machine malfunctions, he said.
“We’ve been fortunate,” he added.
Matt Beidleman, of Finksburg, was out voting Wednesday afternoon. The 33-year-old, who works for a computer company, said he was voting for Hillary Clinton. To him, the presidental race was the most important one this year.
Beidleman said he was strongly against Donald Trump.
“The guy’s a loose cannon. It’s scary,” he said.
For others, Tuesday’s Election Day was more about the local elections.

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.

Plus, he said, Maryland will likely go blue, so his third-party vote doesn’t matter much.
Alexander, a student at Morgan State University majoring in computer engineering, said he was voting for Donna Sivigny for Board of Education. He didn’t do as much research on the other candidates, but said he’d researched Sivigny and liked her.

- 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.

Electioneer Kenny Kiler talks with a voter outside Spring Garden Elementary, in Hampstead Tuesday November 8, 2016. (Heather Norris/Carroll County Times)
Electioneer Kenny Kiler talks with a voter outside Spring Garden Elementary, in Hampstead Tuesday November 8, 2016. (Heather Norris/Carroll County Times) (Heather Norris/Carroll County Times)

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 voting.section@usdoj.gov and by a complaint form on the department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.

- Michel Elben

Elmer Wolfe Elementary, 2 p.m.

Girl Scout cookie booths were a trend at the polling places in Carroll County. In additon to Sykesville Middle School and Piney Ridge, there was a cookie booth outside of Elmer Wolfe Elementary where there were two polling stations.
It was one of the six polling stations that Girl Scouts were allowed to sell cookies, said Troop 815 leader Joy Bowman.
The Girl Scouts were originally told that they weren’t allowed to sell cookies outside of voting places, but “a last-ditch effort about two weeks ago, we were allowed to sell at about six places,” Bowman said.
Troop 815 was outside Elmer Wolfe for about 20 minutes as of approximately 12:20 p.m. Another troop was there before them.
In addition to cookie sales, Bowman said having a booth outside of the polling places allowed the girls to see the election process. The troop is made up of cadets, seniors and ambassadors. Seniors and ambassadors are high school age girls, Bowman said, and they could be eligible to vote in the next presidential election.
The Girl Scouts weren’t the only ineligible voters getting a chance to see voting at Elmer Wolfe. Beau Bryant, 40, of Union Bridge, brought his three sons and one daughter to the polling station. His children’s ages ranged from nine to 10 months, and while none of them will be eligible for several years, he said he wanted them to see the election process now.
“We talk about election stuff at home, so I wanted to show them how it works,” Bryant said.
Bryant said he voted in all the different elections, but the presidential race was one his main focuses. He voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson because he fell in line with his beliefs more than the other two candidates.
“Both the two major parties are different than what they used to be,” he said, noting it was especially true of the Republican party.
Dorothy Thornton, 79, of Union Bridge, said she voted, but didn’t want to share who she picked.
“I just want the best man to win,” Thornton said. “I don’t care who wins.”
She came out to vote because she said she believes each vote counts.
“It’s important because everyone has a choice, and if nobody takes their choice it’s sad because everyone who has a choice should use it,” she said.

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.

He thinks they have had about 270 people so far, as of 12:15 p.m. The other polling station is about the same, he said.
Normally the polling station sees about 30 people an hour, but this year there has been 50 or more people an hour, he said.
“I think it’s because of the people running,” Vargo said. “It’s not only the presidential, but the state Senate. I’ve heard people talking about it in line.”
- Heather Mongilio
Stephanie Tracey, left, holds her daughter Alyssa, 2, after filling out her ballot to vote in her first election with her mother Shelley Tracey at Westminster West Middle School on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Stephanie Tracey, left, holds her daughter Alyssa, 2, after filling out her ballot to vote in her first election with her mother Shelley Tracey at Westminster West Middle School on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Northwest Middle School, 2 p.m.

Even with the lunch rush, voters at Northwest Middle School encountered no lines Tuesday afternoon as they entered the school’s cafeteria to cast their ballots.

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 think we should do it, or we can’t complain,” Grimes said. “I feel about this election about the same way I feel about all of them. There’s too much trash talk in normal politics. Candidates should spend more time focusing on the people instead of their own agenda.”
For a lot of times, voters were outnumbered by political advocates lined up outside of the polls, creating a gauntlet of signs and supporters voters had to work their way through before they could cast their vote.
In addition to the petitioners, Board of Education candidate Donna Sivigny was present, providing a last minute incentive to vote for her above her challengers. Sivigny said Northwest was her sixth stop of the day, and she had early voted last week to avoid the potentially long lines.

“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

There was a steady stream of people voting in the gymnasium of South Carroll High School in Winfield.
There are two polling stations at the school, and by 9:45 a.m. the gymnasium alone had already seen 524 people, according to election official Bobbi Savaliski, and more were in line to check in.
“A lot of people in the morning, then we had a little break, then there’s another big rush and it’s only 10 in the morning,” Savaliski said.
The turnout was more than ususal, she said.
Outside of the gym, in the school lobby, there was a greeter to help make sure people were at the right polling place. Kevin Lindsey, of Woodbine, said he volunteered to be a greeter, and this was the first year they used them.
There was less turnout than Lindsey expected, he said, but added that at one point the line had snaked around the lobby.
Outside of South Carroll, electioneers lined up inside cones. There was a person for Kathy Szeliga, while the other three focused on school board candidates.
Donna Sivigny’s husband Jay and Julie Kingsley’s husband Matt were holding signs and passing out literature along with Dan Schindler, Marsha Herbert’s son-in-law.
“It’s part of what we do as a family,” Schindler said.
It’s been a constant stream of people voting at South Carroll, all three said.
Jay Sivigny said he expected a large amount of people because there waas a large early voting turnout. He was also at South Carroll during the primary election, and said the general has been busier with lines out the doors at some points.
He was out there to give people some last minute information in case they were still undecided.
“Everyone here is working hard to get votes,” he said.
The people have been mostly nice, Schindler said.
“Even in the morning, people were pleasant,” he said.
Sivigny and Matt Kingsley agreed.
“It’s good to see the Carroll County community so respectful, eager to vote,” Kinglsey said.
The amount of people was steadier than he expected, he said, adding that he thought it might die down after the early morning rush.  While he has literature for undecided voters, he said that he’s found many know who they are voting for when they come to the polls.
“Seems like most people have done their homework. I’ve been pleased that most people took their time to research,” he said.

- Heather Mongilio

Voters gather outside Northwest Middle School on Tuesday November 8, 2016.
Voters gather outside Northwest Middle School on Tuesday November 8, 2016. (JACOB DENOBEL/CARROLL COUNTY TIMES)

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

Carroll residents wait to vote at Francis Scott Key High School Tuesday November 8, 2016.
Carroll residents wait to vote at Francis Scott Key High School Tuesday November 8, 2016. (JACOB DENOBEL/CARROLL COUNTY TIMES)

Pleasant Valley, 9:30 a.m.

Voting went smoothly Tuesday morning at the Pleasant Valley volunteer fire company hall, a site that is acting as a Carroll polling place for the first time. The fire hall was announced as the replacement for Charles Carroll Elementary School as Election District 3, Precinct 1’s polling place in July, following the closing of the school. Ebb Valley Elementary was initially chosen as the replacement for Charles Carroll, but following community criticism for the nearly-20 minute drive from the old location, the voting center was moved to Pleasant Valley.
According to election judge Tony Foreman, voting had gone smoothly the morning of Election Day. Though there were concerns about added congestion on Pleasant Valley’s main road, traffic wasn’t an issue, he said.
“It’s been great,” Foreman said. “It’s actually more suitable of a location than Charles Carroll was. We haven’t had any issues.”
According to fellow judge Kevin Hayes, about 200 people voted at the fire company in the first 90 minutes of Election Day.
Jay Belt said he appreciated the change, since the new location was actually closer to his home than the old one was. Belt said the presidential race is the one most weighing on his mind.
“I’m for Trump because he’s for smaller government, not bigger government,” Belt said. “I come out to vote whenever I get the chance, but I’m out today for Trump.”
Election Day provided Michele Smith, of Westminster, with an opportunity she has been waiting for about two decades for.
“I’ve wanted to vote for [Hillary] since Bill was president,” Smith said. “I know people who have met her, and she’s by far the most qualified. I just feel strongly about what she represents and her competency to be a world leader.”
Smith said the polling change was a slight inconvenience for her, since she lives directly across from Charles Carroll, but that a minor inconvenience wasn’t going to stop her from voting.
“It’s important to come out to vote no matter where you live,” Smith said. “It’s something you just have to do.”

- Jacob deNobel

Charlie Newell carries his son Mason, 2, to hand in his ballot while voting at Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Charlie Newell carries his son Mason, 2, to hand in his ballot while voting at Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Sykesville Middle School, 9:15 a.m.

By 7:30 a.m. the lines at Sykesville Middle School had died down, but people continued to trickle in to cast their ballots in the 2016 election.
Outside of the middle school, three little girls in bright green vests were hoping to take advantage of the people coming to cast their votes. Troop 1310 set up a Girl Scout cookie stand outside of the polling place, ensuring that voters could walk away with an “I voted” sticker and a box of cookies.
The three little girls – Sophia Parker, 10, Bailey Wolpert, 9, and Megan Davis, 9 – were outside with their troop leaders Rachel Davis and Amy Parker.
They had gone to the county’s Board of Elections to ask to sell cookies outside of the polling places. It took them two attempts and many rules, but the Board of Election allowed them to set up, Davis said.
Many of the voters have commented on the spot, and most have been friendly, Parker said.
“And we’re laughing because there’s not anything more American than Girl Scout cookies,” Parker said.
So far, business was average, she said. As of about 8 a.m., approximately 200 people, some with kids in tow, had come through the Sykesville Middle School polling station, said Bob Henderson, one of the chief election judges.
The polls had slowed down by 8 a.m., but it was expected. Overall, Henderson thoguht they had seen more voters than usual.
“But first thing in the morning is always slammed then it slows,” he said.
For some the election marked their first time voting in the country or coming to the polls. ND Alagbu, of Sykesville, and Mari Wepprecht, of Sykesville, brought their 2-year-old son to the polls Tuesday morning.
Voting as a family was important to Wepprecht because she wanted to instill in her son that voting is important, she said.
"[So] that he understands that in America everyone gets a vote, and it’s all one vote,” Wepprecht said.
She said she voted for Hillary Clinton and mostly voted for Democrats. She had talked about voting for Clinton at home, which gave her son high expectations for Election Day.
“My son, this is the first time he’s come with us to vote, and he thought Hillary Clinton would actually be here,” she said.
For Alagbu, the election also carried a special meaning. He’s 40, but it was his first time he could vote. He recently received his American citizenship and this was the first time he was eligible to vote, he said.
He came from Nigeria, where he said violence discouraged people from voting.
“It wasn’t that I never wanted to vote, but it was so violent that I didn’t want to risk it going to the polls,” Alagbu said.
Wepprecht and Alagbu weren’t the only ones to bring a child along. Multiple children accompanied their parents to the polls, and the Sykesville Middle School polling station had a place for the children to color while their parents cast their votes.
So far, there hadn’t been any problems with the ballots, Henderson said.
The voters were using paper ballots and scanning them in. Nicole Boucek, of Sykesville, said the ballots were “less confusing. It’s quicker.”
She recently moved to the area so she said she wasn’t as in tune to the local elections, but still voted in them. For main concern was the presidential election, and she cast a ballot for Donald Trump.
“I had to kind of think about it, but in the end I think we have to go in a different direction than we have been going in,” she said.

- Heather Mongilio

Voters came to Sykesville Middle School to cast their votes Tuesday November 8, 2016. There was an early-morning rush, but things had quieted down quickly.
Voters came to Sykesville Middle School to cast their votes Tuesday November 8, 2016. There was an early-morning rush, but things had quieted down quickly. (Heather Mongilio/Carroll County Times)

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.

Cheryl Armitage, of Westminster, wasn’t the first in line, but was the first to finish completing her ballot and register her vote. She said she got to the school around 6:30 a.m. because she wanted to make sure that her vote counted. Armitage said this was a vital election year, and she’s looking to put someone in the oval office who values what the people want.
Starting at 7 a.m., the polling place opened and the line moved inside, snaking its way around the lobby of the middle school. The line was quiet and there was little of the buzz and excitement of early voting, but with an hour earlier start time, it could just be that the coffee hadn’t kicked in for many voters yet.
The line moved quickly though, as voters signed in and made their way to one of more than 25 available voting booths to complete their paper ballots. After a long election season, there was very little hesitation in people’s minds to slow down the voting process.
As in most presidential years, it was the highest race that drew most out to vote Tuesday. Despite strong opinions on who should win the election, many cited a distaste for the opposing candidate as their primary reason to support their own.
Troy Carver, of Westminster, was among the first in line at the school. He said he’s supporting Trump because he just can’t vote for Hillary Clinton and wants to keep her out of the White House.
This is 20-year-old Zach Peters’, of Westminster, first chance to vote. Peters just registered this year so he could vote in the presidential race. He said he woke up early so he could come out before work. In citing why he was voting for Clinton, Peters spoke of his dislike for Trump.
“I just feel like Trump’s irrational and would take the country backwards. There are certain viewpoints I just don’t agree with,” Peters said. “This is the first time I can vote, so hopefully this will start a train and a pattern.”

- Jacob deNobel