More than 1,100 votes cast on first day of early voting

A steady stream of early voters through the day slowed to a trickle by late Thursday evening at the Westminster Senior Center.

More than 50 people waited in line to cast their votes early on Thursday morning, and more than 200 ballots were cast in the first two hours, according to the Carroll County Board of Elections.


By the time the polls closed at 8 p.m., 1,186 voters had come through the doors, according to Gail Carter, director of the Carroll County Board of Elections.

Don Wilson, of Union Bridge, said he was most interested in supporting Republican Larry Hogan for the governor's race.

"Since I'll be in Ocean City come [Election Day], I figured I would come in and get my man in and see how it goes," Wilson said. "I think it's a definite plus for Hogan to see so many people out today."

"I think the large crowd is a testament to the fact that there's a governor's race at play that Carroll countians are interested in," said Mike Stewart, of Manchester. "Usually, in a midterm, turnout isn't that great."

Westminster resident Craig Rutherford said he voted Thursday evening to get it out of the way and avoid the lines on Election Day.

Rutherford said he always votes early when he can, and this year he was particularly interested in the governor's race.

"I vote Republican all the way," he said. "I don't have a lot of hope for Maryland in general, though."

Mark Yoffee, of Westminster, said he voted early because his work schedule is unpredictable and he wanted to avoid the crowds on Election Day.

"I don't want to wait in line for two hours on Nov. 4," he said.

Yoffee said the governor's race was important to him, and he made sure to research the background and views of the candidates.

Lauren Baile, of New Windsor, said she voted early because she is getting married on Saturday and then leaving for her honeymoon, making her unavailable on Election Day.

Though she will soon be moving to Hanover, Pa., she wanted to vote in the local races that were important to her current community, including the county commissioner and Carroll County Board of Education races.

Baile said she looked at blogs and other resources to research the candidates but largely ignored television advertisements.

"I don't pay attention to the commercials because I know they're very biased," she said.


Wendy O'Meally, a Westminster resident who works at Carroll Springs School, said that the Board of Education race was very important to her and her husband, who also works for the Carroll County Public Schools system.

"We're very concerned about education," O'Meally said, citing the number of teachers leaving Carroll County each year.

"You can make a lot of money in Howard County," she said.

Her husband, John O'Meally, said they researched candidates by paying attention to social media and the newspaper.

Francis Ritgert, of Westminster, said he was voting early because he will have his hip replaced on Election Day.

"I'll tell you what: If people don't get out now and vote, with everything that's going on in the country, then shame on them," Ritgert said Thursday morning.

Genoveva Yoffee, of Westminster, echoed that sentiment Thursday evening, saying, "If [you] don't vote, you get what you deserve."

Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-3316 or email

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email

If you go

What: Early Voting for the general election

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Thursday, Oct. 30

Where: Westminster Senior Center, 125 Stoner Ave., Westminster