Voting slow in Harford's Route 40 corridor on primary day

Campaign supporters outside Aberdeen High School during Tuesday's primary election. For most of the day, the workers and election judges outnumbered voters.
Campaign supporters outside Aberdeen High School during Tuesday's primary election. For most of the day, the workers and election judges outnumbered voters.(BRYNA ZUMER | AEGIS STAFF, The Aegis)

A slow but steady trickle of Route 40-area voters hit the polls Tuesday morning in Harford County to cast their ballots for what many are calling a less-than-eventful primary election.

Some of the more popular polling sites, like Aberdeen High School and Havre de Grace's Meadowvale Elementary School, had a consistent flow of voters at about 10 or 11 a.m.


Meadowvale had about 170 voters by 11:30 a.m., election judge Zilpha Smith reported. Campaigners for county executive candidate Barry Glassman, who has no competition in the primary, were handing out sandwiches and drinks in the parking lot.

"We have been pretty steady here ever since 7 a.m. this morning," Smith said. "Actually, I am a little surprised, so that kind of tells me that a lot of people in this area didn't do early voting."

Aberdeen High seemed to have a steady turnout in the morning but only 65 voters had been clocked in as of 10 a.m. At Magnolia Elementary School in Joppa, just 27 voters were counted by 9 a.m.

"In this area, you will get stragglers throughout the day," election judge Peggy Jagelski said. "I wouldn't expect a high number. A lot of people don't vote in the primary."

Many of the voters had plenty to say about the government at large, as well as the voting process, with a variety of factors affecting their votes for governor and some other positions.

"I am hoping to get every Democrat that I can elected," Richard Murphy, of Edgewood, said, who nevertheless did not feel strongly about any of the gubernatorial candidates.

"It's very discouraging what's going on in America today," Murphy said before voting at Magnolia Elementary. "I don't have much faith in our government at all."

Bill Diggs, of Edgewood, another voter at Magnolia, voted for Heather Mizeur for governor in the Democratic primary.


"I wanted someone that was new and someone that could make a difference," Diggs explained, adding he plans to leave the state. "Maryland needs a new break, a new chance, whatever – someone new."

He wondered about the rationale state leaders have given for trying to generate revenue.

"We're a state now that's got so many casinos. What's going on?" he said. "I look at what's going on in the world. This country is going [down]. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer."

No problems were reported Thursday morning at Magnolia, Meadowvale or Aberdeen. One Aberdeen voter, however, Brian Carver, said he hit a slight malfunction while trying to cast his ballot.

"I got to [the 'review' screen] and it just blanked out," he said, noting he did end up voting and everything was fine.

Election judges said the machine just went down temporarily and needed to be reset. They said it did not cause any processing issues because the ballot had not been cast.


Carver said he did not feel strongly about any of the Republican candidates.

Being in a traditionally Democrat state, he added, "I think [Anthony] Brown's going to win."

"I am upset that nobody's voting. We need change in this country," he said, adding he was surprised to see many positions unopposed.

"I am disgusted by what's going on in [Washington,] D.C. on both sides," he said. He thought most elections, being heavily gerrymandered, end up being decided by Prince George's County and Baltimore City.

"I think it should be against the law to change all that," Carver said about the redistricting process.

One Aberdeen man, Maxel Denson, had a very specific reason for voting for Democratic Senate candidate Mary-Dulany James, running in District 34 against Art Helton.

"Her opponent came to my church and he just lied," Denson said, declining to go into specifics. "He could have found out more information about what he said, and I didn't like that."

Denson also said he almost voted for Heather Mizeur for governor.

"I wanted to, but the reason I didn't was because she kept harping about [how] she's going to do this thing with [legalizing] marijuana and tax it and have money for the school system, and as a personal thought, I am so sick and tired of politicians talking about what they are going to do with schools," Denson said. "Anybody that mentions that turns me off."

Denson, like most other voters, said they did not know much about the Harford County Council or other local candidates.

"All they do is put signs out. They don't tell you what they are about," he said. "They don't talk about what they are going to do."

In Havre de Grace, John McLaughlin was voting for two familiar candidates in the Republican race, including Harford's gubernatorial hopeful David Craig.

"I feel that he has got good points of view and he was also my assistant principal in middle school," McLaughlin said, adding he also voted for Dick Slutzky for County Council president because Slutzky was his gym teacher in high school.

McLaughlin noted he felt strongly about voting because his father was in the Army for 20 years.

Donna Bushong, who was voting at Meadowvale, declined to reveal her selections but said she felt strongly about casting her ballot despite only being an on-and-off Maryland resident.

She said she was in a military family and moved back to Maryland two years ago from Guam.

"I like Maryland, I would like to see it prosper. I think they do a lot of things right," she said about the state's leaders.