Howard's turnout mirrors past midterm elections, steady stream of voters

and Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Nick Hawthorne has voted three times in Howard County.

The Democrat in 2014 said he voted for County Executive Allan Kittleman, a Republican who won four years ago. But this time, he’s voting for Calvin Ball, Kittleman’s Democratic opponent and a County Council member.

Hawthorne said he likes that Ball is “environmentally conscious” and dislikes how conservative Kittleman has been throughout his tenure.

“I’m more of a moderate,” Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne, 24, and a restaurant manager, is also supporting Ben Jealous, a Democrat trying for the governor’s mansion. He believes Jealous’ “different perspective” would be good for Maryland.

Hawthrone voted for China Williams, a Democrat seeking to represent District 5 on Howard’s County Council, and Sabina Taj, a candidate for school board.

In today’s general election, steady voting has been reported in the county and state, despite an early driving rain in some neighborhoods.

As of 4 p.m., 62,259 residents—or 29 percent of eligible voters—voted on Tuesday, according to unofficial numbers.

Howard County Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley is projecting voter turnout to be in the low 60th percentile for Tuesday’s election, which is “in line with previous gubernatorial general elections.”

“Long Reach High School [in Columbia] at 11 a.m. had over 700 [voters], Western Howard County was in the high 300s and 400s,” said Mickley said.

It’s pretty standard for Howard to have between 300 and 400 voters come out to any of the polls before the 11 a.m. hour, Mickley said.

Voters at Hammond High School in Columbia experienced “a bit of a line,” earlier on in the day which tends to happen because the high school has a heavy turnout for most elections, Mickley said.

A few ballot scanners across the county had to be restarted but otherwise things were “performing pretty well,” Mickley said.

Early voting turnout was up 45 percent from the 2014 midterm election, with 47,132 Howard residents voting early in the 2018 midterms, compared to the 21,432 voters in 2014, according to unofficial early voting results.

Sue Grosso said she is supporting Republicans. Grosso, 58, and retired, voted for Gov. Larry Hogan, Kittleman and David Yungmann, a Republican vying to represent District 5 on the County Council.

She said she supports Hogan because of his bipartisan leadership.

“He is well respected and works for the good of the state,” Grosso said.

Grosso is also supports Kittleman because he “has good ideas about education” and wants to combat child mental health issues.

More than 8,500 total absentee ballots were sent out, according to Mickley. The deadline for receiving absentee ballots is Nov. 16 at 10 a.m., but the ballots had to be postmarked by election day.

So far, the county has received 3,725 absentee ballots back as of Nov. 5, according to data from the state Board of Elections.

In 2014, 3,099 absentee ballots were sent out and the county received 2,480 ballots back, according to unofficial absentee results.

Mickley did not have a count for provisional ballots and won’t have the final number until Wednesday.

Early voting results will be released at 8 p.m. and results from precincts will start trickling in around 9 p.m., according to Mickley.

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