U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and six of Maryland's incumbent members of the House of Representatives have won re-election, according to the Associated Press.
The winners include Democrats Elijah E. Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, and the state's lone Republican congressman, Roscoe Bartlett.
Mikulski, a Democrat, won re-election to a fifth term, defeating Eric Wargotz, a Republican commissioner from Queen Anne's County.
— Scott Calvert
Getting out the vote
Mae Beale referred to the younger campaign workers around her as "Energizer bunnies." But in fact, they said, she's the one who keeps going and going.
Beale, 70, spent Election Day at the epicenter of Democratic get-out-to-vote efforts in Howard County, greeting potential volunteers at the front desk, answering phones and distributing signs and literature to poll workers.
"We have everything covered," she said confidently.
Beale retired in January from her job with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Woodlawn. But she quickly threw herself into a de facto second career at the county's Democratic headquarters in Columbia. Every afternoon (and she meant every), Beale hauled herself to the office and answered calls until "everyone else was gone."
"I'm a firm believer that you have to give back," Beale said. "You have to be a part of what's going on in your community."
She said her affection for County Executive Ken Ulman drove her fervor this year.
Beale met Ulman's father years ago when they served on a county social services board together. And when she needed an elder-care attorney for her 88-year-old mother, she hired the future county executive.
"He's one of the best county executives we've had, because he was raised here," she said. She was unsure how she'll pass her days without a campaign to support.
"I won't know what to do with myself," she said.
— Childs Walker
Voter told that someone cast early ballot in his name
When James Moore went to vote at 5:30 p.m. today, the 32-year-old Pigtown resident says he got disturbing news from polling officials at George Washington Elementary School.
"They told me someone had voted early in my name -- and it wasn't me," he said.
Moore, a Johns Hopkins University project manager at the Johns Hopkins University, wanted polling officials to override that earlier vote, whoever may have cast it during the early voting period that ended Thursday. But he was told that wasn't possible. Instead, he was given a provisional ballot.
When Moore said that was unacceptable, he was given the phone number for Baltimore City's Board of Elections and eventually reached election director Armstead B.C. Jones Sr.
Jones "told me there was nothing they could do, but he assured me my vote would be counted," Moore said. That didn't satisfy him, either.
"I feel like I haven't voted," Moore said.
— Scott Calvert
Warming to anti-incumbent sentiment
It's one of the unspoken truisms of politics that many voters, faced with long and barely comprehensible ballots filled with names few people have heard of, simply vote a straight party line and resort to little more than guesswork when picking through referendum questions. Time after time on Tuesday, voters emerging from polling stations in Baltimore County's west side airily admitted to not having paid much mind to those pesky queries about constitutional conventions and whatnot.
Nadine Johansen was different. Before entering Arbutus Middle School to vote, she asked anyone within sight to tell her whether, for instance, such a convention could address constitutional matters not specifically addressed in the questions posed in the ballot. Someone told her yes, and someone else -- using a tad more logic -- told her no, that only questions approved by voters would be up for debate.
Johansen, a 67-year-old former elections judge who works as an office manager for a non-profit organization, said she had tried to do homework about the ballot questions by looking on a Republican Central Committee website, but found nothing that would help her. Frustrated, she went to the polling place, figuring someone would have some answers, and became only more frustrated as time went on.
Finally, as she emerged from casting her ballot, Johansen gave vent to her feelings about the entire political process, including the positions and records of both major parties. "I'm a Republican, but that could change," she said. "I don't have a great deal more respect for the Republicans than I have for the Democrats. A lot of people are fed up with politics -- I'm fed up. I voted more against the Democrats than for the Republicans. It's very hard for voters to know what's true."
In particular, Johansen said, she objects to what she says is the arrogance and corruption of those in power, and used as an example the passage of health-care reform, a process conducted "behind closed doors" and which resulted in "a 2,000-page bill that nobody has read."
Warming to the anti-incumbent sentiment, Johansen said that whoever is in power had "better start thinking about what they're doing for the future of this country and these kids, because right now these kids don't have a future."
Johansen, who was born in Baltimore and moved to Arbutus when she was eight years old, said Republicans should not "get cocky" if they get a clean sweep of Congress. "They have their heads inflated, but they have not engendered a great deal of confidence either," she said. "If there's no change, next time I'll vote for the Libertarians, or the Green Party. I feel like I could do a better job."
Kratovil greets voters
At Abingdon Elementary School, voters streamed into the polls all afternoon. The parking lot, mostly surrounded with trees whose leaves had turned color, was often filled with dozens of cars.
Some voters had finished work and were voting, while others were like Mark Biagi, who voted just before starting a shift as a hospital worker at GBMC in Towson.
Biagi, 54, of Abingdon calls himself a Republican, but he voted for Democrats Martin O'Malley for governor and Frank Kratovil for congressman in the 1st District.
"I was a Republican, but right now I vote with my heart, not the parties," Biagi said.
Robert Munley, 51, of Abingdon is a Republican who voted with his party. He cast votes for Ehrlich and state Sen. Andy Harris, who is running against Kratovil.
"I was kind of an anti-incumbent guy today," said Munley, who works for BGE. He voted for Republicans because he's concerned about the economy, health care reform, and taxes -- "the big three," he said.
Voters at the school voted either inside the gym, for Precinct 115, or inside the school cafeteria, for Precinct 109. Republican chief judge Janice Camp said turnout followed past patterns through the afternoon.
"Turnout is on the money," Camp said. "Everything's been real smooth here -- just the way I like it."
Kratovil stood outside the school this afternoon trying to shake the hand of every voter who walked in. Most took his hand and exchanged pleasantries. His customary pitch to voters?
"Hello, I'm Congressman Frank Kratovil. I appreciate your consideration."
State projects typical Election Day turnout rate
The Board of Elections projects Election Day turnout to be about 48 percent, based on reports from a few key polling locations.
Their estimate does not include absentee and early voting -- when those are included, the turnout looks as though it will match other recent governor elections, according to the deputy administrator at the state's board of elections.
But that's not the message Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's team is putting out. Campaign manager Tom Russell issued an e-mail about 30 minutes ago telling supporters that he has reports that turnout is "lighter than expected ... in a few key counties."
"That's exactly what our opponent needs to close the gap," Russell wrote, hoping to prompt supporters to join the after-work rush at the polls.
Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. seemed to have a better sense of the landscape -- his e-mail to supporters said that "the enthusiasm at the polls has been wonderful to see" and encouraged his people to "go vote."
— Annie Linskey; more on the Maryland Politics blog
Vote, then buy Girl Scout cookies
Amy Scott and her daughter, Karen, 7, set up to sell cookies for Girl Scout Troop 525 outside the polling place at Pikesville High School in Baltimore County.
Business was "good," Scott said. By a little after 4 p.m., they had sold 80 boxes.
Voter turnout running slightly below average
Based on early numbers, Maryland election officials say turnout may be running slightly below average for a gubernatorial election in the state.
State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone says turnout on Tuesday was running about 46 percent of registered voters. About 10 percent of registered voters took advantage of early voting. So the election board is projecting a 56 percent turnout.
Lamone says Maryland gubernatorial elections generally draw about 60 percent of voters.
She says turnout could improve later in the day because it was cold Tuesday morning.
Voting issue reported in Baltimore County
Be sure to review your ballot carefully before submitting your vote. That’s what Miriam Barr had to do, after she had trouble voting at Timonium Elementary Tuesday morning.
At about 10 a.m., she was standing at a machine near the school stage and had successfully chosen her candidate for governor and lieutenant governor. But when Barr, 83, tried to select a senator, Barbara Mikulski’s name popped up.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “It always reverted back to my opposition.”
After three tries to correct it, Barr raised her hand and an election worker came to help. “She tried it, it did the same thing,” Barr said. “She called a couple of people but they never came over.”
The election judge was able to clear the problem by only reverting to the original ballot. Barr was more vigilant at checking her selections that time, and was ultimately able to submit her ballot.
“I checked every one of my votes before I left the machine,” she said. “It took me longer than anyone else but I made sure my votes were right.”
Ross Goldstein, deputy administrator for the state board of elections, said there were a few possible explanations for this problem.
People with long fingernails trying to use the pad of their fingers to select their candidates sometimes inadvertently touch the box above with their nail first, he said. Voters with this problem can just use their fingernails or even the back of a pencil or a pen to hit the correct spot. But Barr said her nails are very short. “I can’t get them to grow,” she said.
Machines also get out of calibration, Goldstein said. If election judges could duplicate the problem, they are supposed to shut down the machine and not let others use it. “The calibration is usually pretty good,” he said. Every unit is tested for both calibration and correct ballot counting before Election Day, he said.
“Generally speaking, if a machine is out of calibration, it’s going to be like that for everybody,” Goldstein said.
Barr said she told the poll worker who took her card that the machine was malfunctioning, and he said he would keep an eye on it. “I’ve never had that happen to me — not in the primaries, not last year,” she said.
Liz F. Kay
Voting is a family affair
For Charlene Knight and her granddaughter Shontavia Knight, voting isn't just a civic duty — it's downright near a family obligation.
After casting their ballots at their precinct in the Westfield neighborhood in Baltimore early Tuesday afternoon, Charlene, 58, and Shontavia, 19, stopped to talk about the long tradition of voting in their family, as the new generation of that family — Shontavia's 4-year-old girl Sy'Rai Knight and 2-year-old boy Carl Knight-Stansbury — played nearby, proudly sporting "I Voted" stickers on their hands.
"I've been bringing [Shontavia] to vote since she was as little as them," Charlene said. "We're training them."
Shontavia said this was her second time voting in an election, and said she didn't believe people had a right to complain about policies if they failed to vote.
"Your vote determines everything — the economic situation, social, the schooling," she said. "[People] always complain that the recreational centers aren't being taken care of or they're closing down, but people aren't coming to vote."
Both Charlene and Shontavia said they voted for the incumbent Martin O'Malley in the race for governor, because they believe he had been unfairly blamed by his opponent, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., for Maryland's job losses in recent years.
"All of a sudden it seems like 'boom,' they're blaming everything on what happened recently," Charlene said. "The governor is helping to bring us forward."
The polling station at Hamilton Elementary Middle School, where the Knights voted, had already seen about 420 voters by 1 p.m., said David Getz, an election official at the precinct. That represented a 25 percent turnout for the precinct's eligible voters, putting the precinct on pace to improve on the primary day's approximate 25 percent turnout, Getz said.
He said the gubernatorial race and prodding from politicians for residents to vote could be reasons for the higher turnout.
Yeganeh June Torbati
Sarah Kuznear couldn't believe how indifferent her college friends seemed when she brought up voting.
"Hardly any of them are into politics," said the 18-year-old UMBC freshman from Ellicott City. "It's one of your rights, and they don't take it."
Kuznear, on the other hand, couldn't wait to cast her first votes to put Republican candidates in office. She comes from a family of hunters who believe strongly in the right to bear arms, and she and her brother have spent years stuffing envelopes for conservative candidates.
After all the build-up to voting, she was surprised how quickly it went. "You just push a button," she said.
Despite the morning chill, Kuznear stood outside her polling place at Ellicott Mills Middle School, wearing an orange T-shirt for Republican congressional candidate Frank Mirabile and handing out campaign literature.
She said she had met both gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. "Ehrlich is very friendly," she said. "It's a whole vibe he has. He actually took the time to talk with us and ask what we care about. O'Malley was very impersonal and seemed to just care about how he appeared."
Brittany Meyer, a 19-year-old student at Howard Community College, didn't approach her first vote with quite as much zeal but did have a clear favorite in the gubernatorial race.
"I'm with Ehrlich," she said. "I share his views and my family is from Arbutus, where his family is from. I mainly just picked with the Republican Party."
She had never been to a polling place and said the experience left an impression. "All these people outside waiting to give you pamphlets," she said. "It definitely tells you oh, this is important. This does make a difference."
High turnout in at North Harford in Baltimore
Turnout has been high at the North Harford Recreation Center, where Republican chief judge Darryl Bonner said more than 260 had voted as of 11:30 a.m. Only 300 had voted on primary voting day, he said, attributing Tuesday’s high turnout to the gubernatorial race.
Clayton and Ellen Matthews, who moved to Maryland from Tennessee in 2007, said they each voted for O’Malley.
Clayton, a 67-year-old retiree, said he was pleased with O’Malley, “as much as you can be pleased with any politician.”
“It was really more against Ehrlich than anything else,” he said, adding that he wanted to vote “against insanity,” referring to the tea party movement.
Ellen, 65, added that she too did not like Ehrlich. “I think he's mean and vindictive and I just don't like the way he went campaigning,” she said.
Yeganeh June Torbati
Write-in campaign in Baltimore County
Julian Jones recalled an encounter with an enthusiastic supporter for his write-in campaign as he greeted voters at Millford Mill Academy this morning. Unfortunately for Jones, who is running for County Council, the voter had written him in as a candidate for delegate.
"Jones, I wrote you in," the man told him,"because I can't stand that damn [Del. Emmett] Burns."
"That's the challenge of running a write-in campaign. I anticipate a certain percentage of that happening," Jones said, "but I'm encouraged that we'll make it up."
— Raven Hill; more on the Maryland Politics blog
Howard County voters opt for different choices
The two competitors for Howard County executive expressed their relative helplessness on Election Day.
"Election Day for me is the toughest day," said Ken Ulman, the Democratic incumbent county executive, who was greeting voters outside Clarksville Middle School. "We've done all the work. We feel like we've made the case, but it's up to the voters."
Trent Kittleman, the Republican candidate, spent the day riding from polling place to polling place in a white recreational vehicle festooned with Republican campaign posters. At Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, she too said Election Day is different. "It's a beautiful day and people are out," she said joking that she's been "feeding Democrats" as well as Republicans on her travels.
"We offered voters a choice," she said, and all that's left is to await their decision.
Most voters chose gubernatorial candidates from one of the major parties, but not Charles Lindner, 69, of Ellicott City, who voted at Ellicott Mills Middle School in Howard County at mid-morning. He said he is a registered Democrat. "I voted for the constitutional party," he said. "I know he's not going to win, but I wanted to send a message for change." Both O'Malley and Ehrlich represent entrenched special interest groups, albiet different ones, Lindner said, and he's tired of it.
At Columbia's Hammond High School, independent voter Patrick Frith, 47, an IT worker, said he voted for Democrats this time, frustrating the hopes of Republicans to capture independent voters.
"I really didn't see a reason to change," he said about O'Malley. The incumbent governor has run a more positive campaign, he felt. "I considered voting for Ehrlich," Frith said, but rejected the idea after seeing the candidate's comments in a League of women Voters voter's guide. "there was a negative feel," he said.
— Larry Carson
Longtime resident opposes slots at Arundel Mills
It was 7:20 a.m. at Anne Arundel Fire Station No. 21 near Arundel Mills Mall, and the voting machines weren't working yet, thanks to a security malfunction.
But as steam rose from the Styrofoam coffee cup in his hand, Ronn Harry said he didn't mind waiting outside for a while. It gave him more time to ponder what he'd come to vote against: incumbent politicians and Question A, the initiative that would put slots at the mall.
Harry, 44, grew up in Harmans, the little town just down the hill at the intersection of Old Dorsey Road and Hanford Drive, and like most of his neighbors, he remembers a day when the place was just a little outpost in the woods — the kind of setting city folks drove to on Sundays to get away from it all.
Then they built Route 100, then the mall, then the cluster of hotels that dot the area. "I never thought I'd see a day when I could stand on this hill, look over there and see rooftops like that," he said, pointing toward a Howard Johnson's.
It isn't that Harry, a telecommunications technician, wants to go back to the days when people could hike or hunt in the woods in the very spot where the mall now stands. "I don't oppose change, as long as the change makes sense," he said.
But with its movie theaters and restaurants, the mall was supposed to be a family-friendly place, he said, and it's hard to see how a gambling emporium fits the theme. Harry doesn't fully trust the kind of people it will attract.
He's not sure it will be a criminal element, exactly, but he's sure they won't be the kind likely to have a soft spot for the Harmans he loves -- a place where the kids who attended Harmans Elementary with him are now buying the 1950s-era Cape Cod houses their parents once owned. "Home's where the heart is," he said.
He hasn't discussed the issue much with neighbors, he said, but from the looks of the yard signs in the area, he's not alone in opposing Question A. "The commercials are trying to say if we don't vote for this now, it's the county's last chance. That's garbage," he said.
By 8, the machines were up and running, the line was moving and Harry was taking a last sip from his cup. "Time to replace some politicians," he said and went inside.
— Jonathan Pitts
A Republican rarity in the city
In this city where Democratic voter registrations dwarf those of Republicans by 9 to 1, Gerald Mallory, the chief — and lone — Republican judge at a precinct in the Hillen neighborhood, is a rare bird.
Take his Democratic counterpart's word for it: "I would think it'd be like being an endangered species," George Antczak said during an early-morning lull in the stream of voters coming to cast ballots at the Northwood Appold Community Academy on Tuesday.
Antczak is the chief Democratic judge at the precinct, and six other Democratic judges are working the polls with him Tuesday. As the sole Republican judge at the precinct, Mallory will be called on all day to weigh in on voter questions with the Democratic judges to ensure there is no bias in the information voters receive.
"He is enough Republican to take on all seven Democrats," Antczak said with a laugh. "There is no one else like Gerald."
For his part, Mallory shrugs off the suggestion that he is extraordinary. An affable presence guiding voters to the registration table on the brisk Tuesday morning, it was clear that he enjoyed his role.
"This is not real hard work," he said.
Mallory said he voted via absentee ballot last week, and declined to discuss his voting choices. His family, originally from Philadelphia, was always interested in politics, he said.
"Almost out of my mother's womb we followed elections," said Mallory, who has been an election judge in Baltimore since 1998.
Polls can technically open with just one election judge, but Antczak said it is preferable to have a judge from each party to ensure neutrality. That can be difficult in a heavily Democratic precinct like this one, making Mallory a hot commodity.
"Gerald has been solid as long as we've had him," Antczak said.
— Yeganeh June Torbati
GOP's Brian Murphy to watch from home
Onetime Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Brian Murphy will watch the election results come in from the comfort of his couch in Montgomery County, his spokeswoman said. The tea party favorite captured about 24 percent of votes in the September primary against Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
— Julie Bykowicz; more on the Maryland Poiltics blog
Air of resignation in Guilford
There was an air of resignation among some voters this morning as they filed into a polling place at the First English Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten in Baltimore's Guilford neighborhood. The feeling seemed to be that, at least on a national level, Democratic candidates were in for a rough day, if only because of low turnouts on the left.
"I'm a liberal, and I'm afraid that this is going to be a bit of romp, because so many Democrats aren't going to vote," said Barbara Lamb, the former managing editor of the Johns Hopkins University Press, now retired. "They've been told so many times that Republicans are going to win that they're not bothering."
Lamb and other voters said, however, that the Obama administration is not getting the credit it deserves.
"The Democrats came into a staggeringly difficult situation," Lamb said, referring to the previous administration's management of the economy and two wars. "Given all the circumstances, they've done rather well."
Felicity Ross, holding the hand of her 3-year-old son, Sawyer, was of a similar mind.
"It does look bad," she said. "I understand people are frustrated because of the economy. But people are delusional if they think the huge problems that this administration inherited could be fixed so soon. There are indications that things are turning around, but it's slow."
— Nick Madigan
Steady traffic in Towson, Mays Chapel
An election judge at a polling place in Mays Chapel reported that as of 10:15 a.m., turnout was higher than this year's primary election. Voters waited in a long line that stretched through the vestibule nearly to the door of Mays Chapel United Methodist Church.
At Loch Raven High School in Towson, an election judge said that 72 people were in line when the doors opened this morning at 7. By 9 a.m. there were no lines, but the judge said that the flow of voters coming in had been steady all morning.
— Michelle Deal-Zimmerman and Steve Sullivan
Election Day car trouble
Democratic state Sen. James Brochin of Baltimore County has been running hard to hold onto his seat for a third term against tough competition this year from conservative Republican Kevin Carney, a small businessman and president of the Maryland Community Builders Foundation. At Riderwood Elementary School this morning, though, his car had apparently given up the fight.
— Arthur Hirsch; more on the Maryland Politics blog
Holt pitches the black vote in Randallstown
Republican Ken Holt worked the crowd at Randallstown High School on Tuesday, hoping to pick up more votes than conventional political wisdom would suggest he could in the predominantly African American community. Holt, who is running against Democrat Kevin Kamenetz for Baltimore County Executive, said he believed that voters would be intrigued by his proposal to build a Negro League-themed museum and heritage park along the struggling Liberty Road corridor.
— Raven Hill; more on the Maryland Politics blog
Young people turn out early in N. Baltimore, election official says
Corrine Stanley, 63, a Democratic election official at the Northwood Appold Community Academy in north Baltimore’s Hillen neighborhood, said young people came out early to vote this morning, with 10 to 12 waiting as the polls opened.
Stanley, an advocate for “restorative justice” who wants less harsh sentences for people convicted of serious crimes, said she voted for O’Malley. “He still got a long way to go,” Stanley said. “He addressed issues we were having in the community. I'm hoping he does right by the justice system too.”
Kamenetz starts in Owings Mills, swings east
Turnout seemed light at Riderwood Elementary School in Towson, where Baltimore County executive candidate Kevin Kamenetz was greeting voters Tuesday morning, but he said it was steady in his previous stop at Har Sinai Congregation near his Owings Mills home. He said he’d been encouraged by very strong early voting at Randallstown Community Center in the neighboring District 4, which Kamenetz used to represent on the council.
— Arthur Hirsch; more on the Maryland Politics blog
Voters line up to cast their ballots
Wait times were short at polls at the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s central branch, where a small number of voters waited to cast their ballots just after 7 a.m.
Michael Harris, 41, stopped to vote for Gov. Martin O’Malley before heading off to his job as a computer programmer. “I based it on the job that Ehrlich had done when he was in office,” he said.
Barbara L. Joyner, 62, was motivated by opposite desires. “I just think we need a change,” said the registered Democrat, who voted for Ehrlich. “I’m not sure how much he can do,” she said, but recalled that she was pleased by Ehrlich’s record when he was governor.
The retired administrative assistant said she was disappointed by negative political ads that provided irrelevant information, such as Ehrlich’s employer while he was out of office. “I just think Martin is like a petulant little school boy,” she said.
Frances Radovich, 82, said she voted today “just to get a Democrat in.” She has been voting for 61 years, and said she’s never voted for a Republican. “I have never seen a Republican in office that was for a poor person,” she said.
Ken McDonough, 53, said he was independent but voted mostly for Republicans as well as Gregg L. Bernstein for Baltimore state’s attorney. “He just has the right philosophy for me,” he said. McDonough, a general contractor and property manager, said he used to be more liberal when he was younger, but now he’s grown more fiscally conservative.
“I voted no on anything where they asked for money,” he said, except for a city recreation and parks request. “I think it’s ridiculous to ask for money in this environment,” McDonough said.
He also voted against the constitutional convention. “I don’t want them to touch that. They might mess it up,” he said. “There’s less common sense today than there used to be.”
Evon Winborne, 53, was already leaning toward voting this morning but was convinced by hearing pundits on the radio talking as if the elections were already decided.
The high school science teacher was frustrated by partisan bickering and an absence of information about what candidates planned to do differently. “How are you going to make it better?” she said. “What is your plan?”
— Liz F. Kay
Maryland Politics: Election Day begins
Maryland Politics had an
, including the voting plans of Gov. Martin O'Malley and challenger Robert L. Ehrlich.
Polls in Maryland open at 7 a.m.
Maryland polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone standing on line at 8 p.m. will be permitted to vote, according to the Maryland Board of Elections website.
To find your polling place, go to the
— Liz F. Kay