Franchot, voters weigh in at Baltimore polls
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot greeted a steady stream of voters Tuesday afternoon at the polling place at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School in Northeast Baltimore, one stop on a swing across the state from Montgomery and Howard counties and Baltimore to Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. He found polling places operating relatively smoothly – except long waits at some places in Baltimore County – but an election that left the electorate with “very, very strained feelings.”
“Whatever happens today, tomorrow I am going to suggest to the governor we go out and have some town meetings to remind Marylanders, we’re Marylanders first and Democrats and Republicans second, just to lower the temperature,” said Franchot, who is not on the ballot for re-election this cycle. “The theory is, maybe we can build something from the bottom up. We keep waiting for Washington to behave and we just can’t count on it – whoever wins.”
Tara Priester, 46, said she was glued to coverage of the presidential election, watching the debates and monitoring – but never engaging – her social media accounts. She just opened up a companion care business and said she worries about the fallout from the election.
The Northeast Baltimore woman said she was embarrassed for the country as she watched the debates with her children and felt much of the election played out like a Hollywood script.
“The presidential election has just been so scary,” said Priester, who did not want to reveal her choice. “It hasn’t appeared to be real.”
Edwina Harlee, 33, said she couldn’t stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump, so she wrote in the name of a long shot Democratic candidate.
“I felt in my conscious I wouldn’t feel right as a person voting for either one of them,” Harlee said. “It wasn’t going to sit right with me.”
John Patras snapped a photo of his wife, Michele, outside Hazelwood elementary to mark the occasion.
Michele Patras, a 60-year-old recent retiree, wore an orange Orioles T-shirt, calling for the team’s mascot “The Bird” for president.
“Deep down in my heart, I really wasn’t real sure about either,” she said. “Neither was my first choice. I thought, ‘Hey, let’s go with The Bird for president.”
In the end, she voted for Clinton, because she felt the former secretary of state had the necessary experience. Trump would take the country in the wrong direction, she said.
“In my lifetime, this is the most important race,” Michele Patras said. “It’s pretty scary what’s going on right now. If he wins, we could be at war next week.”
Across the city at Hampstead Hill Academy in Canton, Democrat Zeke Cohen and Republican Matt McDaniel, rivals in the race for the City Council’s 1st District, staked out opposite sides of the entrance along with their teams.
Brian Turbeville of Patterson Park, said he voted for Cohen, because the candidate asked him to as he entered the precinct.
Had he walked in the other way, the 33-year-old who works in banking would have been greeted by McDaniel or his volunteers. Turbeville said what brought him to the polls was a chance to vote against Trump.
“I was not excited about either of them,” Turbeville said. “Trump scares me. I look at the international ramifications of him being president, that’s really what swayed me.”
Albert and Lauren Smith, unaffiliated voters from Highlandtown, voted for McDaniel. Choosing between the two was tough, Albert Smith said.
“I don’t think either guy is going to do a bad job,” he said, adding that the chance to seat a Republican on the City Council for the first time since the 1940s also was an appealing factor.
“We’ve been a Democratically run city for a long time, and a lot of things are not right, in my mind, so why not shake it up a bit?” he said.
-- Yvonne Wenger