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Democracy in action

Local voters line up early today to cast ballots

Local voters line up early today to cast ballots

November 07, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

In contrast to the disappointing turnout in the recent primary election, some Washington County voters were lined up this morning to cast their ballots before the polling places were even open.

Voters living in District 2-B in Sharpsburg could hardly wait to get to the polls at the elementary school to choose their candidates in the 2006 general election.

"People were waiting when we got here," said Betty Meyers, chief judge. "It's been a very, very busy start."

Polls all around Washington County opened at 7 a.m. They will remain open until 8 tonight.

With just over 2,000 registered voters, the Sharpsburg Elementary School precinct usually has at least a 50 percent turnout or better in a general election, Meyers said this morning around 8 a.m.

"I think it is a little busier than usual this early," she said.

There was a line of about 10 people at Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown when polls opened there, according to Dave Gysberts, chief judge.

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"By 9 a.m., 85 people had voted," Gysberts said. "Only about 270 total voted in the primary - I think it's a good sign."

Western Heights has approximately 1,100 registered voters in District 2-C, Gysberts said.

Jim Willetts, chief judge at the Potomac Valley Fire Company in District 3-B, said that the machines were working well and the weather was holding up as of 8 a.m.

"It's cloudy but not raining," he said.

A newcomer, Willetts said he signed up when the call went out for volunteers and is serving his first year as an election judge.

"People started lining up at 6:55 a.m.," Willetts said.

A steady flow of District 2-A voters has been filing through the Maugansville Ruritan Building since the polls opened at 7 a.m., according to Ron Frey, chief judge.

"There were three or four people lined up when we arrived," Frey said. The weather was dry but cloudy and Frey said he hopes any rain holds off for the approximately 870 registered voters who are eligible cast ballots there today.

At Clear Spring High School, Emily Knode, chief judge, said even drizzling rain didn't deter voters from showing up before the District 1-C polling place opened this morning.

"There was a big line," Knode said of the precinct which has approximately 1,800 registered voters. A veteran judge, Knode said the precinct usually boasts close to a 50 percent turnout.

While busy with her duties today, Knode said she couldn't help but remember back two years ago when the 2004 general election had an unexpected impact on her personal life.

"Our first grandson, Keller Knode, was being born that election day but we didn't get to see him until 10:30 p.m. - we had to finish up here at the polling place," she said.

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