Washington County ready for high voter turnout

November 04, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Election officials have prepared for a higher-than-usual voter turnout today.

Dorothy Kaetzel, Washington County's election director, said she expects about 80 percent of the county's 85,184 registered voters to cast votes this year.

In 2004, during the last presidential election, 58,086 of the 77,309 registered voters turned out to vote, for a turnout of 75.13 percent, she said.

Kaetzel asked that voters be patient if they have to stand in line, and recommended voting between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when polling places would be the least busy.


"If there are any really big crowds, we will be able to send out additional voting units," she said.

Anticipating a higher turnout this year, election officials have added voting units and election judges, who check people in at polling places, Kaetzel said.

At Washington County polling places, there is about one voting unit for every 200 voters, she said.

If something drastic happens, such as voting unit failure, each precinct will have enough paper ballots for voters, Kaetzel said.

Charles Nestor, 64, of Hagerstown, was set to vote in today's presidential election. If lines are long today, he will "just put up with it," Nestor said.

Health care is an important issue this year, Nestor said, and "the economy's got everybody going."

Helen Hose, 78, of Hagerstown, was dropping off her and her husband's absentee ballots at the Board of Elections on Monday.

"It's important to get out and vote," she said.

Bethea Chambers of Hagerstown said lines would not deter her from voting today.

"I'm going in there with a positive attitude," she said.

Social Security, disability issues and other health issues are important to her, Chambers said.

The possibility of long lines somewhat concerned Renee Bradford, but it's "something we have to deal with," she said.

Economic issues are her No. 1 concern, said Bradford, of Hagerstown. Health care and "us getting out of Iraq" also are important, she said.

Bradford's daughter, Courtney, 14, also mentioned the environment as an issue.

For more information

o The Washington County Board of Elections can be reached at 240-313-2050.

o The Maryland State Board of Elections Web site is at

o The Washington County Board of Elections Web site is at

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