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Washington County voters turned out in force

November 05, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ and ERIN JULIUS

View the "Voters and Voices" slideshow.

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- There were strong feelings Tuesday for both major-party presidential candidates at Washington County's polling places.

"Without a doubt -- John McCain," said Todd Drust of Hagerstown, voting at Horst Fencing Service at Huyetts Crossroads.

"I voted for Barack," said Robert Click of Hagerstown, whose polling place was Williamsport High School. "We need fresh choices."

As democracy played itself out, turnout was high throughout the day in numerous precincts.

By 3 p.m., 1,261 people, more than 50 percent of voters registered in the precinct, had cast ballots at Fountaindale Elementary School in Hagerstown.

Chief Judge Tim Wood said a line formed before the polling place opened at 7 a.m.

At Williamsport High School, people were waiting in the hallway for voting to start, Chief Judge Ken Schmidt said.

In the middle of the afternoon, turnout was around 50 percent at Horst Fencing, Williamsport High, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Halfway and Bethel Gardens in Hagerstown.

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"It's been steady all day," Chief Judge Jack McCarter said at Horst Fencing, where two precincts vote.

Bobbi Cook of Hagerstown said she voted for Barack Obama out of concern for the economy. She said people can't afford health insurance and she hopes Obama can change that.

With his 4-year-old son, Declan, at his side, Drust said McCain matches his views. "I'm conservative, and Obama's way too liberal," Drust said.

Ross Lorshbaugh of Hagerstown said Obama was an easy pick. "I'm pretty much a party person," he said. "I've been Democrat all my life."

Lisa Gerringer of Hagerstown wouldn't reveal which presidential candidate she supported, but said she voted "just because it's my civic duty."

After voting at Williamsport High, Mary Lady of Williamsport said she backs McCain because of his moral character. "I vote the Bible," she said.

As she exited St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sandra Goltz of Halfway said McCain won her support by opposing abortion and gay marriage. "I think he knows what this country's about," she said.

Pat Kuvala, voting in his first presidential election, preferred Obama. "McCain is another George W. Bush and we don't need that," he said.

Kevin Botts, another first-time voter, said he prefers Obama over McCain for his proposals on health care coverage.

At Fountaindale, Krista Bookheimer of Hagerstown brought her daughters, Karly, 7, and Katelyn, 11, to vote. "I'm looking to see some changes," she said. "And to teach my children their rights as citizens."

John Hill of Hagerstown wore a shirt that read "Iron Workers Support Obama-Biden." He was voting for Obama, "not just because he's a black man, but because he's the best man."

Hill said he is worried about the economy and health care and wants U.S. troops to come home. "I've still got buddies over there," said Hill, a former Marine. "I've got buddies who died over there."

Jane Cochran voted "to be sure I get the right man in -- John McCain, hopefully," she said.

McCain is "reliable in comparison to the other one," she said.

At Bethel Gardens' Community Room on Henry Avenue, Chief Judge Gene Davis called it an "exceptional day" and said the precinct had been "very busy."

A man in a car honked his horn and called, "it's time for a change."

Several voters there said they were casting ballots for the first time.

Latisha Campbell of Hagerstown registered to vote in September. "Not everybody has that right," she said.

The economy and education were important topics for her. "I felt the candidate I voted for can make a difference," Campbell said.

Wearing an Obama-Biden button, Clarence Bowman of Hagerstown votes in all presidential elections. "Whoever it is, whether it's McCain or Barack Obama, I hope that everything goes well," he said.

For Patrick Luxim, another first-time voter, ending the war in Iraq was the top issue. "Too many people have lost their lives over there," he said.

More than 100 people had voted in Fairplay in the first hour polls were open, Chief Judge Jody Bishop said.

Darren Kaufman of Boonsboro said he "wanted to do my part to put in the president and vice president that I believe in." For him, the economy, education and the price of gas were concerns.

He also wanted a president that will "lower our taxes and fight for the middle class."

"I'm concerned about jobs being generated," he said.

For William Hoop, voting is not just a right. "It's your responsibility as a good citizen, as a citizen of this country ... an opportunity not to be taken for granted," he said.

As a small-business owner, Hoop said he voted for the candidate he believe would most help him and his employees.

Working the full-service gas pumps at Horst Fencing, Dan Newlin said he was skeptical of Obama for his lack of experience and liked McCain because of his military background.

Either way, though, the country will carry on, said Newlin, who used to have a plumbing business in Hagerstown's West End.

"We're like a sore," he said. "No matter what you do, it's gonna get well and it'll take care of itself."




For more information



o The Maryland State Board of Elections Web site is at www.elections.state.md.us.

o The Washington County Board of Elections Web site is at www.washco-md.net/election/elect1.html.

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