Face coverings and hand sanitizer were commonplace at the Talley Recreation Center in Frederick and Urbana Regional Library as hundreds of county voters participated in the presidential primary Tuesday. 

Jim Gugel and Marc Mitchell, chief election judges at the Talley Recreation Center, said at about 11 a.m. Tuesday that voting was mostly running smoothly, outside of a bat that had flown into the voting center, causing a minor disruption.

Voters were filtering in and out of the main entrance on the eastern side of the building with little to no wait Tuesday morning.

"Typically, first thing in the morning, it's a really busy time," Gugel, who has served as a judge in several prior elections, said. "Because the morning turnout wasn't really big, we really didn't have long wait times."

Mitchell said as of 11:15 a.m., 171 ballots had been cast. 

"If people voted by mail, we are perfectly happy," he said of the low turnout.

Ron Hemby, a 58-year-old Republican from Frederick, said voting was easy Tuesday. He voted for Bill Weld for president, Neil Parrott for the 6th Congressional district but didn't vote in the Board of Education races.

Hemby said he has no kids currently in Frederick County Public Schools, which could have been a motivator in that last decision.

Timothy Roediger, a 47-year-old self-described libertarian from Frederick, said he voted for Donald Trump for president and Parrott for the 6th Congressional district. 

He only voted for Jason "Mr. J" Johnson for the Board of Education, noting it seemed he had more of a local connection than the other candidates.

"It seemed like a lot of Board of Education people were from out of town ... it seemed like [Johnson] was more of an in-town guy," Roediger said.

Andrea Eckles, 53, of Knoxville, noted she voted for Lois Jarman for the Board of Education. 

"I know her as a person, and I know her passion for people, and she's a person who gets things done," said Eckles, a Republican.

Daniel Sweeney, 49, of Brunswick, said he usually votes closer to home, but felt it was important to make the trip to the Talley Recreation Center. 

Sweeney cast votes for Trump and Parrott, but said "he threw darts" in regards to the Board of Education race, picking Jason "Mr. J" Johnson, Andrea Artman and Dean Rose.

Whoever people vote for, it's important county residents exercise their right, especially this fall, Sweeney said.

"If anybody in the last three months has stood in line at a grocery store or a Walmart ... then I see no reason why we can't stand in line to go vote in November," Sweeney said.

Shortly before noon Tuesday, the scene was a little busier at Urbana Regional Library, as more than a dozen county residents waited outside for their turn to vote. 

Erik Rensberger, one of the chief judges there, said a voting station was set up outside for those who didn't want to wear a mask while voting, but that masks were also provided for prospective voters. Just under 200 people had voted as of around noon, he added.

Like at the Talley Recreation Center, poll workers were instructed to wipe down voting desks and machines after each use, Rensberger said.

"It's the logistics of how to have the maximum safety precautions while still guaranteeing that everybody who has the right to vote, has been able to do so," he said.

At one point, county resident Shaun Porter told election workers he was allowed to cast a vote without wearing a mask. Porter filmed some sheriff's deputies who arrived after casting his vote, making that argument.

Others, however, voted with masks on.

That included Edward Jordan, 75, of Monrovia. Jordan, a Democrat, said he voted for Joe Biden for president, Jamie Raskin for the 8th District and David Bass, Lois Jarman and Jason "Mr. J" Johnson for the Board of Education.

Brittany Smith, 31, and Courtney Smith, 26, are two sisters from Urbana that also voted. They both voted for Biden for president and Raskin for Congress, and said it was important to do their civic duty Tuesday.

"It was important to me because I like the traditional style of voting," Brittany Smith said. "It gives me a sense of pride and purpose."

Jane Diehl, 71, of New Market, said she voted for Trump for president, but also felt it was important to vote in-person.

"I just want to make sure my vote is counted," Diehl said. "I don't want it to get lost in the shuffle."

Alessandro Burlew, 23, of Monrovia, made the mistake of throwing out his mail-in ballot with other junk mail. Burlew, a Democrat, believes his vote doesn't matter as much because of how heavily Democratic the state is, but he still felt it was important to vote.

"I think there's a lot of people who say if you don't vote, you don't have a say," Burlew said. "I don't know if that applies to Maryland .... but I don't want anyone to say that about me."

In addition to in-person votes, vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday or ones dropped off at specific lock-box locations before 8 p.m. Tuesday will all be tallied for the final numbers.

The county's Board of Elections will canvass in-person and other remaining ballots at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and hold a meeting to review results and canvassing at 3 p.m.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(9) comments

threecents

Picture #3 is a hoot. OMG.

bosco

Yeah, how's that mask working?[ninja]

Shaun Porter

Sherriff Deputy Richard Balswel threatens to arrest man for standing in line to vote without a mask claiming he is trespassing on private property at the Urbana public library. This deputy violated Federal law by intimidating , threatening and falsely claiming requirements of a facemask to enter a polling location to cast an in person ballot. The matter has been reported to the Frederick field office of the FBI for invwstigation. Here is the video of a deputy who doesn't even know the legal requirements of a trespass arrest.

Watch "June 2, 2020" on YouTube

https://youtu.be/u28MF8oDV4A

threecents

The governor's executive order is law and the county agreed to it. Since the public library where this occurred is county property, the county can declare it closed to people not following the executive order. Case closed. And if you want to make it a voting rights case, that man is preventing others afraid of catching the virus from voting and working at the polling center. The guy was just grandstanding to try to make a political statement, and the statement was stupid, wrong, selfish, and anti-democratic.

steelersfan2005

no one violated your constitutional right as the mask is a state mandated order. Did you try to walk in to vote without clothes on too, after all thats state mandated too. Stop trying to justify your video because its laughable at best. The deputy upheld the state law, so nice try, but put the darn mask on and stop whining, because you were in the wrong.

rbtdt5

Surprised everyone else in line didn't beat him for not wearing a mask. He was probably lucky the cop was there.

threecents

[thumbdown]Rbt

hayduke2

All the idiot had to do was comply with wearing a mask.

bosco

Totally agree with you hayduke2. The guy was spoiling for a confrontation and probably hoping for some ad revenue from YouTube.

I don't like the masks anymore than anyone else, but I'll wear one when required. [ninja]

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