UPDATE: Race-Weary, Rockville Goes to the Polls
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Update, 7:05 p.m., Nov. 6:
The bumper stickers on the back of Colin Alter’s car said it all: “Vote Against Question 5” next to a John Delaney sticker that matched the T-shirt Alter wore over several layers of clothing on a chilly Election Day afternoon in Rockville.
Alter had spent much of the campaign extolling the virtues of Delaney—for whom Alter’s wife worked—and decrying what he said was the hilarity of Maryland’s recently redrawn congressional districts, which are the subject of Question 5.
He had spent the morning driving voters to the polls in Rockville as part of Delaney's campaign to unseat 10-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Dist. 6) of Buckeystown.
Delaney has broad appeal, Alter said. With his background of a fortune made in the financial services industry, Delaney “looks more like a Republican than a Democrat,” Alter said.
“Then on social issues, for most Democrats, he’s easy to support,” he said. “[He’s] pro-education, pro-environment, pro-economy.”
Question 5, on the other hand ... “[Voters] look at the map and they say ‘You’re kidding, aren’t you?’” he said.
Alter said he realizes that lawmakers seek political advantages through redistricting. It’s just that he’d like to see lawmakers redraw the lines in a way that is “less obvious, more fair to all the candidates.”
Election district boundaries have given candidates around the country “safe seats,” said Bob Atlas, of Rockville.
“There’s a lot of playing around with things that aren’t very democratic,” he said.
Alter produced a handbill that shows the redrawn Congressional districts on a map of Maryland, including the 3rd Congressional District held by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D) of Baltimore.
Political analysts, geospatial engineers and even Comedy Central have called the redrawn 3rd District one of the most gerrymandered and least contiguous districts in the country, he said.
Alter described a debate he overheard in an early voting line between a paleontologist and a forensic scientist about whether the district’s outline more closely resembles a pterodactyl or the more commonly used description of a blood spatter.
It lacks the symmetry of either, they decided, Alter said. The consensus: paint drippings, he said.
“Whatever it is, it’s a joke,” Alter said.
Update, 5:40 p.m., Nov. 6:
Television commercials. For Candidate A. Against Candidate B. For expanded casino gaming. Against expanded casino gaming.
If you watched TV in Maryland this campaign season you couldn’t miss them.
The Washington Post reported Monday that gambling interests on either side of Question 7 have spent more than $90 million combined during the campaign. The number of TV ads at all hours of the day and night seemed to suggest where much of that money went.
Come Wednesday, many Marylanders will be happy to safely turn on the telly without having to face another attack ad.
Rockville resident Joyce Giambalvo said she’ll be happy that she can safely answer her telephone again.
Giambalvo said she received as many as 12 campaign calls a day in the run up to Election Day. She told friends not to block their number on her caller ID or she wouldn’t pick up.
“I think they should be limited on the number of times they can call,” she said. “One morning I had nine [calls].”
A full mailbox is one thing, Giambalvo said. A ringing phone in another room is quite another.
“I mean, the junk mail you can throw away,” she said.
Update, 4:15 p.m., Nov. 6:
Outside Earle B. Wood Middle School in Rockville on Tuesday morning, Sanford Gold handed out campaign literature and worried.
“I’m an Obama supporter, but I’m worried because I think there’s a lot of undecided people,” said Gold, 77, of Rockville.
The former U.S. Department of Labor employee offered a theory on the state of the nation’s economy.
“Business has been holding back on job opportunities to make Obama look bad,” he said. “And I think there will be a resurgence of job opportunities when Romney wins.”
Besides the presidential election, voters seemed to be focused on Question 7 on the Maryland ballot, Gold said. The referendum asks voters whether they want to expand gambling at casinos to include table games and add a new casino in Prince George’s County.
Gold said he voted for the measure, but remained skeptical about its purpose.
“G— d— if that money doesn’t go for education,” he said. “I’d go after those delegates and the senators and hold them accountable.”
Update, 3 p.m., Nov. 6:
Voting at Earle B. Wood Middle School in Rockville on Tuesday left Bob Atlas with a question.
It wasn’t about the legal jargon of a ballot question or a question about for whom to vote—two challenges some other voters said they faced.
“I wonder why lines were so long for early voting when this goes so fast?” Atlas said, after spending about 10 minutes in the polling place.
Five days of early voting produced double the turnout of the 2010 election in Montgomery County—even when interrupted by two days of cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy. Lines for early voting stretched around Bauer Drive Community Center and voters reported two-hour waits at the polls.
It was misleading advertising for a few voters who arrived at the community center on Tuesday not realizing Election Day voting was being held next door at the school, where there were no lines outside.
About 22 percent of the precinct’s 2,200 voters voted early, an election volunteer said.
The morning rush brought 361 voters to Wood Middle School by 10 a.m. By 1 p.m. turnout had grown to 440.
Atlas, 64, was firm in why he came out: “To vote for the president,” he said. “There’s a tremendous difference in the parties. [The candidates] said it, and it was one of the few things they were both right about."
The presidential candidates outlined different directions for the country, he said. Now, he was glad they were done campaigning.
“Listening to that garbage for so many months—I’m happy to be over and done with it,” he said.
Original post, 6 a.m., Nov. 6:
Check back here all day for live election updates.
General Election Day has arrived and Rockville voters will play a key role in deciding a number of races and issues on the 2012 ballot.
It's widely expected the Obama-Biden ticket will win Maryland once again, this time over Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. In 2008, Obama-Biden won 71.6 percent of the vote over McCain-Palin.
U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) of Buckeystown took Maryland's 6th Congressional District in 2008 with 50.6 percent of the vote. District lines were redrawn earlier this year and the 6th District now includes Gaithersburg, Germantown, Montgomery Village, North Potomac and parts of Rockville. Bartlett faces Democratic challenger John Delaney for the redistricted seat.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D) of Kensington won re-election in the 8th Congressional District in 2008 with 74.4 percent of the vote. Van Hollen faces Republican challenger Kenneth Timmerman.
Stay with Patch all day as we update this article with news and information from the polls and live election results after 9 p.m. Be sure to check our Election Guide for information on all races and ballot questions in Montgomery County.