ANNAPOLIS – At the Eastport Volunteer Fire Hall, John Hartnett, 75, said he waited 45 minutes to cast his vote. Because of the long lines, many people left without voting.
“I’ve never seen so many people arrive and leave without voting, and that’s a shame,” Hartnett said.
Hartnett said he couldn’t decide who to vote for in the gubernatorial race because neither candidate was appealing to him.
“I can tell ya, it was darn close,” Hartnett said. “I didn’t think either candidate communicated that well on the issues I thought were important.”
He said he did end up voting for former governor Bob Ehrlich.
“Let’s hope (Ehrlich) does a better job,” Hartnett said. “His history is what turned (my vote).”
Bob Gionis, 44, an insurance company investigator from Anne Arundel, voted for former Gov. Bob Ehrlich.
“I just like what he’s proposed as far as reducing the state tax and some of his education proposals,” he said.
“I think he’s kept down the cost of tuition at schools,” said Susan Eisen, 64, a retired Montgomery County resident who voted for Gov. Martin O’Malley at Chevy Chase Elementary School.
Thom Turner, 45, a vice president for an energy services company who voted at Chevy Chase Elementary School, picked Ehrlich. The issues he thought were important: “Jobs, jobs and jobs.”
A slow trickle of people voted at Bel Pre Elementary School in Silver Spring Tuesday morning.
“I didn’t like the way (Ehrlich) was always pushing for gambling in the state,” said Arthur Meister, 52, an architect and Montgomery County resident who voted for O’Malley. Meister also voted against fees for ambulance services
“I just don’t want to go back to where we were four years ago,” said William Watson, 68, a veterinarian and Montgomery County resident who voted for O’Malley at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring.
Also at Cloverly, Don Calvetti, 69, a retired Montgomery County resident, voted for Ehrlich.
“This governor (O’Malley) didn’t give any state employees any raises,” Calvetti said.
“O’Malley’s managed to ruin the city of Baltimore,” said Mary Jane MacArthur, 62, who works for an international labor union, from Annapolis, about the school system. “He governed as a Democrat, not a governor.”
Bernie Parkinson, 62, a retired firefighter from Annapolis and a registered Democrat, said he voted for Ehrlich, Republican Eric Wargotz and Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Andy Harris: “It’s time to take the trash out.”
Betsy Tropp, of Greenbelt, said she voted for O’Malley: “I trust him, he’s a good Irishman.”
“I think that the country was led in the wrong direction for many years. Now we’ve forgotten who got us here,” said Gregory Gertner, an ophthalmologist, from Bethesda who said he voted Democratic.
Mark Anderson, 61, a retired union official from Bethesda, said he voted for Democrats, including O’Malley: “He’s got my vote.”
The chances of a Republican takeover in Maryland, he said, are remote: “I don’t think that’s going to happen in Maryland,” but if the Republicans take Congress, “I fear for my country,” he said.
John Pedersoli, 50, of Greenbelt, voted for Republicans for the top offices, including tea partier Charles Lollar for Congressional District 5, and Ehrlich. Pedersoli said he’s “against any incumbents” because “incumbency breeds corruption and laziness.”
As for most voters, he said, “They are uninformed. … Programs like “American Idol” and “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ is what they’re focused on, and that’s exactly the way incumbents want it.”
“I think he’s doing a good job, and I want to give him another chance,” said Mary Lou Reidy, 54, a data analyst from Frederick County who voted for O’Malley. “It’s not his fault we lost jobs and the economy’s in the tank.”
Colleen McKnight, 32, a librarian from Frederick County, also voted for O’Malley.
“(Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich) did not do a good job with the money we did have when he was in office,” McKnight said. “I think Martin O’Malley is doing a good job with what we have now.”
Jay DeWire, 33, a pianist from Frederick County, voted for O’Malley.
“I think we have to be patient,” said DeWire about the financial crisis. “It could be much worse.”
“Getting out of it in four years would be super human,” said DeWire, who said he is disappointed by people who expect the governor to be able to make change happen instantly.
“I think he is somebody I feel comfortable with. Trust is something I have issues with especially in government, and he’s someone I can trust,” said Emilia Riccio, 47, a Frederick County resident and international network liaison for a ground transportation company who voted for O’Malley.
“I sneezed this morning and the guy next to me told me it was because I haven’t voted. I think it was the cold air, but I’m here now and hope everyone votes,” said Carolyn Crosby, 47, and a Prince George’s County bus operator who voted for O’Malley.
“I love him. I like what he stands for. He stepped up education. A lot of people didn’t care about the kids, but he does,” she said.
“A lot of people can vote, don’t, and still complain about results. Someone never taught them the importance – it all goes back to education,” said Martina Lutz, 27, a Beacon Heights Elementary School teacher who voted for O’Malley.
“In P.G. County, education is a big issue,” she said. “Teachers are getting furloughed and with salary cuts, I can’t put more money into the economy.”
“It’s been slow, not been big crowds. Even at 7 a.m., there were maybe eight people in line. There wasn’t a crowd at all at lunchtime, just a sprinkling of people,” said Mike McPherson, 68, a retired Navy Engineer from Prince George’s County who said he supported the entire Democratic Party ticket.
“The Democratic Party got out of touch with me,” said Tom Stickles, 72, a retired school teacher from University Park who said he voted for Ehrlich. “I am totally frustrated with both parties, but more frustrated with the Democrats for a liberal agenda. Both parties are unable to have a civil conversation about anything and the country suffers.”
Billy Nesmith, 68, a retired federal employee from Prince George’s County, said he thinks O’Malley has done a pretty good job.
“The things he’s done have been beneficial to the county. I was in Ehrlich’s corner when he was there, but I think O’Malley has done a better job,” Nesmith said.
Peter Davy, a 26-year-old mechanic from Prince George’s County, said he wasn’t really following politics this year but wanted to vote to show his support for Democrats.
“I voted for Gov. Martin O’Malley to help Obama,” he said. “I’m concerned because a lot of his policies are getting turned down, and his approval rating is low.”
Brandon Settle, 25, of Prince George’s County, said he was in and out of James R. Bates Hall at Ascension Church in Bowie in about 20 minutes. “I’m voting all Democrat, because I’m trying to keep them in office,” Settle, a contractor, said.
Tara Gray, 42, director of operation at a health care company, said she voted for O’Malley because she’s pleased with what he’s done so far.
“I’m not pleased with Ehrlich,” she said. “I like O’Malley’s stance on education and that he hasn’t raised tuition for the past four years.”
Post office employee Pamela Brooks, 50, of Prince George’s County, voted for O’Malley and said she wants to see Democrats do well in this election for Obama’s sake.
“I think they need to give the president more strength,” she said. “If he had more people working with him, he could get his job done.”
Anita Matthews, 46, of Prince George’s County, works for the U.S. Department of Defense.
“I voted for Gov. Martin O’Malley because he’s a Democrat. I believe the Democrats have the interest of the people at hand,” she said. “They represent what I represent.”
Her husband, Rich Matthews, 48, said he’s an intelligence officer.
“I voted for O’Malley because I liked his platform and I don’t think he ever gave Bob Ehrlich a chance, so I decided to stick with him,” Matthews said. “I don’t pride myself on being a Democrat or a Republican. I’m an American, and I’ll support whomever I think will do the most for the country.”
Martha Ajiwe, 47, a psychologist from Prince George’s County, said she voted for O’Malley.
“I’m a little concerned about Bob Ehrlich’s policies,” she said. “So I don’t think there’s any need for a change.”
Ajiwe said she didn’t study up on the other ballot questions, several of which concerned bonds, so she didn’t cast a vote for or against them.
Caitlin Bacha, 28, an aerospace engineer for NASA, declined to say whom she voted for in the governor’s race.
“I was surprised how high money was for the various bonds,” Bacha said. “It seemed like more than usual.”
Darlene Fitts, 50, an occupational therapist from Prince George’s County, said she voted for O’Malley.
“I like what he stands for in terms of education, and what he’s done for the state so far,” she said.
--By Capital News Service’s Nicole Dao, Alexis Gutter, Stacy Jones and Lindsay Powers.