9:45 p.m.: Local Democratic candidates and their supporters packed South House Garden in Gaithersburg Tuesday night at a watch party. Excitement was in the air as the candidates enjoyed snacks and beverages and celebrated the unofficial win of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore. Shortly after polls closed Tuesday, the Associated Press projected Moore as the winner.
Among those in attendance were County Council incumbents Gabe Albornoz and Evan Glass and Laurie-Anne Sayles, all seeking at-large council seats; and District 3 incumbent Sidney Katz.
Board of Education at-large incumbent Karla Silvestre, District 5 incumbent Brenda Wolff and District 1 candidate Grace Rivera-Oven also were on hand.
Supporters clad in shirts supporting their favorite candidates dined on barbecue, mac and cheese and soft pretzels and enjoyed wine and beer while chatting with candidates and officials. –Ginny Bixby
9:40 p.m.: County Executive Marc Elrich and other Democrats filled in to McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring on Tuesday evening awaiting results of the general election.
The AP called gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore’s victory by around 8:30 p.m.
Daniel Koroma, a Democratic candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 earlier this year, said that Moore’s victory is a good sign for Maryland Democrats. Koroma added Moore’s success should allow Democrats to build on the momentum and increase registered Democrats for future elections.
“I think the Democratic Party did an exceptional job in engaging the precincts … all the way up to elected officials,” Koroma said.
Christa Tichy, who finished fifth for County Council District 6, said that she saw excitement from Democrats at the polls on Tuesday. She added she’s excited for the six women who are poised to win seats on the new County Council.
Tichy said it will be important for elected officials to focus on labor and trades in the upcoming term, and to keep women in mind when putting out contracts for work and creating programming for the trades. Tichy noted her optimism after attending a conference in Las Vegas recently with over 3,000 people interested in those industries.
Jacob Newman, director of the Silver Spring Regional Service Center, echoed Koroma and Tichy’s sentiment regarding Moore’s victory. It was great to see the Democratic Party, even candidates who lost in their primaries this year come together, he said.
Candidates like Moore at the top of the ticket helped candidates below him, Newman said. He added he looks forward to working with the next council.
“It’s an exciting time in the county,” Newman said. –Steve Bohnel
4:10 p.m.: While long lines of voters streamed in and out of Silver Spring Civic Center Tuesday afternoon, Kuroji Patrick was on a mission. He wanted to get voters to record a short message explaining the importance of voting to children with his puppet, Baba.
Patrick, a Silver Spring resident, is the creator of an educational puppet show, A Boy Called Patches, which teaches children various life lessons. He is working on a television pilot and wanted to include messages from local voters about why they vote.
“I’m out here at the polls today to get folks coming out after voting to explain to the children in their own form, 20 seconds or so, why it’s important to vote,” Patrick said.
A little boy named Patches is the main character in Patch’s puppet show. Patrick brought his puppet Baba, Patches’ father, to the polls.
“Baba is showing why it’s important to vote. We always give some type of lesson to the children. We’re trying to work on a series of 15-minute segments and educational material about everyday life,” Patrick said.
While some voters turned down Patrick’s request, Patrick was thrilled when a few took him up on recording a message about civic duty.
“I have five children, and it’s a different day and age now, where children actually talk about [voting and elections]. When I was a kid back in the day, we didn’t talk about what it was. But when kids come home with questions, I want us to be able to have answers,” Patrick said. –Ginny Bixby
2:25 p.m.: The gym inside Olney Elementary School was busy early Tuesday afternoon. Joey Montgomery, a chief election judge, said 391 voters had cast ballots by around that time.
Montgomery said he has worked as a poll worker before, but decided to serve as a chief judge once he realized he had the skill set to help and further serve his community.
“Once you go chief [judge], you can never go back … I’m doing it for the recognition, not the money,” Montgomery said.
Some voters were focused on national issues as they left the gym after casting their ballot. Adam, who declined to give his last name, said he refused to vote for any candidates who deny the results of elections, including Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for governor.
Megan Hoggard, however, said that as an unaffiliated voter, she was focused on supporting candidates that don’t take away her reproductive rights.
Rachael Sowers, a kindergarden teacher at Georgian Forest Elementary School, was handing out literature to voters about Board of Education candidates who were endorsed by the Montgomery County Education Association, the local teachers union.
Sowers said the candidates backed by the MCEA have a better understanding of issues facing students in Montgomery County public schools. She added that one of those issues is a teacher shortage, which is impacting her school and other schools across the system.
If Montgomery County Public Schools can’t hire teachers or substitutes to fill vacancies, then the money that would be used to pay them must still available, Sowers said.
“My question is, what is being used with that money?” Sowers said. “Are we trying to recruit subs or other teachers, or is it being used for something else?”
She also believes it’s difficult to hire teachers right now because of the pay that is offered and the overall environment that teachers currently work in — whether that includes work-life balance, the political climate or both.
Even if residents don’t have kids, it’s important to vote in Board of Education races, Sowers said. Those elected officials make decisions for the school system, which serves children that are part of the community—and will hopefully grow up to be productive members of it, Sowers said. –Steve Bohnel
1:45 p.m: While the polling places at Bethesda and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the Friendship Heights Community Center and St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church weren’t too crowded Tuesday morning, voter turnout still maintained a steady and regular flow, according to election workers.
“My hope is that is that logic will prevail over the craziness of this election cycle [and] that people will look, not to what their partisan need is, but what America’s need is and that they are willing to come together,” said Daria Fedoriw, who cast her vote Tuesday morning at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
Fedoriw expressed disappointment at the “hateful rhetoric” expressed during this year’s election campaigning.
“The hateful rhetoric in the ads and the mean-spirited tone, it’s just awful. I mean, that to me is not public discourse. That’s just people, you know, just throwing bombs wherever they can,” Fedoriw said.
Republican state Senate candidate Missy Carr, running in District 18, was at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Carr said she was excited to see some change in the county and that many of her fellow candidates were “very qualified for the [County Council] and for the state legislature.”
“The numbers are basically about four to one, four Democrats for every Republican voter, so we’re at a disadvantage to start with at the Republican Party because of that …we’re disadvantaged with money, with volunteers, with all the things that we have to do equally in terms of covering 200-plus voting sites in the county, [which is] a lot harder when you’re a smaller organization,” Carr said. “We’re doing our best to compete, we’re going to do more outreach, [and] depending on some of the results today, that will really help with that.”
Joseph Gebhardt, an attorney based in Silver Spring, was a volunteer distributing Democrat sample ballots at the Friendship Heights Community Center.
“Today, we’re expecting at least half of Montgomery County voters to vote, that’s about 200,000 [people],” Gebhardt said.
“So, we’re expecting a pretty heavy turnout. We have a lot of sample ballots and a lot of campaign material. At a small polling place like this, which is very close and intimate, we just say, “Do you want a democratic sample ballot” and answer ballot questions and provide information and a lot of people take it, ” he said. –Apps Bichu
1:10 p.m.: Casting her ballot Tuesday at the White Oak Community Recreation Center, 85-year-old Mary Helen Dove said she would “like for my voice to be heard.”
“I just hope everybody do what they say they’re going to do,” she said.
Another voter, Ohenewaa Agyemang, 27, said it was important in this election to take action.
“A lot of things are going on and I don’t want to speak on things if I don’t do my part,” she said.
For Sam Guinyard, voting in the general election held historical significance. “My ancestors had such a hard time being able to vote so I said I need to go continue,” he said.
Guinyard, 57, said inflation is the main issue he would like to see addressed by those elected Tuesday.
Historical significance also tied into the significance of voting for Stephen P. Johnson, who cast his ballot at White Oak Middle School.
“I have a familiarity with world history and I realize that the only thing stopping bad people from taking over is good people standing up,” he said.
Johnson, 64, said election integrity is one of the most important issues for him. To him, that means “people losing an election, accepting the fact that they lost and not whining like little children and calling idiots out into the streets,” Johnson said. — Akira Kyles
12:45 p.m.: A steady stream of older voters filed into the ballroom at Clubhouse I in Leisure World, the retirement community south of Olney, to cast their votes later Tuesday morning.
As of just before 11:30 a.m., 235 people had cast ballots, according to Joe Borrelli, a chief election judge. Serving for the first time working as an election judge, Borrelli said the morning had gone smoothly. A rush of voters had streamed in from around 9 to 10 a.m. he added.
“I felt it was my turn. My neighbors had done it before, so I felt I had to ante up,” Borrelli said of why he chose to be a judge.
Voters had different issues on their minds as they left the ballroom after casting their ballots. Shmalis Deneke, an unaffiliated voter, said he was focused on the economy and inflation, but added he was supporting Democrats because of the need to protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
Candice, a Democrat who declined to provide a last name, said she hopes local officials support older county residents once they are sworn into office. She added that she is concerned about election deniers, but also thought Democrats are focusing too much on abortion as an issue to try to drive voters to the polls.
Rita Penn was another voter supporting Democrats. A resident of Leisure World for about 18 years, she spoke highly of Wes Moore, the Democrat running for governor.
“He seems to know how to deal with people and work with people … and he’s always got a smile,” Penn said. “He’s a good guy, and I hope he’ll make a good governor.” –Steve Bohnel
11:45 a.m.: Local Democrats on the ballot were out in full force at the polls at the Silver Spring Civic Building after U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park and Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Kensington arrived to talk to voters Tuesday morning.
“I feel great about everything the Democrats have done in Maryland. I think it’s gonna be a very big blue night for us. I’ve been traveling around the country … I’ve been out on the road. And it’s gonna be closer out there. But I think that there’s great spirit and energy on the Democratic side. And the Democratic Party post-Donald Trump is much tougher than it was. And nobody’s given up on anything,” said Raskin, who is running for re-election in the 8th Congressional District.
Raskin, a Democrat running against Republican Gregory Coll, said voters can see Trump’s influence in rhetoric from Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox.
“[Gov. Larry] Hogan is the last of the moderate Republicans for a long time. The Trump people have taken over the Republican Party in Maryland, with extremists like Dan Cox, and we’ve seen that in lots of parts of the country. So that puts a burden on the Democratic Party as the GOP becomes more and more extremist and dangerous in their politics,” Raskin said.
Van Hollen, a Democrat facing Republican Chris Chaffee, said he has lots of priorities if re-elected, including providing more support for the K-12 education system, affordable quality child care and affordable housing.
“I’m feeling great here now. We have a lot of momentum, a lot of enthusiasm and energy and everyone recognizes what the stakes are,” Van Hollen said.
Among other Democratic candidates at the civic building in Veterans Plaza were County Executive Marc Elrich, who is seeking re-election for a second term, along with Democratic at-large County Council candidates Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass, Will Jawando and Laurie-Anne Sayles, plus District 4 County Council candidate Kate Stewart.
Stewart, who is facing Republican challenger Cheryl Riley, said she was excited by the energy of voters after visiting several precincts within the district Tuesday morning.
“It’s been wonderful. I’ve been to many polling places already and all the volunteers are out and people are excited to vote in Maryland and Montgomery County. I’m feeling pretty confident. We have a great team. I love the support from everyone,” Stewart said.
County Council at-large incumbent Gabe Albornoz, the current council president, said he enjoyed the camaraderie with other Democratic candidates, as well as talking to voters at the precincts.
“It’s been fun, just going around seeing policy makers at the state and local and the municipal level is great because we all have to work together,” Albornoz said. “People have been very respectful and I had a very robust conversation with a gentleman who disagreed with the county’s response during COVID-19. It was a good, healthy conversation. I understood where he was coming from, and on some issues, we agreed to disagree, but on others, he made some good points. So I think this is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves why we do this, and I enjoy and relish the opportunities to engage with voters.”
Board of Education candidates also made appearances to talk to voters.
District 5 candidate Valerie Coll, who is challenging incumbent Brenda Wolff, said she is glad voters are paying more attention to down-ballot races like the school board race.
“That’s something that we can be really proud of in the county, that people care enough to not just show up and say ‘I don’t know.’ People are being engaged. They’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do, taking part in the process actively. That makes me very happy,” Coll said.
District 1 candidate Grace Rivera-Oven, who is facing Esther Wells, said she was excited and confident about the race.
“I’m looking forward to seeing especially [voters from] my district coming out and voting. I see a lot of energy. I see a lot of young people who are involved, which is wonderful,” Rivera-Oven said.
Wells’ mother Jacqueline Wells was campaigning and handing out flyers for her daughter.
“It’s my first time campaigning and I felt a little overwhelmed, but everything is going well. A lot of voters knew my daughter’s story already. She’s a go-getter, she puts her money where it’s needed, and she cares about education for special needs children,” Wells said. — Ginny Bixby
10:15 a.m.: Voting was also relatively quiet, but steady, at Sargent Shriver Elementary School on Greenly Street in Silver Spring. Alan Shteyman, a chief election judge, said that about 120 people had voted there as of around 9:45 a.m.
When asked about why he was working as a judge, he echoed other local election judges: “If someone doesn’t do this, things don’t work. And I basically view this as my civic duty.”
Voters made their way into the gym at the school by winding through the hallway. Those leaving said they also viewed casting ballots as a civic duty to make sure their voices were heard.
Molla Gebremarian, a nearby resident, declined to say who he voted for, but added he wanted to make sure he elected candidates who focused on school safety and who would work hard for county residents.
Emma Chabec, another voter, said the economy and health care costs were top of mind. Insurance costs need to be brought down, she said.
Marina Silva said she was focused on public safety and education as she cast her ballot. She believes the county school system needs to be improved and that educators and the administration need to get back to basics, and not focus so much on critical race theory or other issues that have become part of the national debate.
“The kids need to know how to read and write first,” Silva said. — Steve Bohnel
9:45 a.m.: At St. Luke Lutheran Church on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, voters were greeted Tuesday morning by students from Silver Spring International Middle School who were manning tables of baked goods for sale both inside and outside of the church.
The students said they were raising money for a trip to New York City next spring to participate in a Model United Nations conference.
Meanwhile, a steady stream of voters headed into the church to cast ballots. As of about 9:45 a.m., the wait was about 10 minutes to cast a ballot using one of the two electronic voting machines. There was no wait for voters who chose to cast a paper ballot. — Julie Rasicot
9:30 a.m.: Activity was relatively calm at the polls at Wheaton High School on Tuesday morning, with more voters starting to trickle in to vote as the 9 a.m. hour approached.
Laura Jones Eller, one of the chief election judges at that location, said that roughly 100 people had voted as of around 8:45 a.m. She and Dean Ipanag, another chief judge, said they previously had served as election workers, and that voters had been cooperative so far on Tuesday.
“It’s my civic duty, preserving democracy,” Eller said when asked about why she works as an election judge. She added that there were more election workers at her polling place on Tuesday than during the primary.
Shoshana, a voter who only gave her last name, said that she had lived in the county for 35 years. She voted for Dan Cox for governor, Reardon Sullivan for county executive and Missy Carr for state senator, along with other Republicans on the ballot. Shoshana said crime is “out of control” and that local officials should be respecting county police.
She added that she attended a meeting with County Executive Marc Elrich, a Democrat running for re-election, around four years ago, which included numerous retired federal workers, including herself. It’s there that she learned that the county spends a considerable amount of money on its recycling program, just on hauling away materials that leave the county.
“We should reconsider the recycling tax that we pay, it’s a lot,” Shoshana said. “And we already pay a lot to haul trash away.”
Jack and Linda Panossian said they voted for Democrats this election cycle, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Jamie Raskin, who represents the 8th Congressional District. Linda said that adequately funding schools is among her top priorities. She added that she is a little concerned about the implementation of Thrive Montgomery 2050, the county’s general master plan update that the County Council recently passed.
Redevelopment is needed in Wheaton and Glenmont, Linda said. But she also hopes that single-family housing can be protected, as it is the “bedrock” of the area. — Steve Bohnel