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Baltimore County Voters Line Up Before Dawn To Cast Ballots

John Lee

Hundreds of people were in line Monday morning before the early voting center at Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall opened at 7 a.m. People waited more than an hour and half in line before being able to vote.  

Jo Ann West, who lives in White Marsh, was first in line.

“I got here about 3:30 a.m.," she said. 

West arrived more than three hours before the voting center opened because she runs an assisted living facility for veterans and one of them needed her help to vote in the city.

“I know I’m going to be in two lines today, so I did myself first and then I’ll go do my resident.”

When poll workers put early voting signs outside Honeygo around 6 a.m., dozens of people were already there. Cars began pouring into the lot. By the time the polls opened at 7 a.m., around 300 people were in the line that snaked around the corner, past some athletic fields and ended at a dog park.

People were fired up to vote. Jo Ann West clearly was on a mission.

“You’re going to see lines like this. You’re going to see people who got up much earlier than I did in all of the states across the country, because we’ve had enough of Mr. Trump,” she said. 

Further back in line was Ken Stratemeyer, who lives in Essex and said this is the most important election in our lifetime.

“Because it’s a choice between law and order and a capitalistic society versus a socialist society,” he said.

Credit John Lee
The long line to early vote at Honeygo Run Community Center in Baltimore County goes by the ballot drop box.

The line for early voting went right by one of those drop boxes you can use to vote with a mail-in ballot. Terry Holliday who lives in Rosedale, was in line. Holliday said he trusts voting in person more.

“This way I can verify for sure my vote counted. And for some reason I didn’t feel 100% sure about mail in voting,” she said. 

That was a shared sentiment among these voters who chose in person rather than by mail, voters like Jesse James.

“I kind of wanted to make sure that it was going to be…more of a sure thing," she said. "With all the tampering. All of the drop boxes, and all that, we just wanted to make sure we can get our vote counted” James said. 

Credit John Lee
Election officials pick up a load of ballots from the drop box outside of Honeygo Run Community Center in Baltimore County.

At one point officials came by to pick up a load of ballots from that drop box while people in the early voting line looked on.

Jess Dietz, who lives in White Marsh, became the line’s town crier, counting down the minutes until the start of voting. Dietz said he arrived at 5 a.m. and was relieved to find few people there.

“Because I kept seeing Wisconsin and Georgia, people in line for 10 hours. That had me really concerned, really concerned," he said.

Almost everyone in line was wearing a mask, much to Wanda Burrell’s relief.

“It’s good that we should wear our masks. Because some of us talk and spit," she said while laughing. 

Once the doors opened, election official P.J. White was in charge of crowd control. She let people in one at a time and instructed them on where to stand to socially distance.

A few minutes after being the first in, Jo Ann West was one of the first to come out.

“The voting was very good. It was very fast," she said. "It’s like I said, if it wasn’t for me taking my guy to the other, Baltimore City, I’d go home and go to bed now.”

Early voting continues through next Monday. Voting ends the next day, Election Day, November 3.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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