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Maryland voters share why they went to the polls on Election Day

Jacob Lewis, 3, bottom right, waits at a privacy booth as his grandfather, Robert Schroyer, top right, fills out his ballot while voting at Sabillasville Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Sabillasville, Maryland.
Julio Cortez/AP
Jacob Lewis, 3, bottom right, waits at a privacy booth as his grandfather, Robert Schroyer, top right, fills out his ballot while voting at Sabillasville Elementary School, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Sabillasville, Maryland.

Hundreds of thousands of voters across Maryland are expected to vote in person on Election Day until the polls close at 8 p.m. statewide. During the 2018 midterm elections, 1.4 million voters went to the polls on Nov. 8 compared to 120,517 mail-in ballots, state data shows. During the 2020 presidential election, there were 439,000 voters who cast ballots in person on Election Day while 1.5 million cast mail-in ballots.

The legalization of recreational marijuana is on the statewide ballot in Maryland, something that inspired some voters.

For Anne Arundel County Republican Mary Hermil, she was worried about young people being influenced by a culture that legalizes marijuana.

“I know some people need the cannabis,” Hermil said. “But for me I’m not really into that because some really young ones they’re gonna want to experience it. And then you know they go in the wrong, they go in the wrong way.”

Voter J.R. Smith said he was inspired by the potential to legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

“I saw the cannabis bill on there. Need to get that done,” Smith said. “Tamp down on people getting arrested for minor cannabis stuff. They should have bigger fish to fry than that.”

For 85-year-old Ernest Atkinson who lives in Anne Arundel County’s Brooklyn Park neighborhood, he’s most concerned about public safety and the economy.

“I like this area and it's close to Baltimore,” Atkins said. “But right now inflation’s a problem, and crime. And I think we need a change here and that’s why I voted today.”

In Anne Arundel County, there was a tight race for County Executive between incumbent Democrat Steuart Pittman and his Republican challenger, County Council member Jessica Haire.

Haire based much of her campaign pitch around cutting the taxes Pittman raised during his first year in office.

Then, he pushed increases in the county’s “piggyback” income tax and property tax rates through the county council with Haire voting against them. Pittman has said they were necessary to catch up with the county’s burgeoning growth and to give police, firefighters and teachers raises. Haire said he was “blowing a lot of smoke.”

That resonated with David Riggs, a Republican volunteer who voted at Southern High School in Harwood.

“The tax issues became about personal property taxes on corporations for leased equipment and medical people. That was one of the big things for me,” he said. “And, you know, of course, our income tax percentage has went up under the current administration.” 

But Anne Wintermute, who also was voting at Southern High, scoffed at that idea.

“The admonition that, “Oh, taxes are raising…” she started. “Taxes always get raised. It always happens. What issue is that? You know?”

She said she also appreciated Pittman’s efforts to preserve open spaces and rural areas.

Few Maryland voters polled by Goucher College sponsored by WYPR and The Baltimore Banner were undecided and Democrat Wes Moore is favored to win. In September, Maryland Democrats had at least a 20-point lead over their Republican counterparts.

For 31-year-old Joseph Daniels who lives in Prince George’s County, he’s concerned about the state of democracy and candidates leveraging fear to get votes. Daniels voted for Wes Moore, the Democratic nominee for governor.

“I’m really excited to see where he goes,” Daniels told WAMU/DCist. “I think this is just the beginning of his political career.”

For 76-year old George Leap in Baltimore, he voted for Democrats in prior elections but cast his ballot for Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor. Leap said he was most concerned about the economy.

“I’m a big proponent of the existing governor, Larry Hogan. He wasn’t too far left or too far right,” Leap told The Baltimore Banner. “And if Cox wins, I hope he’ll govern the same way.”

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
Kristen Mosbrucker is a digital news editor and producer for WYPR. @k_mosbrucker
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