Prince George's County Says Yes to Gambling, Same-Sex Marriage and Dream Act
The unofficial numbers are in, and county voters re-elected Democratic leaders and said yes to controversial questions on the ballot.
Prince George's County is easily identified as a "blue," so it was no surprise Tuesday night when Democrats swept the election.
With 98.7 percent of the ballots counted by the county's board of elections, the unofficial tally states that President Barack Obama was re-elected by almost 90 percent of the county's voters.
Sen. Ben Cardin took 81.3 percent of the vote, while Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Steny Hoyer took almost 93.3 percent and 84.9 percent of the vote respectively in order to be re-elected to their seats.
However, the biggest items drawing eligible voters to the polls were the statewide questions on the Dream Act, same-sex marriage and gambling expansion.
In Prince George's County, all of the measures have passed according to the unofficial tally, however some of the results were close.
More than 74 percent of the voters cast their ballots in favor of the Dream Act, compared to the 58 percent statewide.
The gambling expansion debate ended with a win in favor of expansion with 59 percent of the vote in Prince George's County, in comparison to 52 percent across Maryland.
The most closely contested question however was about same-sex marriage. It was close across the state with almost 52 percent voting in favor of the measure, but in Prince George's County slightly more than 4,000 votes separated those in favor of same-sex marriage with those that were opposed. In the end, the measure passed, just barely, with 50.6 percent in favor and 49.4 percent opposed in the county.
This post was updated at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday. To see how Election Day unfolded in Prince George's County see the updates below.
Update, 5 p.m.: With droves of people showing up at the polls in Prince George's County, several problems have been reported by news media and the county's election board.
According to Deputy Election Administrator Daneen Banks, one precinct did report an outage earlier today, but it lasted less than 30 minutes.
The Gazette reported that voters were being timed out at the voting machine if they took too long to vote. After a voter begins the voting process, a long delay causes the voting machine to lock out that voter. The voter has to begin the process again.
Banks said the electronic voting machines will time out if it is inactive for two minutes. The county's election board was prepared for the machines to time out because voters have so many ballot questions to decide. Banks noted that voters are notified by the machine that it is timing out.
As of 3 p.m., she said 193,690 voters had cast their ballots in Prince George's County, or 35 percent of the county's registered voters. Twelve percent cast their ballots during early voting, Banks added.
Although the long lines seen throughout the day, seem to indicate that turnout will be higher in 2012 than in 2008, Banks said she won't be able to tell until after the ballots are counted.
"We didn't have early voting then (in 2008)," she said.
She said anyone in line by 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote and votes will be tallied as precincts close.
Update, 3:30 p.m.: Polls are set to close in four hours, but Prince George's County residents continue to flood area polling centers—one center in Laurel reporting a five-hour wait to vote.
At the Robert J. DiPietro Community Center (precinct 10-12), Chief Judge Deni Antoinette Mazingo said that the wait time to cast a ballot climbed as high as four or five hours Tuesday morning.
Police are being asked to help control the traffic at some polling locations, where parking lots are packed with voters looking for a parking spot.
At Laurel Volunteer Fire Department on Cherry Lane, Chief Judge Tara Esquivel said that the line had gone out the door and stretched down the block at one point.
Kenilworth Elementary in Bowie was reporting 90-minute wait times.
Polling spots in Hyattsville, College Park, Riverdale and parts of Greenbelt are saying wait times have decreased significantly to 30 minutes or less. However, some polling locations are seeing large fluctuations in wait times.
Voters said that they are coming out not only to cast a ballot in favor of a presidential candidate but to chime in on three important questions at the polls— on the Dream Act, same-sex marriage and gambling.
"The local questions are particularly important," College Park resident Besti Griffith said.
With regard to Question Six, the gay marriage petition referendum, Griffith said she believed in equal rights and was voting to support it.
"But I also believe in the right to vote to express your opinion so I'm glad it was on the ballot."
At Bowie High School, students stood in favor of Question 6 even though they were too young to vote.
See your local voting story below:
- LIVE: Voting on Election Day in Bowie
- Election Day 2012 in Greenbelt
- Election 2012: Laurel Hits the Polls
- LIVE: Hyattsville's 2012 Election Hub
- College Park, Riverdale Park Head to the Polls
Original Post, 1:30 p.m.: It's Election Day 2012 and after months of listening to each side, it's time for Prince George's County voters to make a decision.
Although temperature remain below 50 degrees today, voters are standing in long lines to cast their ballot across the county. At one precinct in Laurel, there's no heat, but both volunteers and voters don't seem to mind, instead just bundling up while waiting or working.
Follow us on Twitter at @PrGeorgesPatch for updates from around the county.
Most precincts were reporting at least an hour wait Tuesday morning as people rushed the polls to vote before work.
County Election Adminstrator Alisha Alexander told The Gazette that as of 11 a.m., 107,000 residents voted or about 19 percent of the county's eligible voters. The Gazette said that number is higher than the 2008 turnout by noon.
At the Laurel High School polling station (precinct 10-04), Chief Judge Debbie Allen said that turnout has been heavy all morning—with wait times of an hour or more—but that voters have been patient and determined.
"I can't get them to sit down," Allen said, moving up and down the snaking queue to keep people in straight lines.
In Greenbelt, Election Judge Judy Bierken said although lines are shorter this year than in 2008, it's still a good turnout for the Eleanor Roosevelt High precinct. Birken reported 322 votes by 9:22 a.m.
She said the lines were longer for early voting in College Park where she said it was a two- to three-hour wait all day long. The last person on Saturday voted at 10 minutes after midnight, Bierken said.
Judges at Bowie High School said the line was already long when they opened the polls at 7 a.m. There were around 150 voters in a line snaking around the Bowie High cafeteria at 8:30 a.m. and voters were reporting wait times of around an hour-and-a-half.
Voters were not waiting outside of Bowie High, but electioneers were. Bowie resident Tony Best, who cast his ballot during early voting, was out stumping for District 5 school board candidate Verjeana Jacobs.
“A lot of things need to happen with the school board and we need her experience there to make sure we have proper leadership,” Best said of Jacobs, referring to board’s ongoing superintendent search.
Pictures on Instagram from voters at Hyattsville Middle School, show the line snaking down the hallways. While in Upper Marlboro, Patch readers are reporting long lines as well, especially at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School.
However, the one place where long lines did not seem to be an issue was in College Park and Riverdale Park, where voters say the wait was under an hour this morning. Although there was a morning rush at Ritchie Coliseum, where University of Maryland students were voting before class, after 9 a.m. the line seemed to dissipate. By 11 a.m., there was barely a line.
County Councilman Eric Olson said he was at Beltsville's High Point High School earlier in the day and said there were short lines and not much wait.
Tell us about your voting experience and upload a picture of your "I voted" sticker on this post!