Voter Turnout Light Throughout Day In TP
Nearly 7 percent of District 20 voted early.
Update 9:45 p.m.: 53 percent against, 47 percent for the ambulance fee with almost 13 percent reporting.
Update 9:25 p.m.: With around 8 percent of voters or 40 precincts reporting, 51 percent are against ambulance fees while 49 percent are for the fees. It's a close race as everyone expected.
Update 8:50 p.m.: With early voting numbers in, Montgomery County Board of Elections is reporting that 53.25 percent of early voters want the ambulance fee and 46.75 say it's bunk. Check back for more updates and full story later tonight.
Update 8:15 p.m.: Polls are closed. Check back as we bring you election coverage of the ambulance fee ballot question, board of education races, county council, county executive and gubernatorial races.
Update 6:15 p.m.: There has not been much of an after work rush to the polls in Takoma Park. There were no lines at Piney Branch Elementary, Takoma Park Middle School or Rolling Terrace Elementary.
And remember, the polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m. The election night coverage on the county TV station and website will begin with five-minute updates at 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 8:55 p.m. Results of early voting will be available at that time.
Starting at 9 p.m., the stations will broadcast 90 continuous minutes of coverage with guests analyzing the issues and election results provided immediately as available.
Update 1:45 p.m.: Voting is still slow around Takoma Park. At Piney Branch Elementary, 484 out of 2,689 people have voted, according to Election Judge Jeffrey Middents.
Outside the elementary school, there were three career firefighters campaigning for the ambulance fee. They said they were "changing a lot of minds" and that many voters think people without healthcare will not be able to use ambulances if the fee passes.
There were also no lines at Takoma Park Middle School as of 1:40 p.m.
Election judges at several polling places across Takoma Park said there have been no glitches in voting.
Middents said there were less machines at Piney Branch Elementary than there were in the primary election, but that there has been no backup and no lines out the door.
9:54 a.m.: Morning turnout was light across Takoma Park polling places, with no lines forming as of 9:30 a.m.
Still, there was a steady stream filing into Takoma Park Middle School, with more voters visiting the polls early than in the primary election.
Voters who did brave the cold said it was imperative that everybody come to the polls, despite the weather.
"It's important to show your power," said Jacinto Bermudez, a first-time voter and Takoma Park resident. "It's a privilege to vote."
Bermudez voted Democrat across the board, and he was in support of the ambulance fee because of the revenue it would bring to Montgomery County.
The light voter turnout could have been a result of diehards participating in early voting, said Buddy Daniels, Democratic precinct chair.
In Montgomery County, almost 5 percent of the total eligible voters decided to cast their ballot before Election Day, according to the Maryland Board of Elections. District 20 saw nearly 7 percent early voter turnout, which was the highest of all the districts in the county.
But if people don't show up at the polls, that could spell trouble for Democrats, especially for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), Daniels said.
"We know Republicans are going to come out," Daniels said. "It's going to be a close race. O'Malley needs every vote he can get."
Career firefighter Gilby Kim was out early in the morning handing out pro-ambulance fee literature and engaging voters who had any questions about the fee.
"A vote for Question A is a vote for public safety," Kim said to voters as they walked from their cars to the polling places.
Firefighters across the county were out promoting the ambulance fee, he said.
But not everyone agreed with Kim's assessment of the fee.
"There's enough suffering when it comes to insurance and medical care," Gail Patterson said, echoing the sentiment of many who are against the fee. "It's just not right."
Patterson also voted Democrat across her ballot.
"We need to give the president more time to turn things around," she said. "I'm supporting the Democrats for Congress because it took more than four years for us to get where we are. It's not Obama's fault."
Check back for more election updates at takomapark.patch.com