Reisterstown resident Eric Moore, 30, wasn’t too concerned about his vote in the presidential election because of Maryland’s history as a blue state. It was Questions 6 and 7 that were his major concerns.
“I personally believe the government shouldn’t have the moral obligation to tell people what to do,” Moore said after voting at Glyndon Elementary School.
While he voted for the measure, called Civil Marriage Protection Act, he voted against Question 7, which would expand gambling in Maryland. While those in favor say the revenue Maryland would receive would go to education, Moore wasn’t convinced.
“Where they’re saying the revenue’s going, is not necessarily where it’s going,” he said.
Thomas Harris of Owings Mills thought differently. The Owings Mills resident thinks Question 7 will help Maryland by bringing jobs to the area and spurring economic development.
“If it doesn’t go to the schools, it’ll go to the households with kids that go to the schools,” Harris, 46, said after voting at Owings Mills High School. “[People] still want to gamble, so not keep that money here?”
For 79-year-old Carol Peck, voting for Question 6 was simple.
“It’s a matter of fairness,” she said outside of Owings Mills High School. “People are people.”
Harris struggled with Question 6 for a while, but voted for the measure when he realized it didn’t violate the religious rights of others.
“It was more that it was giving freedom to others and it wasn’t infringing on others,” he said.
Election officials think the ballot measures are why so many voters turned out on Tuesday.
“I think people are pretty divided and have pretty strong opinions about the ballot measures,” said Steve Pelham, Republican chief judge at Precinct 4-4, one of two precincts that voted at Glyndon Elementary.
That precinct, the fifth largest in Baltimore County with about 3,800 registered voters, had lines that lasted an hour-plus in the morning hours. By 2 p.m., 1,434 people had voted there, and voters were waiting 45 minutes tops to cast their ballots.
“This has been a pretty high percentage turnout,” Pelham said.
People were on the grounds at many polling sites passing out pamphlets for Questions 6 and 7. Towson University students Esther Weiner and Andrea Calles, both 18, stood outside The Chatsworth School passing out materials in favor of Question 7. At Owings Mills High School, a school bus pulled up with Question 7 signs in the windows. A woman used the bus’ loudspeaker to urge voters to support the measure.
The Rev. Drew Paton, a pastor with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was passing out pamphlets in favor of Question 6. He said the church needs to have a conversation about gay marriage, but should keep it out of civil law.
“I think the religious community has been really mixed up as to what it means,” he said. “This is really about a civil right.”
He said his faith and the gospel guides him to defend people’s individual rights.
“So much of Jesus’ work was about enabling love,” Paton said.