For Katie Cristol, a senior at Winston Churchill, the past few months have been a lesson in the power of local politics.
Cristol has volunteered for U.S. Rep. Connie Morella (R-8) since June, and is precinct captain for the Wayside precinct. Election day found her greeting voters as they arrive at Wayside Elementary, along with her friend, Rachel Toran, a junion at Wootton.
“I learned how important the grass roots campaign is,” said Cristol, who has worked for Morella each week since June. “It’s who gets out the vote and who is organized locally that counts.”
It was a lesson learned some time ago for Sylvia Diss of Potomac, who stood alongside Cristol and Toran, but encouraged voters to support Morella’s challenger, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D). Diss shared experiences protesting the Vietnam war and other campaign efforts with the two young Morella supporters.
Voter turnout at River Falls was heavy in the morning, said Ron Artman, chief Democratic judge for the polling place. By 10 a.m., 473 people had voted, 222 Democrats, 171 Republicans and 81 other voters.
By the end of the day, almost 70 percent of the precinct’s voters had come out to vote.
Del. Jean Cryor worked her home polling place at Wayside Elementary starting at 7:30 a.m. Voters used the chance to talk to her about issues, including health insurance and money for schools.
Jack Rosenberg told Cryor about health insurance concerns, especially that unemployed people in Maryland have only one choice for health insurance, and must wait until open season to join.
“A lot depends on who gets elected today,” Cryor said, “and I don’t mean along party lines.” Maryland House Speaker Casper Taylor (D) has proposed a new plan for health care in Maryland designed to make coverage available for more people, Cryor said.
“Most people have made up their minds,” said Richard Schimel, working the polls at River Falls in Potomac for the “sitting judges.” But many people appreciated receiving guidance in picking judges who had little name recognition. Schimel chatted with Tom Reese, who held onto three white standard Poodles.
Daniel Zubairi, who grew up in River Falls, was there to vote and campaign. Zubairi, a Republican candidate for state delegate in District 16 had help from Justin Shuy, a member of the Teenage Republican Society at Sherwood High School. Ben Whistler joined them electioneering for other Republican candidates, including Bob Ehrlich for Governor and Connie Morella.
Peggy Dennis manned the River Falls poll for Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), while Anne Bolen did the same for U.S. Rep. Connie Morella (R-8). Van Hollen and Morella vied to represent Potomac and most of Montgomery County in Congress.