In Baltimore, Wallace Concedes Mayoral Race to Scott
Around 10:15 p.m., Baltimore businessman Bob Wallace conceded to City Council President Brandon Scott (D) in the city’s mayoral race.
Scott is holding a small, socially distanced election night party at Baltimore Sound Stage.
“This is clearly not the result that we all had hoped for, but it is what it is,” Wallace, who ran as an independent and pumped at least $343,000 of his own money into the campaign, said at the start of a concession speech.
With about 160,000 early voting and mail-in ballots counted in the first batch of election results released, Scott led the race with about 72 percent of the vote.
“I’ve learned so much from living here in Baltimore… from my time serving on the city council… it could not be more clear that we need a new way,” Scott said in a victory speech.
― Maryland Matters staff
Campaigning In Greenbelt ― For Others, And By Bullhorn
The campaign volunteers outnumbered the voters during the late afternoon at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt.
Until recently the busiest Election Day precinct in Prince George’s County, the school saw just a trickle of voters as the sun began to set.
“It’s because so many people voted early,” said state Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), who was there greeting the few people who came by.
Wearing a mask, Pinsky was quick to tell everyone he met who he was ― and that he was not on the ballot this year. He finished every greeting by saying, “Vote for Biden-Harris, vote out Trump.”
Even with that partisan exhortation, Pinsky was as much an accommodating public servant as he was an advocate, answering questions about the wait time (“None,” he said) and also explaining that the race for Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge was nonpartisan.
The scene may have been a fairly deserted suburban high school parking lot, but there were some reminders of urban politicking and the good old days of sound trucks rolling through neighborhoods.
That was courtesy of Gladys Weatherspoon, a judicial candidate who played a message over and over and over again, in English and in Spanish, that emanated from a small battery-operated bullhorn that was tucked into a box along with her campaign literature.
“Hi, this is Gladys Weatherspoon,” the message began. “I am a criminal defense attorney with 25 years’ experience fighting injustice. Vote for me, Gladys Weatherspoon, for Prince George’s County Circuit Court. I am endorsed by The Washington Post, CASA in Action and the Carpenters Union. Vote for Gladys Weatherspoon, because justice requires experience.”
It was if the candidate was right there ― only she wasn’t.
― Josh Kurtz
Caravan Stumps for Democrats in Baltimore
When Maryland Matters arrived at the polling place at Morgan State University a few minutes before 11 a.m., there were more campaign volunteers milling about than voters waiting in line.
Among them: Brandon Scott, Baltimore city council president and democratic mayoral candidate, and Bill Henry, who is running an uncontested race for city comptroller.
Scott told Maryland Matters in a brief interview that he feels confident about the results of the election and hopeful about the “possibility of the next generation of leadership.”
Scott, a native Baltimorean, said he understands the needs of city residents in ways that Republican Shannon Wright and independent candidate Robert Wallace cannot.
“It’s different when you’ve been the person that had the gun in front of your face,” Scott asserted. “It’s different when you had to duck bullets, and no one else in this race understands that the way that I do. And really to use that experience ― that lived experience along with my experience in the office to change Baltimore in consultation with the rest of the city is very exciting to me.”
Maryland Matters met with Wallace, also native to the city, earlier in the day when he cast his ballot at New Era Academy in Cherry Hill. The independent candidate told reporters that he was casting his ballot at the middle school he had attended as a child to “make a statement.”
Wallace said that he is anticipating an upset in the city’s election results.
“The 10 years or so that my opponent has been in City Hall, it’s just not worked,” he explained. “He’s had a chance didn’t work out. Now it’s time for a new coach and new game plan.”
Also at Morgan State’s polling place was U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who expressed his excitement about the state’s voter turnout.
“I’m so proud to see Marylanders who not only come out to vote, but they contributed money, they’ve made phone calls, they have lawn signs ― they are so energized about this election,” he told Maryland Matters. “And I think it’s gonna just add to the credibility of the results.”
There has been a lot of buzz about when election results will be available, and concern over their validity given the unique electoral process 2020 has faced.
“The election process is the election process, and no one can change that,” Cardin said. “Every vote is going to be tabulated, and every state will certify their elections when it’s appropriate to do it.”
“Even the president of the United States can’t change that system.”
Asked about constituents anxiousness to know the election’s results, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) said to ignore news coming out of the White House.
“Don’t listen to Trump,” Ruppersberger told Maryland Matters. “Trump’s all about himself.”
State representatives had their claws out in support of the Biden-Harris ticket, disparaging President Trump as dangerous and polarizing.
“We’ve seen our country shift so dramatically in the last four years and many of us are saying, ‘this is not who we are,’” said Yvette Lewis, chairwoman of Maryland’s Democratic Party. “And many of us want to get back to the America where we see each other as neighbors and not as enemies, where we work together as friends and coworkers and not as adversaries, so I think that that’s what we’re anxious for.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), who spoke with Maryland Matters outside of the polling place at Baltimore’s Mount Pleasant Church, called the Trump presidency a “national nightmare.”
Van Hollen, born in 1959, has been eligible to vote in 11 elections. He said that there is “no doubt” that this is “the most consequential election” of his lifetime.
“We’ve never seen a president who so completely undermines the values and principles that are the basis of our country,” Van Hollen said of Trump. “He’s the first president, certainly in my lifetime, that doesn’t govern for the whole of America. Even Republican presidents we’ve had ― I’ve disagreed with them strongly ― but I’ve never said that they were an attack on the fundamental idea of America, but Donald Trump is and so that’s what’s at stake.”
“This is beyond differences over policy,” Van Hollen asserted. “This is a difference over what America is all about.”
Van Hollen doesn’t just have his eyes on the presidential race but emphasized his desire to flip the U.S. Senate’s majority from red to blue, emphasizing the importance of moving a number of bills that he said are “stuck” in the chamber, including the pending COVID-19 relief package.
“While a Biden-Harris administration can reverse the damage that Trump did through executive orders, in order to really move forward as a country we’re going to need that Democratic majority,” he said.
― Hannah Gaskill
Washington Football Team Hosts Voters At FedEx Field
FedEx Field in Landover may have been the best-organized, lightly-attended voting precinct in the history of voting.
There were signs and parking lot attendants directing motorists where to park, chipper Washington Football Team personnel giving out free masks (emblazoned with the team’s new logo), more attendants directing voters up the escalator to the check-in area, a must-use hand sanitizer dispenser, and even more attendants to guide people down a ramp after ballots had been cast.
At the exit to the sprawling, first-time voting location were “I Voted” stickers, bottled water and free food, courtesy of World Central Kitchen.
Turnout at this well-oiled NFL-themed voting station? Steady but light.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who spent a good chunk of her day greeting voters and doing interviews at the stadium, said robust early-voting turnout — 129,017 as of late Monday — explained the modest crowd.
“People had a lot to say and they’re saying it at these polling places,” Alsobrooks said. “All the young people. More first-time voters than I have ever seen. …They were really proud to participate.”
Anti-Trump sentiment ran deep among voters in this overwhelmingly Democratic polling place.
“I’m a millennial, and I understand that if we don’t at least attempt to make a change now, there won’t be a change,” said Xavier Parker. “There’s a lot going on, especially in the Black community, and it just needs to be highlighted.”
Jackie Price predicted that Democrat Joe Biden, if elected, would “bring a change in the world.”
Like many voters who spoke to Maryland Matters, Kevin Sullivan said he has long preferred to cast a ballot on Election Day.
“With the climate that it is today, with the Postal Service and the news stating that ballots wouldn’t be counted, I knew for a fact that they would definitely be in the system and that my vote would be counted,” he said.
Sullivan, who admitted he didn’t cast a vote four years ago, brought his son Kenaz to the polling place this year.
While the mood at FedEx was largely upbeat, Alsobrooks said there was an undercurrent of worry about the Biden-Trump race.
“The choices are very clear,” she said. “There is a great amount of anxiety about it.”
― Bruce DePuyt
Voters Line Up to Cast Ballots in Baltimore
At Barclay Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, a long line of around 80 people formed by 11 a.m., with a wait time as long as an hour.
Marvin Easley has lived in Baltimore for his whole life and said he was motivated to vote because he wants a more transparent government. Easley said he was supporting Bob Wallace for mayor because “we need new direction, new focus.” Anyone who has been office “for a certain amount of time and really haven’t done anything” is not a compelling candidate to him, he said.
Ian Henshaw, a teacher in the city, was in line for 45 minutes but said he was happy to see the long line today “because we want as many people to vote as possible,” he said. Not only is he hoping for new leadership at the presidential level, but he also thinks there are critical local candidates as well.
Henshaw was voting for Franca Muller Paz as councilperson for District 12. “She definitely does have a good chance. I think anybody who’s here for progressive policies is important and getting that voice heard is vital,” he said.
Muller Paz is challenging Democratic incumbent Robert Stokes Sr. in perhaps the only competitive council race on the presidential campaign ballot.
Austin Rose, a first-time voter and a student at Johns Hopkins University, is originally from Arkansas, but came to vote in person because his mail-in ballot never arrived. He came because it’s “one of the biggest elections that I can now actually vote for, now that I am of age, I can vote against Trump,” he said.
The line at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was short this morning, with barley any wait time at all.
Bethann Pankonien, a teacher, and Kevin Pankonien, a first-time voter, arrived together to vote in-person and were surprised that they only had to wait a minute to cast their vote. They had allocated the entire day to vote.
Kevin came out for the first time today because of the division in the country. “Rather than fighting with each other, we need to unite and take on the battles as one rather than battling with each other,” he said. As a nurse, he said he was disappointed by how the current administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kevin said he endorsed Brandon Scott for his work with the city’s youth centers. As someone who plays basketball with children in the city, Pankonien said he has seen turnarounds first-hand. “Instead of them being out in unsafe situations, they have somewhere to go…a safe haven to hang out,” he said.
Bethann said she went to a protest downtown and got to hear Brandon Scott speak, encouraging people to vote. “I wanted to make sure I carried over what happened and being a part of that here [voting],” she said.
Tracy Foster, an infrequent voter due to work, said she made an effort to vote in this election because her new boss gave her time off to vote. She said she was surprised that she was “in and out” of Dunbar High School because she expected more people who would wait until Election Day to vote. She said she specifically came in person because she did not trust her vote would be counted by a mail-in ballot.
Not supportive of either of the two main parties, Foster said she voted for Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for the presidential seat. “I’m so tired of the Republican party and the Democratic party. It’s been decades and nothing hasn’t changed, everything is still the same,” she said. “I feel like America is headed into a downward spiral.”
― Elizabeth Shwe
Hogan Stops By Annapolis Voting Center, Urges Patience On Final Election Results
Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan arrived at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis shortly after 10 a.m. as voters steadily flowed into the voting center.
The governor urged patience as the country awaits results on Election Night.
“Passions are high,” Hogan said. “There are frustrations out there. We’re doing everything we can to have a free and fair election without interference.”
Advocates and election officials alike have repeatedly warned that voters might not get a clear picture of their next president on election night. In Maryland, the deadline to postmark a mail-in ballot is Tuesday, but mailed ballots have until the morning of Nov. 13 to arrive at local boards of elections.
And while election officials have been canvassing ballots for weeks in Maryland, there are still thousands that haven’t been returned to local boards.
Deborah Cross, who was using the Pip Moyer Recreation Center’s track on Tuesday, said her mail-in ballot has already been counted by election officials. Cross ordered a mail-in ballot in the summer amid fears of a coronavirus surge.
Cross said she was satisfied when the State Board of Elections notified that her ballot had been counted, but said she now regrets voting by mail.
“I would have preferred voting in person,” Cross said, adding that she’d only use a mail-in ballot again if she was hospitalized or otherwise physically couldn’t head to the polls.
Michelle Gardner said she always planned to vote in person on Election Day. She wasn’t particularly worried about mail-in ballot security, but opted to vote in person because it’s what she’s most comfortable with.
“It’s the way I’ve always done it,” Gardner said.
Gardner budgeted well over an hour to vote at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis, but said she didn’t take even half of that time.
She added that she felt safe with the social distancing procedures in place inside the voting center.
Hogan said Maryland doesn’t know of “any credible threats or plans of disturbances” to the election, but said he’s set up a war room in the State House to monitor any voter intimidation that crops up as the election continues.
Hogan also lauded election workers, who quickly volunteered to fill vacancies after officials faced a poll worker shortage earlier this year. He proclaimed Nov. 2 as “Election Hero Day” to honor poll workers.
― Bennett Leckrone
Baltimore Voters Will Choose New Mayor, Decide on City Government Reforms
The sun was still inching over the harbor as Maryland Matters arrived at the voting center at Baltimore’s Camden Yards just before polls opened Tuesday morning.
Voters bundled themselves in winter coats as election signs sprouting from tree planters shivered in the wind.
About 45 people waited in line just moments ahead of the polls’ official opening. Among them were Labreya Smith and Fratina Brown, who said they had waited there for about 30 minutes.
Smith told Maryland Matters that she wanted to get out early to avoid any uncertainties the day might bring, noting that she’s heard on the news that people are beginning to board up the windows of businesses across the country in anticipation of civil unrest.
“I don’t want to be a part of that,” she said.
Smith said that her goal for this election day is to “vote for those who couldn’t vote,” naming Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, both of whom were slain at the hands of police earlier this year.
“All we can do is hope for the best,” she said.
Brown said that showing up at the polls this Election Day is an act that she hopes will demonstrate the importance of voting to younger Americans.
“We as a community ― a Black community ― didn’t always have that,” she said.
A little over three miles from where Brown and Smith stood to cast their ballots, Baltimore City mayoral candidate Bob Wallace showed to cast his vote at New Era Academy in Cherry Hill.
Wallace, who is running as an independent in the city’s mayoral race against City Council President Brandon Scott and Republican Candidate Shannon Wright, attended the school as a child.
“I wanted to make a statement here,” he told reporters outside of the polls Tuesday morning. “I started here many years ago, and now I’m ending here.”
Though Scott is the predicted favorite for the city’s mayoral seat, Wallace said he feels like a change needs to come to Baltimore.
“I believe we’re going to have a major upset tonight,” he said. “The 10 years or so that my opponent has been in City Hall, it’s just not worked. He’s had a chance didn’t work out. Now it’s time for a new coach and new game plan.”
Voters are casting ballots today for city council, the council president, mayor and comptroller. Baltimore ballots also include a number of ballot questions that could reform city government for years to come, including the council’s budgetary and veto powers, as well as the council’s ability to remove elected officials from office.
― Hannah Gaskill
Early Morning Voters Turn Out in Montgomery County, Quickly Wind Through Voting Centers
At White Oak Community Recreation Center, a short line formed before polls opened, and a steady stream of voters entered the polling place around 7 a.m.
Samuel Tom-Sahr, a first-time voter from the neighborhood, arrived with his wife to vote just as the polls opened. “I felt it was my duty as an African American to utilize the privilege to vote,” Tom-Sahr said, recalling the fight for civil rights. “I feel like I owed it to the people who fought for me.”
Tom-Sahr said he felt it was critical to cast a ballot this year, and voted for Joe Biden as president.
“I think it really boiled down to human rights and the respect for your fellow human being,” Tom-Sahr said. “Aside from the politics itself, that’s what was really on the docket.”
Orren Rought wore a red sweatshirt and red shoes to cast his vote for Donald Trump. He arrived right when the polls opened to vote on Election Day, just as he always has.
Rought said he wasn’t interested in early voting or voting by mail, but felt this election was “very important.”
“I wanna keep him in there,” Rought said of the president. “I think he’s the best man for the job.”
Evangelina Melendez, who works at a medical rehab center, arrived at the polling place in blue scrubs. She helped other family members vote by mail, but missed the deadline herself and decided to vote in person.
“I was willing to wait a long time. I was really surprised at how quick it was,” she said.
Melendez said she voted for Biden and running mate Kamala Harris because of their position on climate change “and all the important things.”
Ultimately, she hopes their election would help bring people back together. “The division in this country, all of that, needs to be calmed down,” she said.
Maryland House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), was at the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center first thing in the morning. The crowd at the center was lighter than a typical Election Day, but that’s likely because of the state’s tremendous early turnout.
As of Monday evening, more than 2.3 million Marylanders had already voted; total turnout in 2016 was 2.8 million.
“That’s unbelievable,” Luedtke said. He believes the reinvigorated electorate is the start of a long-term trend, and a “revival of democracy.”
― Danielle E. Gaines
Huge Uptick In First-Time Voters
Lines formed outside of voting centers in Anne Arundel County before in-person voting began at 7 a.m. on Election Day, but voters quickly cast their ballots once the voting centers’ doors opened.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, the longest reported wait time in the county was at Northeast High School in Pasadena, where voters were in line for just 25 minutes.
Taylor Hook, 19, arrived at Annapolis High School at 8:30 a.m. to cast her ballot. It was Hook’s first time ever voting in person, and she said she’s casting her ballot for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Hook said many of her closest friends are Black, and she feels that President Trump hasn’t paid enough attention to the Black Lives Matter movement during his time in office.
She was also critical of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has recently surged across the country.
“He just gave up,” Hook said, “And that’s unacceptable to me.”
Hook was surprised to find no line at the voting center when she arrived. She had work at 10 a.m., and had budgeted more than an hour to cast her ballot.
Hook said she decided to vote in person because it seemed easiest for a first-time voter.
“I definitely didn’t want to be the odd one out, first of all,” Hook said. “And second of all, it’s my right.”
Yvette Lewis, the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, kicked off a tour of voting centers around the state on Tuesday morning at Annapolis High School. Lewis said she’s seen first-time voters like Hook turn out in droves to cast their ballots so far, and expects total voter turnout to eclipse 2016 in Maryland.
According to the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, more than 4 million first-time voters have already cast their ballot in the presidential election across the country. Nearly 40% of those voters are under the age of 30 like Hook, according to TargetSmart.
Lewis noted that voters who didn’t participate in the 2016 presidential election have also accounted for a significant portion of ballots cast so far, according to the data firm.
“I’m extremely grateful,” Lewis said. “Grateful that they’re participating in the process. Grateful that they’ve decided to take back our democracy. Grateful that they’ve decided not to be passive, but to be active.”
― Bennett Leckrone
State Officials Anticipate Crowds At Maryland’s 300 Election Day Voting Centers
More than 300 voting centers will be open for Election Day, and while officials have been encouraging mail-in and early voting for weeks, large crowds are anticipated at some polling places.
Social distancing protocols will be in place at all of the state’s voting centers, and voters are asked to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Voters who arrive at vote centers without masks will be offered one; voters who have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask will be asked to vote a provisional ballot outside of the voting room to protect others.
Anticipating crowds, officials encourage voters to be prepared and suggested bringing items including a folding chair, a snack and a bottle of water.
Polls will be open for in-person voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To avoid crowds, the best time to vote is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., state elections officials said.
Mail ballots can be returned to ballot dropboxes until 8 p.m. and officials are encouraging voters to drop off ballots instead of mailing them. If ballots are sent by mail, they must be postmarked ― not just deposited in a mailbox ― on Tuesday and received by local elections offices by Nov. 13.
If you’re preparing to vote, we re-up these resources that may be helpful to you: our Election 2020 page with ongoing coverage, along with our voter FAQs, voting location and dropbox maps, and ballot question explainers for the state, city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
― Danielle E. Gaines
This live blog will be updated throughout Election Day.