Cecil County Votes: Steady Turnout, Lines at Some Precincts as Voters Cast Ballots in Historic Election

November 6, 2012

Cecil County voters went to the polls Tuesday in strong and steady numbers to cast ballots for President and congressional candidates and, closer to home, the county’s first-ever County Executive and two County Council members.

Anecdotal reports from throughout the county indicated a strong voter turnout, with lines at some polling places early in the morning. In Cecilton, poll watchers said there was steady activity until about 11 a.m., longer than the usual morning rush. But by early afternoon, turnout had slacked off and voters moved swiftly through the voting process with no lines.

County Elections Board director Evelyn Potter said most polling places were problem-free, but the Calvert elementary site had persistent difficulties with slow-to-load electronic poll books and the site had lines for much of the day.

By 3 p.m., the Election Day turnout was 20,498, or 32.7 percent of the county’s eligible voters, according to Potter. Of that tally, Republican turnout was 8,781 while 8,037 Democrats cast ballots on Tuesday, with 3,680 unafilliated voters showing up at the polls.

Turnout was strongest in the Chesapeake City-South (Precinct 2-1) by 3 p.m., with 49 percent turnout, while Rising Sun banquet hall (Precinct 6-1) and Bainbridge (Precinct 7-1) posted 48 percent turnout rates. Cecilton’s turnout (Precinct 1) registered at 47.5 percent by 3 p.m.

Statewide, voter turnout was reported as strong throughout the day on Tuesday.

In Cecil County, state election officials reported there were 5,891 total ballots cast in early voting, amounting to 9.42 percent of the county’s 62,524 eligible voters. (Statewide, early ballots were cast by 430,573 voters, or 11.65 percent of the state’s 3,694,658 eligible voters.)

On Tuesday, polling places were set to close at 8 p.m. and Potter said the results of the pre-Election Day early voting would be the first ballots to be tabulated. But the early vote tally is but a tiny share of the county and the patterns of that initial outcome might very well be reversed as the vote count continues throughout the county’s 19 precincts. (The last votes that will be counted several days after the polls close are absentee and overseas ballots.)

Early votes are tallied separately and there is no report of the home precincts of those voters. Especially in a presidential election year, there is often a correlation between how a presidential candidate fares in a particular precinct and how candidates for local office from the same political party perform in that precinct.

In the 2008 presidential election year, an analysis by Cecil Times found that Democratic local candidates racked up their best margins in the four precincts that went for President Obama. In precincts that strongly favored Republican presidential candidate John McCain, local GOP candidates polled their best margins and they closely matched the proportion of McCain’s share of the local tally.

[SEE Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2008/11/party-line-time-in-cecil-voting-except-for-congress/]

In the last presidential election, statewide voter turnout was 77.3 percent. In Cecil County, the overall voter turnout was 72.4 percent, with Republicans having a slightly higher turnout rate (76%) than Democrats (72.8%) and unaffiliated voters having a substantially lower turnout rate (64.6%).

In the 2008 gubernatorial election year, Cecil County’s overall voter turnout was 48.5 percent, according to the state Board of Elections.

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