On Voters’ Minds: Accountability, Decency, Participation

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Coffees and umbrellas in hand, voters all over Baltimore lined up early Tuesday morning at their local polling places exercise their right to vote. At the early hour, lines were fairly short and seemed to move quickly, and for those who spoke to the JT, the gravity of the day’s events was palpable.

“I want Democrats to get some control in Washington,” said Shannon Gaston, voting at The Mount Washington School. “I want to save Obamacare.” She had spent the morning, she said, trying to explain to her young children why it was so important to vote.


Sarah Imhoff, voting at the same location, never misses an election. She too spoke to the importance of the midterms, seeing them as a chance to “bring some accountability to the Republican Party.”

That point was further echoed by Nick Schiner, who braved the rain to make it to the Summit Park Elementary School polling place. “I just think it’s important to vote for decency, and use this as an opportunity to bring some righteousness back to politics,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to put checks back in place.”

The vast majority of voters approached for an interview declined. Of those who did accept, they mostly stuck to as vague a script as they could. One woman who declined to be interviewed noted that, as a Trump supporter, the climate of “our politically correct world” discouraged her from speaking publicly about the election.

Though there had been reports of malfunctioning voting machines and long lines from Georgia to New York, things seemed to be running smoothly in the Baltimore area; the pace was brisk, and lines moved quickly.

Outside of the polling places, candidate signs sprouted out of the ground everywhere, and at some polling places, lines of volunteers exhorted voters hurrying to get inside to vote for their candidate or ballot measure, handing out literature. Because of the weather, they mostly served as quick detours before voters could get where they were headed.

“I’m a proud United States citizen, and I feel that its important for each of us to be involved in the process,” said Avie Yudin, voting at Falstaff Elementary School. Yudin disagreed with the idea the idea that these midterms were somehow more important than any other. The 2016 presidential election, he said, held that title.

Bernard Birnbaum, holding a chumash under his arm, agreed. Regardless of the election, however, “it’s important to come out and be a part of the Jewish community, showing that we’re a part of the legislative process,” he said. Then, he hurried out into the rain.

And standing out in that rain on a street corner was Jacqueline Greenfield, director of constituent services for Sandy Rosenberg. “I think every election is important,” she said. “We have the freedom to vote.”

Bruce Goldman, who was at Summit Park Elementary, said that around election time, “you have to filter out the noise and vote your heart.”

“Democracy requires me to vote every election,” he said.

Barry Goldschmidt, voting at Glyndon Elementary in Reisterstown, was one of the few people willing to name things he was concerned about: health care and pay raises for state employees, to start.

“It’s important to exercise your constitutional right,” he said, shaking rain off of his umbrella. “I also think it’s a responsibility.”

jbernstein@midatlanticmedia.com

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