Obama, Same-Sex Marriage, Dream Act Prevail with Silver Spring Support
Find information on what's happening in and around Silver Spring and Burtonsville on election day.
Last update: A little after 11 p.m. Tuesday it was clear that news outlets were calling President Obama the winner in what was predicted to be a very close race with challenger Mitt Romney. With support from voters in Silver Spring and Burtonsville, the president easily took Maryland.
(Scroll down to read the voices of voters in Silver Spring and Burtonsville on why they voted for or against the president and several ballot measures.)
Referendums on gay marriage and legislation that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition were also upheld by voters.
Gov. O'Malley released a statement following the passage of same-sex marriage. A snippet:
Over these past few weeks, Marylanders joined together to affirm that for a free and diverse people of many faiths – a people committed to religious freedom – the way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all.
Del. Heather Mizeur, a Takoma Park Democrat who represents parts of Silver Spring, released the following statement:
Tonight marks an historic step forward on the path towards justice. Marylanders are the first Americans to uphold the freedom to marry at the ballot box. Love makes a family, but a marriage license protects them. That protection makes Maryland a stronger community.
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5:00 p.m.: At the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Center in Burtonsville, voters seemed to feel strongly about the Dream Act, among other issues.
Here are some of the voices of Burtonsville voters:
"I’m 22, I’m a woman, I feel that it is important for anyone my age and my gender to get out and try and make a difference. I just want to make sure we’re not moving backwards, I want us to go forwards...I voted on a few of the questions. Question 6, the marriage act, I think it’s important for everyone to get to marry the person they love." Rebekah Barrett, 22, on why she voted yes to Question 6, which would legalize same-sex marriage.
"This is an election about the way the economy works. The way they have been for four years saying 'no' to everything that will be for the benefit of America. This was not about Obama or Romney, this is about our lives being affected. I have sponsored my three kids through college and none of them are working right now and it isn’t Obama’s fault—whatever he put in the Republicans block it and say 'no.'" Mamie Njie, 64, on why she voted for President Obama.
"Wherever you stand, you basically get to say where you stand because it can end up being one vote that makes the difference." Ousainou Njie, 27, on why he voted.
"I did vote for it [Dream Act]. I think if you have students that are in high school then when you go to college they have to pay different fees. Why not give them the state fees? It’s the right thing." Rajash Kothary, 54, on why he voted yes to Question 4, the Maryland Dream Act.
"I came here when I was young and I came here from a different culture, so to actually be able to see the changes and then grow up and the differences between my parent's generation and my generation, and then to give more opportunity to the next gen." said Ruchika Sindhi, 33, on why she voted yes on Questions 4 and 6.
2:00 p.m.: After spending the morning at the Civic Center, we mosied over to the Silver Spring Library to chat up more voters.
After speaking with many, many Barack Obama supporters and residents who supported gay marriage, we found a woman in Silver Spring who voted for his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. She also voted against Question 6, which would legalize gay marriage.
"I wanted to vote for Romney because I’m worried about Obama’s stand against religion—that’s the most important thing to me in the whole world," said Virginia Druliner, 70.
She continued, explaining that she believes that the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate is unfair to Catholic people:
[The Affordable Care] that’s just another strike, it’s just a strike against freedom of religion in America, that’s what it is. And that is happening completely way too much and I can’t go there. I had to go for Romney who I don’t even like because he is a supporter of religious freedom, openly.
Druliner's religion also informed her vote on Question 6:
Six, I voted against because marriage is something that is between a man and a woman in order to produce a family. I feel sorry for these people who want to have same-sex marriages, they can have a contract or something else, but it isn’t marriage. Marriage is a tradition, it is something that makes families. To me, it’s just not right to give that status.
Not everyone in Silver Spring felt similarly. Here are more voices from Silver Spring voters:
"Obamacare. I'm counting the days for this to be in full implementation. Friends of mine who are survivors of cancer, friends of mine who have difficult mental health and physical health conditions that won’t be able to be covered. It terrifies me that we could lose that after so much work getting that established."
"I think Obama has done a remarkable job getting a lot of stuff done with not much help. I think he’s a hero—I’ve been praying with might and mane." Becky Rizvi, 53, on why she voted for President Obama.
"It felt good to vote for the marriage equality act. It would be good to get a time behind us when that kind of discrimination went on. I would like to move past that so everybody can do their thing equally." Eric Meany, 44, on Question 6, which would legalize same-sex marriage.
"I was especially excited to vote in Maryland for gay marriage and the Dream Act. Those are two things that are super important and I was just so proud to have voted yes for those two things today. We need to treat all of our citizens equally and fairly." Stehanie Ball, 27, on Questions 4 and 6.
11 a.m.: Voters waited outside of the Silver Spring Civic Center for about 20 minutes before moving inside for more waiting, albeit inside of a climate-controlled building.
Temps were chilly, but voters were warm to most of the ballot questions set before them. The voters Patch spoke to were all in favor of gay marriage legislation, the Dream Act and expanded gambling.
We also ran into Councilmember Ervin, flanked by a group of student volunteers from Montgomery Blair High, stumping for gay marriage and the Dream Act.
A snippet of our conversation:
The Dream Act and Question 6 to me are interchangeable because it’s all about human rights and civil rights in this country and that we cannot deny people who are already here the right to go to college, to dream big, like you’ve always been told. We can also not deny the right to be married in the sight of the law…I just think this is correcting inequality in America.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Feeling a little meh?
Gov. O'Malley stopped by, as promised, and met with a few folks outside of the Civic Building. (Although one tweeter was peeved he didn't talk to voters in line.)
He said that he voted "yes" to the ballot questions, "to move Maryland forward."
Voices from Silver Spring voters:
"Everybody should have equal access to education." Jessica Evans, 25, on Question 4, the Dream Act for undocumented students.
"I’m a strong supporter of six because that seems to be a freedom issue. Matter fact, I don’t even understand why I’m voting on somebody else’s marriage." Benjamin Ambrose, 51, on Question 6, legalizing same-sex marriage.
"The question is are we going to do this to enhance the revenue inside our state. Seems like an open and shut case—I live in this state, let’s keep the money here. Sorry, West Virginia." Ambrose, on Question 7, expanded gambling.
"I think everyone deserves equal protection and the right to marry. That’s why I came out to vote." Anna Ansaldo, 31, on Question 6, legalizing same-sex marriage.
"I think we’re all better off when everyone has opportunities and can achieve their goals." Alex Ansaldo, 36, on Questions 4 and 6.
9 a.m.: Lines were long as polls in Maryland opened at 7 a.m., but voters were patient and enthusiastic. We're reblogging great photos from voters all over Silver Spring on our Instagram (follow PatchSilverSpring).
Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to drop by the Silver Spring Civic Center at 10 a.m. today—his only election day stop in MoCo—to join Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who represents Silver Spring in the County Council.
Speaking of downtown Silver Spring, the development company that put together the shopping center, Peterson Companies, is campaigning pretty hard for your "yes" vote on Question 7, expanded gambling in Maryland. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reports that they're opposing same-sex marriage (Question 6), the Dream Act (Question 4) and the congressional redistricting map (Question 5). They gave $271,515 to a group that produced a sample ballot opposing those three questions.
The company said, however, that they have no formal position on any measure other than Question 7.
Does that influence your vote? Why or why not?
5 a.m.: Patch has kept you in the loop all year on what you will be asked to decide today, Nov. 6—Romney or Obama; same-sex marriage; in-state tuition for undocumented students; gambling in Prince George's County; expanded hiring of workers with disabilities in Montgomery County and many more ballot questions.
Now, follow Patch as we scour East Montgomery County—that's greater Silver Spring and Burtonsville—to find out how many voters are turning out, who they're voting for and why they want to vote.
This is the live election blog, to be updated regularly. It's also an open thread, which means you should feel free to post comments about the election and voting, but also your election pictures (we see you snapping a pic of your "I Voted" sticker for Instagram) or anything else you want to share with your neighbors.
Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. There are dozens of polling places in East Montgomery County, so find out where you need to go from the Board of Elections website—you'll need to enter your address or your date of birth and zip code.
Also, Patch will be working into a dizzying frenzy, visiting Montgomery County polling places and looping you in on every single details. Keep up with us here:
- Twitter: @SilvSpringPatch and @ColesvillePatch for updates
- Facebook.com/SilverSpringPatch and Facebook.com/ColesvillePatch
- Instagram: PatchSilverSpring
See you at the polls!