BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland residents on Tuesday voted in an unusually early primary for candidates in the Democratic and Republican races for governor.
The primary was moved from September to June to comply with federal rules requiring states to send ballots to members of the military and other Americans overseas. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur were running in the Democratic primary to replace Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is limited to two terms. Republicans were choosing between real estate broker Larry Hogan, Del. Ron George, Harford County Executive David Craig and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar.
In the Democratic primary, Tefta Karagjozi said she voted for Brown. The 60-year-old special education teacher, who lives near the state capital of Annapolis, said she appreciated the investment that Brown and O'Malley have made in education.
"The fact that they know we need the money, and we need the funds, and we need the programs — I think that's the key, so that clinched it for me," she said.
In Montgomery County, Ann Dorough said she voted for Gansler, who served as the state's attorney in the county before becoming attorney general. She said she liked Gansler's position on trying to make the state more competitive in attracting jobs.
"I think that's a pretty wise strategy," said Dorough, who is acquainted with Gansler through friends.
Keith Bowen, of Anne Arundel County, said he voted for Mizeur. "I like her stand on legalized marijuana and using the revenue for the state," the 59-year-old said after voting.
After record-high turnout was reported in the state for early voting that started June 12 and ended Thursday, turnout appeared to be light at polling places. State elections officials said 141,590 people cast ballots in this early voting period, compared with 77,288 in 2010, the first year of early voting in Maryland. In western Maryland, election officials at two polling stations inside Bester Elementary School in Hagerstown reported relatively low turnout on Tuesday with less than 3 percent of eligible voters by noon.
"We think it's very light," said Jeff Powers, the chief election judge for the two polling stations.
Karagjozi also noted the lack of lines at Annapolis Middle School.
"It's a shame there aren't more people voting," she said as she left the school.
In the GOP primary race for governor, Bill Day said he voted for Craig. "I think that he probably has the most appeal among a large portion of Maryland Republicans, and I think he's probably the most competitive candidate in a general election," Day said after voting in Annapolis.
Jim Triebwasser said he cast his ballot for Hogan, who served as secretary of appointments in former Gov. Robert Ehrlich's administration between 2003 and 2007.
"I see that he's going to straighten out the mess that we have," Triebwasser said. "There's just too much being given away. Taxes are going up, and I want to see more people be more self-sufficient in their lives."
Bill Barkley said he voted for George, an Annapolis jewelry store owner who has served two terms in the Maryland House of Delegates.
"He's a business owner, and so he's been there, and that's important," said Barkley, 71.
Nine precincts in Montgomery County reported errors with electronic poll books used to look up voter names. Affected voters were allowed to cast a provisional ballot. A county elections official said Tuesday afternoon that replacement electronic poll books were delivered.
Voters can cast ballots until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Associated Press writer Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.