Hurlock voters turn out to back favorite candidates

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz Chief election judges William Johnson, left, and Matthew Reaugh, right, had plenty of work to do as the high voter turnout in Hurlock kept them busy.

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Chief election judges William Johnson, left, and Matthew Reaugh, right, had plenty of work to do as the high voter turnout in Hurlock kept them busy.

HURLOCK — It didn’t really look like Election Day at the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company polling place on Nov. 8. Usually by 7 a.m. each corner at the nearby intersection is festooned with signs and volunteers holding placards and pamphlets with a favorite candidate’s platform in a last ditch effort to persuade voters. Not this year. There were two small signs for Hillary Clinton and one for Chris Van Hollen. That was it!

With no local contests to be decided in Hurlock the customary excitement was not conspicuous. Voters may have been excited but no one was revealing their presidential picks to other voters.

This election was a serious one marked by intense rivalry and polar opposite visions of America’s future. But the early birds at the HVFC were cordial; happy the contest would soon be decided one way or another, and polite.

First in line was Keith Callahan. He arrived about 6:45 a.m. and a minute later Francine Fletcher-Hughes was second in line. Mr. Callahan explained why he was so early, “I’ve got three children at home and my wife has to go to work. I’m an early bird and I wanted to get it done. Also, the lines aren’t as long at 7 in the morning. I’ve been watching this (election contest) for 4-5 years to keep an eye on things.” An inveterate news watcher, Mr. Callahan added, “I haven’t been happy with the way things have been lately but the only way to make a change is to vote. Every vote counts and I hope we can get it done today.”

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz First in line to vote on Nov. 8 at the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company was Keith Callahan. Seconds later, Francine Fletcher-Hughes arrived. Third and fourth respectively were Granville Batson Sr. and Denise Fitzgerald.

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
First in line to vote on Nov. 8 at the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company was Keith Callahan. Seconds later, Francine Fletcher-Hughes arrived. Third and fourth respectively were Granville Batson Sr. and Denise Fitzgerald.

Ms. Fletcher-Hughes, a food service worker at North Dorchester High Schools, explained, “I wanted to beat the crowd. Like he (Mr. Callahan) said, ‘every vote counts.’” Third in line was corrections department employee Granville Batson Sr. who said he was there “because I’ve got to get to work.” Denise Fitzgerald, Talbot County Animal Control, also was there early before going to work.

Fast forward to 4 p.m. Chief Judges for the Hurlock polling location, Matthew Reaugh and William Johnson, told the Banner that the turnout for this unusual presidential election was on target to exceed 50 percent participation. Of 2,800 registered voters, 1,047 had voted by 4 p.m. with 4 hours remaining until the 8 p.m. poll closures. Turnout for presidential elections are always high according to the experts but Mr. Reaugh noted, “Based on early voting results turnout was expected to be good – but not this good!”

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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