This article will be updated as the 2012 General Election progresses.
UPDATE, 8:20 p.m. Polls have closed in Bethesda following a busy day.
Many precincts reported heavy turnout in the morning with lines thinning out mid-day. Election judges at several Bethesda polling locations reported no after-work rush and minimal evening lines.
At the Washington Waldorf School, "It was unbelievably heavy in the morning, but it started to peter out around 2 p.m.," said chief election judge Sue Schumacher.
At a precinct voting at Pyle Middle School with 3,400 registered voters, 2,000 of those had voted as of 7 p.m. Tuesday, according chief election judge Carol Calhoun.
With two precincts voting at Pyle, however, there was some confusion during the day, Calhoun said.
Judges at the Walt Whitman polling place also reported heavy morning turnout and a steady flow throughout the day.
Ballot question 7 on casino gaming remained a top issue with Bethesda voters.
Voter William Bird, who voted against Question 7, likened revenue from casino gambling to revenue from speed cameras. "Instead of taxing people the way you should, you're taxing the poor schleps who line up for casinos," Bird said. "It doesn't seem like a way to fund public activities."
UPDATE, 2:44 p.m. Shortly before 1 p.m., the voter rush was beginning to slow down at Bethesda Elementary, according to election judge Kathryn Winsberg.
"We've had quite substantial turnout here," Winsberg said. "This is the first time all day we've not had a line."
When doors opened at 7 a.m., voters reported waiting in line for about 45 minutes, Winsberg said. "The line was out the hallway and as far as I could see," Winsberg said.
Judges there noted several voters who showed up to vote and realized they were in the wrong place -- their correct polling location was Bethesda Library, just down Arlington Road.
"They had waited in a long line at that point, so some people just said, 'I'll vote provisionally,'" Winsberg said.
Bethesda Library was also relatively quiet early Tuesday afternoon following a morning rush.
UPDATE, 11:08 a.m.: At Walt Whitman High School Tuesday morning, veteran election judge Austin King reported the heaviest voter turnout she’s seen in her 15 years as an election volunteer.
330 voters cast their ballot within the first hour, King said. When the doors opened at 7 a.m., the line snaked around three times between the front door and the entrance to the polling station in the gymnasium.
“That’s huge,” King said. “It’s a great turnout.”
Bethesda voters flocked to the polls at Whitman and other polling stations Tuesday morning. Some faced long lines and cold temperatures, but many reported lines moving quickly.
Bethesda tweep @Marc_keting reported a 32-minute wait at Ashburton Elementary School via Twitter Tuesday morning. The wait was also about 30 minutes at Seven Locks Elementary School, though parking was scarce there, @flvrfndr tweeted.
Shortly before 7:30 a.m., about 100 waited in line at North Bethesda Middle School, Bethesda tweep and Patch blogger David Heyman tweeted.
At Whitman, the line was moving quickly just before 10 a.m., and despite the lengthy ballot, voters came armed with sample ballots and ready to vote, King said.
Signs along the hallway where voters waited urged them to have their votes in mind before stepping up to the voting machines.
“They’re very prepared,” King said. “They’re ready to vote when they get to the check-in judges.”
Bethesda voters came out to the polls in support of both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But Maryland ballot questions were also a draw, with many voters reporting taking a strong stance on the Dream Act, gaming, and civil marriage.
“One of my best friends is gay and I think anyone that has anyone in their lives that is gay should feel that they should have the same rights as the rest of us,” said Frank Ciatto, a Bethesda resident who voted at the Little Flower polling station.
Gaming in Maryland also drew strong opinions from voters.
“For a lot of people the revenue is appealing,” said Bethesda voter John Kendrick. “But I'd rather forego revenue as a matter of principle.”
Stick with Patch for updates from the polls throughout the day. Join us on Twitter at #patchelections, and Tweet your experiences at the polls to @BethesdaPatch.
Original post: Voters in Bethesda are heading to the polls today to help decide the next local, state and national leaders.
The Obama-Biden ticket is expected to carry Maryland, a traditionally blue state, over Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
In 2008, Maryland cast 71.6 percent of its votes for the Democratic duo, over then challengers Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin.
That year Montgomery County voted overwhelmingly Democratic, nearly 3 to 1, over Republican. Montgomery County Board of Election figures show that team Obama-Biden raked in 314,444 votes to McCain-Palin’s 118,608 total.
Congressional District 8 in Montgomery County had a voter turnout around 80 percent during the 2008 general election. The 8th Congressional District in 2008 was won by Chris Van Hollen with 74.4 percent. This year he faces Ken Timmerman for the seat.
For U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin faces Republican opponent Daniel Bongino of Severna Park, as well as independent candidate Rob Sobhani of Potomac.
Keep checking back as we update this article with news and information from the polls and election results.
|U.S. Congressional Dist. 8||Chris Van Hollen||Ken Timmerman||George Gluck||Mark Grannis|
|U.S. Senate||Ben Cardin||Dan Bongino||Rob Sobhani||Dean Ahmad|