As rain falls, Delaware voters pour into polls

Voters line up for the polls at Richard Shields Elementary School in Lewes around 11 a.m. Tuesday. (Submitted photo/Sara Dawson)

This post will be updated throughout the day. Election polls close at 8 p.m.

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In Leipsic late this afternoon,  Ronnette Brown lamented “all the negative ads coming from the White House, which is destroying our country. Times are so scary with all the hate that are dragging us down. Hopefully that can change and every vote counts.”

Ms. Brown said she voted for leadership that will seemingly support her core values on healthcare, job security, school funding and addressing homeless issues.

“Every vote counts,” she said.

Her niece Sade Brown, 25, said she tries “to encourage all my friends to vote.”

Personally, the younger Brown was tuned out on the negativity broadcast to the public.

“Oh I don’t watch it,” she said. “There’s too much else going on in my life.”

Any racial issues that threaten to divide the country shouldn’t be attributed to any one source, Mozella Kamara said in Leipsic.

“I don’t buy into the idea that one guy has created a racial divide here,” she said. “This has been bubbling just under the surface for many years now.”

Access to medical care for all topped Ms. Kamara’s wish list.

“That should be the type of the country we are – providing for those who can’t provide for themselves. The fortunate ones who can should do their share.

“Everyone should have access to resources and services and put a system in place that doesn’t keep those who are down down.”

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John and Lisa White brought their 5- and 7-year-old sons to the Little Creek polling place in the afternoon.

“We’re trying to raise them to think for themselves and make decisions on how they feel about about an issue,” John White said.

Added his spouse, “They need to realize it’s more than a day off school.”

Asked about the issues most important now, Mr. White said security of countries of paramount importance. His oldest son interjected that “security of our money” was something to take care of.

Christina Tam arrived at Leipsic Fire Hall about 4 p.m. with her four children ages 18 months to 11 years old. Her message was that “Our voice matters.”

With her husband a physician, Ms. Tam said emphasized healthcare for all.

“We see both sides of it from patients and providers,” she said. “It’s important that the patient voices be heard.”

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According to self-identified Republican Dallas Holland, President Trump spurred a strong turnout by all party members. The main issues include the economy, medical coverage and immigration, he said.

“It’s because of Washington, Trump has gotten both parties out and it’s good for the system,” he said while standing outside the Little Creek Fire Hall with an umbrella around 3:30 p.m.

“Everyone should vote whether they’re Democrat or Republican. When everyone is doing as they should then the checks and balances work.”

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Chet and Dawn Hollingsworth lingered outside Polytech High in Woodside as a steady stream of voters came and went in early afternoon. They described the apparent number of voters as more than usual compared to other elections.

“I hope that the people are speaking (in large numbers) and the government will listen,” Ms. Hollingsworth said. “I don’t care if they are Democrats or Republicans, I just want them to be able to work together in the spirit of getting things done for all of us.”

Ms. Hollingsworth did, however, take an anti-President Trump stance. Her husband said the negativity associated with the administration is “a terrible thing to do and that takes attention away from important things as how to pay bills and get your kids through school.”

The couple agreed that healthcare and equal education for everyone are musts in the country and “there’s about 10 or 12 things” overall, Mr. Hollingsworth said, including term limits, equal pay for women and men among them.

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Pro-President Trump Rich Goodman professed to being “ ‘bout sick and tired of the Democrats opposing every step of the way” after voting at Caesar Rodney High in Camden in the afternoon. He noted the economy’s strength as a positive and attention to the approaching migrant caravan as necessary.

“I agree that everyone should have the opportunity to apply for entry into our country but they don’t have a right to walk right in without going through the process to properly determine that,” he said.

Mr. Goodman was joined in the early afternoon by his wife Carrie and elementary school age daughter who the couple made it a point to bring along.

“We’ve brought our children to vote with us ever since they were old enough to understand they can make a difference,” said Carrie Goodman, who noted that their three voting age children would vote on their own.

Ms. Goodman credited the teachers at J. Ralph McIlvaine Elementary School in Magnolia as instilling the importance of the vote in their students.

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Early in the afternoon, Bianca Dwiggins, 23, said she had voted in previous elections and was focused this time on “equality for everyone. We need a change in the world and I think it’s important to vote.”

Just after exiting Polytech High in Woodside, Ms. Dwiggins said she hoped leaders would strengthen gun laws to “take them out of America.”

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The Cheswold Fire Hall on Main Street was host to a packed parking lot and dozens of voters around noon.

Exiting the polls, Gail Maxwell of north Dover said she thought it was a “large crowd for a mid-term election.”
“Usually I feel like the turnout is less, I’m surprised to see so many people,” she said.

Two things Ms. Maxwell said she noticed in the run up to this election was the push to encourage people to vote and the intensity of division among voters themselves.

“I expect a few calls before a general election, but I got several calls and even a couple texts this year telling me to vote and even asking if I wanted to volunteer at the polls — it just seems like an unusual amount of attention for a mid-term, but I understand how important it is politically,” she said. “Also, a lot of friends and family really got into it with each other over social media these last few weeks too. It’s sad to see when it gets personal, but it just seems like people are really tense right now and sort of dug in on their beliefs.”

Like polls statewide, the Cheswold Fire Hall closes for voting at 8 p.m.

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Making a quick in and out trip to East Dover Elementary School just prior to noon was Virginia Ford, who voted Republican straight down the line. She believed President Trump “is changing things. He’s making things better and the Democrats are fighting him all the way.

“We didn’t do that to Obama.”

Ms. Ford described the Democrats as “acting like babies. If they would just leave him alone everything would go better.”

The president has brought back jobs and lowered taxes, Ms. Ford reasoned, and “has done everything he promised except for building the wall, which the Democrats have continued to oppose.”

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As rain began to fall around 11 a.m. in Lewes, at least 80 people were waiting to vote at Richard A. Shields Elementary School.

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Between raindrops at 9:15 a.m., Rob Anderson and two others stood outside Smyrna Middle School holding signs promoting the re-election of Rep. William Carson in District 28. Mr. Anderson described himself as a Democrat whose No. 1 issue was how healthcare will be provided in the coming years, especially regarding pre-existing conditions because “we all have them.”

This year’s election could be seen as a referendum on President Trump, according to Mr. Anderson.

“Having him in office has sparked a lot more interest because of his hatred and discontent, his rhetoric,” he said. “It sparked my interest to pay more attention which had lagged.”

School bus driver Robin Knowles left the polling place hoping her vote would make a difference in achieving raises for state employees and cameras on buses. Politically, she described herself as “staying in the middle ground and kind of going with the flow along with other people. I’m hoping for the world to be a better place and I know I’m not alone.”

The rancor involving politics has Ms. Knowles concerned for the students she transports to school each day.

“The world has changed a lot and I look at a lot of the children and think some of them may be the leaders of tomorrow,” she said. “It’s tough for them.”

According to Smyrna’s Elizabeth Cox, the country “Needs to change and get back to who we have been before.” She believes the direction may shift upon the president’s departure and that “America was founded by people who were leaving the country because of persecution.”

Standing nearby, Terry Arledge lamented what he described as a lack of available jobs in the United States and all the business that’s now conducted in China. He asserted that it “wasn’t Obama’s fault, it goes back way before him.”

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At around 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, the hazy weather seemed to keep voters at bay at Mispillion Elementary School in Milford. Neighboring Lulu Ross Elementary School, however, received a steady stream of voters eager to cast their votes in the 2018 mid-term elections.

In Middletown around the same time, voters were lined up five deep at Everett Meredith Middle School waiting to vote.

A steady rain pounded down at the Cheswold Fire Hall polling site around 9:45 a.m., but vehicles were vying for the limited parking spaces across the street on Del. 42. At one point, traffic was stopped both ways as a large truck pulled halfway into the road.

Voters parked on the side of the roadway leading into the Cheswold business park and scurried toward the fire company with umbrellas in hand and hoods pulled over their heads.

Staff writers Jenn Antonik, Ian Gronau and Ashley Dawson contributed to this story.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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