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Voting Pace Brisk in Maryland Suburbs

As voting began in the Potomac Primary began this morning in Maryland, turnout was heavy in Eastern Montgomery County, even beyond the usual pre-work rush.

"This is unprecedented as far as I'm concerned," said Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot, surveying the 30-minute line at his home precinct of Piney Branch Elementary School in Takoma Park. "This is 8 a.m. traffic and it's after 10 o'clock."

Officials were relieved to report no voting problems at Piney Branch this morning. Two years ago, it was plagued with delays after electronic voting cards didn't arrive in time and provisional ballots ran out.

"Last time I had to vote on a scrap of paper," said Takoma Park voter Nancy Martin. "Somebody ran to CVS to buy paper for us to vote on. This time it all went very smoothly."

Polling official Ann Sergeant said the county provided extra provisional ballots, instituted emergency help lines and deployed roving technical support teams.

"I think they are into continual improvement," Sergeant said.

At the Stamp Student Center at the University of Maryland College Park, the morning crowd was dominated by supporters of Sen. Barrack Obama (Ill.). Voters waited in long lines at the polling place there.

There were a few supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton urging votes for her, but most of the last-minute campaigners were supporters of Obama. No Republican boosters were present.

Samantha Reynolds, a 20-year-old sophomore, said she would be late for class because the lines were so long.

"But I really don't care," the Obama supporter said. "Today's about making history, and I think my professor will understand that."

Molly Weber, a 21-year-old junior, said she was voting for Clinton.

"I just hope people aren't swayed by all the Obama craziness," Weber said. "I think when people really think about it, they'll decide that Hillary will be a better president."

-- Megan Greenwell and Steve Hendrix

By Anne Bartlett  |  February 12, 2008; 10:40 AM ET
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