By Devin Bartolotta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s Election Day and in Maryland, polls have been packed.

Opening at 7 a.m. Tuesday, many locations in Baltimore City had voters already waiting in long lines, weathering the rain.

LOCATIONS: Find Your Polling Place In Maryland

“It’s very, very busy today,” said Andrea Butts, the chief judge at Hampden Elementary School.

In Hampden, 150 voters were lined up, waiting in the rain at 7 a.m.

Ducking in from heavy morning rain and lining up by the dozens, issues, candidates and political climate drove voters to their polling places early.

“I get very excited when this happens. I open the door to see the line snaking from here all the way to the sidewalk. It’s amazing,” said Kirsten Westbrook, another chief judge.

Westbooks said she’s seen overwhelming number of millennials as a part of the crowd that packed Hampden Elementary School just minutes after polls opened.

“There are a lot of things in this country that are going on that I feel very strongly about, so I just really wanted my voice to be heard today,” said voter Erika Kovacs.

“You know, the governor candidates were really important for us. In particular, I was interested in voting for Ben Jealous,” said Sarah Holmes, another voter.

MIDTERMS 2018: Everything You Need To Know About Election Day

Nearly 50,000 people cast ballots during early voting in Baltimore city and 600,000 statewide.

Those are big numbers and big momentum for midterm elections, which typically see very low voter turnout.

“It’s very important that people exercise their right to vote. The opportunities are there, through early voting and Election Day and voters need to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Armstead Jones, of the city’s board of elections.

With voters not shying away from long lines ballot boxes will see a long day of decision making ahead.

The city board of elections said one polling location did open about 20 minutes late, two precincts which normally vote at the Towanda Recreation polling location were moved to Creative City Public Charter School. Towanda was vandalized.

 

Twitter account, “Pizza to the Polls,” monitored long voter lines across the country, had pizzas delivered to those voting on an empty stomach in Station North.

[WJZ Reporter: “So what has turnout been like so far today?”] “It’s been great. It’s been great. I mean, in the rain, people coming out to vote,” said Kevin Carr, an election judge.

Including the 12 percent of city voters who voted early, Baltimore inched toward 2014 total turnout numbers by mid-afternoon.

“Interest is up across the country, it’s not different than here in Maryland,” said Mileah Kromer, director of Goucher Poll.

Kromer said we may see more “unlikely voters” in these midterms, which usually see low voter turnout.

“Midterm elections typically favor what we think about as habitual voters, these are older voters, these are voters who are typically whiter than the population at large,” Kromer said.

With a possible ticket-splitting governors race on the ballot, Marylanders may set records for voter turnout.

There were no issues with voting machines and everything is operating smoothly so far.

Polls are open until 8 p.m.

—-

Here’s more information on Election Day here in Maryland. 

Up for election are the governor and lieutenant governor races, comptroller, attorney general, a U.S. Senate seat, and eight seats in Congress. There are also several state Senate seats, state delegate seats, judges and local jurisdiction offices.

A number of ballot questions will also be up for vote.

You can find a full list of candidates here.

Nationwide a number of races are up for grabs — and will determine the path to power in the House of Representatives.

Republicans defending their majority and Democrats looking to gain 23 seats they would need to win control.

After the first polls close in the Eastern United States, the tallies will start revealing clues to where Americans stand in 2018 on immigration, guns, health care, gender equality in the #MeToo era — and who they want representing them in Washington during the next two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

  • To see if you’re registered to vote, click here.
  • If you’re looking for your polling place, click here.

WJZ will be covering the local races throughout the night.

CBS News coverage begins at 8 p.m.

You can watch the elections results live with us on air or online here. 

Follow @WJZ on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

Some of the information was from the Associated Press. 

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