Voters in Prince George’s County narrowly approved casino gambling and same-sex marriage on an election day that started out with long lines but ended with a bang.
According to the Board of Elections, nearly 350,000 voted in Prince George’s County in this election cycle—almost 70,000 during early voting.
Prince George’s County Council Chair Andrea Harrison, who voted at Charles Flowers High School in Springdale, was excited about the voter turnout.
“At my particular precinct the line is very long but my understanding is that turnout is good everywhere,” Harrison said.
Long lines aside, much of the discussion focused on ballot questions on expanding gambling in Maryland and approving same-sex marriage. Question 7, which would allow a casino to be built at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, narrowly passed in the state with 52% of the vote, although Prince Georgians approved it at a slightly higher rate of 59%. The measure green lighted an $800 million dollar resort-style casino which is projected to create 12,000 jobs and contribute $200 million a year of revenue to state education funding.
“I voted for Question 7 because I do believe that it’s going to bring jobs here,” said Lorraine Baker, an Upper Marlboro resident and mother of nine. “I have seven sons and they’re adults. They have jobs but they could use better jobs.”
Alex Bing of Bowie said he voted against Question 7. “It’s moral issue,” he said.
Lyric Hawkins, of Upper Marlboro, a business owner, said she voted no on 7 because she’s “not certain the money will go to the schools.”
As the last voters headed to voting machines to cast their ballots, about 100 people gathered for a Question 7 victory party in the Sunset Room at National Harbor. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Del. Jay Walker (D-District 26) and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown mingled with officials from MGM Grand of Detroit, which will build the casino.
Also in attendance were former County Executive Wayne K. Curry and National Harbor developer Milton V. Peterson.
“Prince George’s County, you made us proud tonight,” Baker said. “The money from this is going to education, going to fix [Route] 210, going to healthcare and jobs, and jobs, and jobs and jobs.”
The night literally ended with a bang, as Baker ushered all the party goers outside for a fireworks display to celebrate the approval of Question 7.
Prince George’s voters on Nov. 6 also approved ballot Question 6, which was also referred to as the same-sex marriage referendum. The measure allows same-sex couples to legally marry and won narrowly in the state with 51.9%. Similar measures also passed in Maine and Washington state. Previously six states and the District of Columbia allowed same sex marriage.
“I voted for Question 6 because I’m a lesbian.” Said Kierra Johnson, 20, of Largo.
Another supporter, Carla Lomax of Bowie, 50, said for her Question 6 “is not about homosexuality but about fairness.”
Lyric Hawkins also voted against the same-sex marriage measure.
“I have plenty of gay friends and I have no problem with that, I just don’t think it should be legal,” she said.
Mike Williams of Mitchellville said that he is a member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden so he “voted no on question 6.”
Maryland State Election results
Barack Obama 1,529,084 61.5%
Benjamin Cardin 1,336,886 55.2%
House of Representatives
John Sarbanes 196,164 66.5%
Donna Edwards 220,390 76%
Elijah Cummings 227,877 76.3%