First Ballot for UMd. Student: Not for Romney
The University of Maryland student said she wanted a candidate who could relate to the middle class.
For 20-year-old Maria Louzon, Tuesday not only marked presidential primary day. It was the first national primary in which she was old enough to cast a vote.
As a government and politics major at the University of Maryland, casting her first presidential ballot was a powerful lesson. Though Louzon wouldn’t name whom she voted for after exiting the polls at Paint Branch Elementary School, she was open about who she doesn’t support—Mitt Romney.
“I don’t want somebody in office so rich he can’t be on the same level as a college student,” she said. Romney has been criticized for his approximate net worth of $200 million, according to USA Today.
But the young Republican voter does want a change for the country, particularly when it comes to the state of the economy and the direction of health care, she said.
Louzon was likely not alone in her hope for change Tuesday morning, as she was one of 26 Republicans who voted in precinct 21-08 by 10:40 a.m. They are choosing between eight Republican presidential candidates, including Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul.
Of the 65 voters who cast ballots at the precinct, 39 were Democrats.
Mary Ayers, 54, said she was voting for Obama, who is unchallenged in the Democratic primary, because she supports his health care legislation.
“People aren’t going to the doctor, because they don’t have health care,” Ayers said.
The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not to strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. One particularly vulnerable mandate requires nearly all citizens to get health care.
Voters are also selecting candidates to run for a Congressional seat held by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.
College Park’s own Richard Douglas, an Iraq veteran and former foreign affairs service officer, is running against nine others on the Republican primary ticket for U.S. Senate. He said Tuesday morning, as he walked to the polls, that he was confident Maryland could be a battleground state this general election, even though registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans more than two-to-one.
“People aren’t stupid. They look at the basic message. They know who, in their gut, is going to help them,” Douglas said.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated and corrected. A previous version inaccurately described the proportion of registered Democrats among all registered voters in Maryland.