Visiting the polls: Howard County teen celebrates birthday by voting

Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 17:39:47-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Maryland voters continue to show up in large numbers for early in-person voting. As of 4 p.m. the unofficial turnout for Thursday was just over 86,000. One of the many casting their vote was 18-year-old Angelina Valeri.

"It's like a gift to myself," said Valeri.

Today is her 18th birthday. One of the many ways she's celebrating is by casting her vote.

"Voting is incredibly important," she said. "It’s something you hear about your whole life."

Valeri is a senior attending Fusion Academy in Columbia. A hard workers she said she did her homework on the issues, even studying the ballot.

"I studied," she said. "I even looked at the candidates for the circuit courts. I studied everything on there. I studied the policies."

Her mother Jill Valerie said she couldn't be more proud of her daughter.

"I'm proud because not only is she old enough to vote and interested in voting but she took the time to really be thoughtful about it and research the vote she wanted to make," she said.

While the Valeris went inside the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex to cast their vote, WMAR 2 News spoke to early voters who completed the process, including 18-year-old William O'Toole.

"I was happy to participate as a citizen," said O'Toole. "I was looking for change that I felt had been lacking the last four years."

"I’m just glad that we had this opportunity to do it," said Patricia Reynolds. "I’m glad that Howard County is so organized and let’s just hope that the best man wins."

As for wait times, voters say there was hardly any wait at the polling site.

"I was the line," said Sally Coughlin. "I don't know, maybe the rain helped."

Soon after the interviews Valeri and her mom exited the poll.

"I was nervous at first," said the 18-year-old. "It's a lot easier because it's just bubbling in stuff but it feels like this big thing."

Following her voting experience, the Valeri said they'd continue the birthday celebration with some online shopping, a cake made by grandma and a movie night filled with scary movies.

"Everyone should vote," said Valeri. "It was great!"