- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

Maryland voters will get their turn at the polls today.

Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and for the first time, touch-screen voting machines will replace paper ballots and punch cards.

“We’re good to go,” said Linda Lamone, state election administrator. “We have tested this equipment extensively.”

In addition to competing in the Democratic presidential primary, candidates are also running for a U.S. Senate seat, eight U.S. House seats and other posts including state judgeships and Board of Education positions.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat, is up for re-election and faces primary challengers Sid Altman and Robert Kauffman

Nine Republican are competing for the chance to run against Miss Mikulski, a three-term senator.

Also running are: Ray Bly, Earl S. Gordon, Dorothy Corry Jennings, James A. Kodak, Eileen “Cookie Baker” Martin, John Stafford, Corrogan R. Vaughn, and Gene Zarwell and state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Upper Shore.

Miss Mikulski, a three-term senator, could face her toughest race in years from Mr. Pipkin.

The eight House members — six Democrats and two Republicans — are expected to win their party nominations to seek another term in November.

In the 1st District race, incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, Republican, faces state Sen. Richard F. Colburn.

Mr. Colburn of the Eastern Shore, hopes to persuade the most conservative voters to turn out today. He is counting on a small turnout, as predicted by analysts, to work in his favor in the primary. His Web site urges supporters to “get out the vote” and highlights his stances supporting gun rights and against abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

The most interesting U.S. House race to watch is the challenge to Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett,Republican.

Mr. Bartlett opposes abortion and homosexual “marriage,” favors lower taxes and wants the Ten Commandments posted in the House and Senate. But he is too liberal for Frederick County State’s Attorney Scott L. Rolle, who calls himself “the real conservative” in the 6th District primary.

Mr. Rolle hopes Mr. Bartlett’s opposition to capital punishment, reluctant support for the Iraq war and qualms about the Patriot Act will persuade Republicans to choose him in the state’s most closely watched House race.

Political analysts say Mr. Rolle’s chances are slim, but they are intrigued by his strategy.

With little on the ballot to bring out voters, Miss Lamone is expecting a turnout of about 35 percent of the 2.4 million registered Democrats and Republicans, which would be in line with the 2000 primary election.

Voters will also choose delegates to political conventions and nominate candidates.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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