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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


November 9, 2010

Great Day at the Polls

Norman M. Covert

The Democrat Party’s overall whipping in the Gubernatorial Election here and everywhere wasn’t the most traumatic event last Tuesday – Frederick County ran out of “I VOTED” stickers.

 

With more than 50 percent of registered voters casting ballots here, the county’s stockpile of the little beauties apparently mirrored the nationwide snow melt crisis last winter – not enough.

 

It wasn’t just children who were disappointed, adults love stickers, too. Many of the latter reported an “I VOTED” sticker was key to a free drink and food discounts at area watering holes.

 

We tried to convey “stealth stickers,” encouraging voters to visit candidate post election celebration/commiseration sites, which featured free food and drink. No one calls the roll at these blowouts, we said. Some voters didn’t think we were either helpful or humorous.

 

A senior election official made a special delivery of one roll of stickers mid-morning to the William R. Talley Recreation Center in downtown Frederick. By 5:30 P.M. the competition was on among the Election Unit judges, whose responsibility included rewarding voters with the sticker.

 

Stickers were scrounged where they could be found; stuck to tables; one off the floor (carefully sanitized) in order to satisfy an upset voter.

 

We couldn’t determine how many stickers the county ordered, or had on hand when Poll Books and other precinct materials were distributed. The budget probably wouldn’t have precluded ordering enough stickers for both elections – the Board of Elections expected a big turnout.

 

The team did everything else right, being confronted with the task of fixing Primary Election glitches in the Electronic Poll Books and other equipment, meeting the Oct. 30, 2010, deadline for delivery to chief judges and precinct locations.

 

The sticker was no discriminator between parties. Despite the care and concern in performing our tasks, something always comes out to bite us in the wrong place, this time it was stickers!

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

You can’t beat a mother’s love and devotion. Consider former two-term Frederick County Commissioner Ilona Hogan. We can’t quantify her impact except to point out that Republican Patrick Hogan won re-election as District 3A delegate after a four-year hiatus.

 

Mrs. Hogan, a respected lawyer and wife of former U. S. Congressman Larry Hogan, was at the Armory from early morning until late afternoon stumping for Patrick. We didn’t recognize her at first. It was still dark along West 2nd Street when we opened the polls at 7 A.M.

 

She was the first to set up camp in the usual hot zone adjacent to the Armory’s north wall. Traditionally that sidewalk crawls with competing workers descending on voters running a gauntlet to the front entrance.

 

A decision to designate the back door of the Armory as a handicapped entrance changed the 100-foot electioneering barriers, eliminating the sidewalk as an accepted place to “electioneer.”

 

Mrs. Hogan was still at her post in late afternoon, regretting only that her promised lunch remained undelivered. Her choice of victuals was limited inside the Armory. Flint Hill United Methodist Church served mass quantities of food all day and by 3 P.M. had only some bean soup, boiled hot dogs and slices of pie available.

 

In other tidbits, Commissioner Blaine Young and his son arrived about 11:30 A.M., acknowledged the several-plus folks courting his attention and picked up boxes of sandwiches and soup he had pre-ordered. He rejected the notion that this was his contribution to the election team manning – and womaning – the two precincts.

 

It is always a pleasure to see Mrs. Beverly Byron and former State Del. James R. (Doc) McClellan (D., 3-A). Both came to vote, lingering to hold court for many admirers.

 

Mayor Randy McClement was there in his official suit; Alderman Karen Young took a break to eat breakfast; Alderman Michael O’Connor and his dad voted; Shelly Aloi was wearing her infectious smile as she checked in and voted; and Alderman Kelly Russell, replenishing her donated locks, stepped lively.

 

Former Alderman Paul Smith and wife Terre like the others above spoke to many who offered greetings. Voters gave Mr. Smith their confidence, electing him as the second highest vote getter for Frederick County commissioner.

 

Del. Galen R. Clagett (D., 3-A) first appeared in jeans, for those interested in haute couture, in subsequent appearances in khaki slacks, but the same warm coat. Lots of luminaries wore jeans, perhaps a concession to the frosty morning. He invited all for pizza and beer at his place.

 

Third District senatorial winner Ron Young was a persistent inquisitor on how voting was going. That’s why he’s a winner; attention to detail. Too bad he missed breakfast with Ms. Karen.

 

Cleopatra Campbell was top vote-getter for Judge of the Orphans Court. She also greeted a crowd of well wishers.

 

Former Alderman Meta Nash reiterated that she has retired from public office. Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty was escorting her first-time voting nephew. She enjoys a sizeable group of admirers, but expressed contentment hosting an election-watch gala at her West 2nd St. pub, Magoo’s.

 

Another first-time voter was so excited she was near tears, but was walked through the process and expressed appreciation for the check-in judge’s patience.

 

In a final note, several voters at another precinct complained that the absence of party listings beside candidate names on the school board ballot precluded them from casting a proper ballot. A chief election judge explained it was non-partisan, using her best customer-service attitude.

 

Yes, dear reader, each complainant turned out to be a registered Democrat. Sorry, but I figured that.

 



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