Absentee votes don’t change outcome
CENTREVILLE — The first round of counting absentee ballots hasn’t changed the results of the general election in Queen Anne’s County. Question A still failed to pass and Tammy Harper didn’t have enough writeins to beat Sharyn G. Harlow for a seat on the county Board of Education.
A total of 11,370 people voted in favor of Question A and 13,467 voted against it or 45.8 percent yes votes to 54.2 percent no votes, taking into account the results of early voting, election day and the first round of absentee votes, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.
Tammy Harper lost her write-in campaign against Sharyn G. Harlow for reelection to the county Board of Education, District 4. Harlow received 15,178 votes or 74.2 percent while “other write-ins” was listed on the state website as 5,286 votes or 25.8 percent of the vote.
Vote totals for Harper weren’t reported for her specifically, but rather a general write-in category.
For the county Board of Education, District 3, Beverly G. Kelley won with 18,499 votes and there were 1,114 write-in votes.
Voter turnout overall was high in Queen Anne’s County. About 75 percent of those registered voted in the county, taking into account figures from early voting, the Nov. 8 general election day, and absentee votes counted to date, according to the county election board.
It wasn’t clear if the turnout was a record for Queen Anne’s County for the entire election.
The county Board of Elections held a canvassing of the ballots on Thursday, Nov. 10. About eight people sat at a big table and opened the absentee ballots which were then feed into machines. There were 1,125 absentee ballots to count, as of Nov. 9.
More absentee ballots may come by regular mail. Another round of counting the absentee ballots will be held on Friday, Nov. 18, and conducted by the county election board office in Centreville. Provisional ballots, currently around 249 in Queen Anne’s County, will be counted on Wednesday, Nov. 16, by the local election board.
Everyone who registered to vote during early voting cast provisional ballots. Also people who had incomplete voting records cast provisional ballots, according to the county election board.
Queen Anne’s County voters choose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a large margin. A total of 16,745 voted for Trump, 7,795 for Clinton, taking into account early voting, election day, and absentee ballots as of Nov. 14.
For U.S. Senator, voters in the county choose Kathy Szeliga, a Republican, over Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, with a vote of 16,755 to 8,300 or 65.2 percent to 32.3 percent. Statewide, Van Hollen won with 1.5 million votes compared to Szeliga’s 927,619 votes.
In the Congressional District 1 in Queen Anne’s County, Andy Harris, a Republican, received 17,990 votes, easily beating Joe Werner, a Democrat, who got 6,584 votes, or 70.2 percent to 25.7 percent of the vote.
In the entire district, Harris won with 236,272 votes to Werner’s 99,372.
Question A was a nonbinding straw poll on by district voting. A yes vote supports by-district voting and a no vote is against it.
By-district voting means four county commissioners would be elected by people in their districts and one elected at large instead of all five commissioners elected at large. It would require action by General Assembly to implement the change.
Brittani Thomas, director of the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elections, holds absentee ballots during the canvassing of the ballots on Nov. 10.