Ab­sen­tee votes don’t change out­come

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY ck­ersey@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTO BY CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

Brit­tani Thomas, direc­tor of the Queen Anne’s County Board of Elec­tions, holds ab­sen­tee bal­lots dur­ing the can­vass­ing of the bal­lots on Nov. 10.

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