'Anti-incumbent Movement' Draws Voters To Polls

November 07, 1990|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

County voters didn't have to wait in line yesterday to exercise their democratic privilege, but they found neighborhood polling places busier than they were two months ago, when the primary drew a dismal 24 percent voter turnout.

By late afternoon the county Board of Elections predicted a 60 percent turnout of the county's 94,549 registered voters in yesterday's general election.

Chief clerk Barbara Feaga attributed the substantial increase in voter turnout since the primary to "the anti-incumbent movement."

Those were Darrel Drown's sentiments exactly, as he did some last-minute campaigning at Ellicott City Middle School yesterday.

"I think it's a throw-the-incumbents-out-feeling," said Drown, who challenged Angela Beltram for her County Council seat. "I think there's some real dissatisfaction out there with the current administration."

One dissatisfied customer was Ellicott City resident Tim French.

"It's a real shame, there's no leaders anymore; all we've got is cheerleaders," said French, a carpenter and homebuilder.

"They're either wrapped in the flag, or they've picked up on some issue a pollster has told them to support," he said. "They rarely stand for (anything) except getting themselves elected."

Others who made the trip to the polls were satisfied with their elected officials and saw no reason to shake things up.

"I just came out to vote for two people," said one woman who did her part to keep Circuit Court Clerk C. Merritt Pumphrey and county State's Attorney William Hymes in office.

"They've been in office a long time, and I guess they've done a good job," said the Elkridge resident, who asked not to be identified.

For some voters -- even in these days of sound bites, pollsters and slick political television commercials -- it came down to the issues.

David Petrashek explained why he supported James Kraft and Lloyd Knowles, candidates for state delegate seats in District 14B: "A big part of it was their pro-choice stance and some environmental issues.

"They support a state health-care program, which I think is going to be crucial on a national level. It's a basic tragedy right now," said Petrashek, a volunteer with the Maryland chapter of Citizen Action, an independent lobbying group.

In the absence of a burning issue or hot local race, however, many people went to the polls out of a sense of responsibility.

"Conscience," said Elkridge resident Dr. John Blakely of his decision to vote yesterday.

"I had to come out and do my duty. I couldn't have told my kids to vote if daddy didn't vote."

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