Graybeal, Mccomas Elected To Bel Air Board

March 17, 1991

Eugene Graybeal last ran for the Bel Air Board of Commissioners 40 years ago. Tuesday, on his second try, the 74-year-old made it.

Graybeal, and incumbent Susan McComas, 39, were elected from among six candidates to four-year terms on the five-member town board.

McComas, who had served one term on the board, was the highest vote-getter, gathering 395 -- 385 votes at the polls and 10 absentee votes. Graybeal came in second with a total of 358 -- 348 votes at the polls and 10 absentee votes.

Other totals: Joseph P. Meadows, 238 votes, including three ab

sentee ballots; Madeleine W. Grant, 103 votes including four absentee ballots; Felix Tarasco, 46 votes; Donald J. Arnold, 30 votes. A seventh candidate, Janet Thomas, who verbally withdrew from the race because there was no mechanism for her to withdraw, received 12 votes, including one absentee vote.

Overall voter turnout was a disappointment to Harford County's Board of Elections, which oversees the town's elections. Only 614 people -- less than13 percent of the town's 4,960 registered voters -- voted, said RitaDather, an election chief clerk. Fifteen absentee ballots were filed, she said.

"Bel Air doesn't usually have a large turnout, but they had a large selection of candidates. And I was really expecting a large voter turnout, because we were trying out new voting machines,"said Dather. "We sent mailings to every registered household about the new system."

Despite the low turnout, the experiment with the new voting machines, which tally votes faster than the old punch-card system and prevent voters from choosing too many candidates, was a success, said Dather.

She said the county is considering leasing themachines for its next election.

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