A determined few ready to vote today Top offices, 12 issues are on city ballot

November 05, 1991|By Ginger Thompson

At first glance, Calvin B. Quill Sr. might fit the classic profile of a non-voter.

The 65-year-old resident of Southwest Baltimore spurns both mayoral candidates -- incumbent Kurt L. Schmoke and his Republican opponent Samuel L. Culotta -- as "skunks." He says most politicians never heed the demands of their constituents. He's disappointed in the city schools, the failing economy and the burgeoning crime rate. He's even angry at the media because he says they do not educate readers about political corruption.

But Mr. Quill has not given up hope. Today -- Election Day -- he and a group of friends will be knocking on the 500 doors in their community to remind their neighbors to get out and vote.

"Ever since I was a kid, my mother told us that when we turned 21 we had to vote or we couldn't live in her house," said Mr. Quill. "It is my God-given right. And it's the only way we are going to get politicians to listen."

Unfortunately, election officials say that most Baltimore voters do not share Mr. Quill's resolve, even though the city's highest elected offices and some critical ballot issues are at stake today.

Gene M. Raynor, state administrator of election laws, predicted that only about 30 percent of the city's 330,000 registered voters would go to the polls today. And today's chilly temperatures -- with predicted highs of about 41 degrees -- could make that turnout even lower.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close their doors at 8 p.m. Voterwho are in line at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

With Democrats outnumbering Republicans 9-to-1 in Baltimore, Democratic candidates for the three citywide offices -- mayor, CityCouncil president and comptroller -- are overwhelming favorites to win.

Democrats are unopposed for City Council seats in two of the city's six council districts, the 2nd and the 4th. But full slates of three Republican candidates are running in the 3rd and 1st districts. Two Republicans are running in the 5th Districtand one is running in the 6th.

Despite the odds in his favor, though, one 6th District Democratwasn't taking any chances. Melvin Stukes, a candidate Southwest Baltimore's 6th District, spent the frigid morning and evening rush-hours yesterday standing at busy intersections waving at voters.

"Hard work, and not taking anything for granted got me this far," said Mr. Stukes, who would be the first black ever elected to the City Council in the 6th District if he wins.

On the Republican side, Elaine Urbanski, the GOP candidate given the best chance of breaking the Democrats' monopoly on the council, was out door-to-door campaigning in Northeast Baltimore's 3rd district.

Most of the 11 bond issues -- loans to the city of approximately $35 million for further development downtown and in various neighborhoods -- are expected to pass.

But at the end of the list of bond questions is a charter amendment that would drastically change the structure of the City Council. Question L, an initiative sponsored by the Republican Party and backed by the NAACP, would create 18 single-member City Council districts for the next election in 1995. Currently the council has six districts, each with three elected representatives.

There have been no high-profile campaigns for or against the measure. Proponents hope that because of the low-key campaign Baltimore voters -- who for years have been conditioned to vote in favor of bond issues -- will vote for Question L.

Opponents -- including almost every elected official in the city -- are printing ballots indicating their opposition to the initiative.

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