Power Failure Fails To Stop Vote-counting Election '92 Countywide

November 05, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer Staff writers Darren M. Allen and Anne Haddad contributed to this article.

Some unusual election night events in Carroll County capped an unusual election year.

About an hour before the polls closed Tuesday, the power went out at the County Office Building in Westminster as election officials were preparing to tabulate results of presidential, state and local races.

Voters at West Middle School, Robert Moton Elementary School and the Carroll County Career and Technology Center found themselves briefly in the dark, but workers moved the polls under battery-powered lights so voters could finish, Micki Smith, county public information officer, said yesterday.

Leo F. Kuhn, president of the board of supervisors of elections for Carroll, said it was the first such incident to affect the county's ballot-counting efforts.

He said the election board is at the mercy of the county's computer system to count votes and does not have a backup system.

"Overall, we were fortunate the power came back on when it did," Mr. Kuhn said. "It put us back about 45 minutes. We did finish before 12:30 a.m. With the volume we had, we thought that was real good."

Mr. Kuhn said the elections board is looking at other systems to replace punch-card ballots because that system will not be compatible with the county's new computer system.

"The system we have isn't the quickest," he said. "But we have all the faith in the world in it. When you're counting cards -- the volume simply takes time."

Despite the obstacles, election officials were pleased with voter turnout; 81.91 percent of the county's 65,337 registered voters cast ballots.

Election officials expect that number to surpass a record high 82 percent turnout in 1988 -- when absentee ballots are counted.

"We expect to equal 1988 or better it," said Rosemary McCloskey, chief clerk for the Elections Board.

"We had good to excellent turnout."

Mr. Kuhn attributed the high turnout to a "spirited presidential campaign" as well as interest in various state and local issues.

Throughout the county, many young voters turned out, some of them for the first time.

"I've never voted, so this is my first time," said 28-year-old Marc Rowan at the vo-tech center. "But I think it's very important for people my age to get involved, because it is people our age who are going to take charge of this country."

About 50 Republicans watched early returns in a room meant for five times that many people at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm.

Most party members had gone to Frederick, where a Roscoe Bartlett victory gave them more to cheer about. Mr. Bartlett drubbed Thomas Hattery in the 6th District congressional race.

Democrats were festive at Frisco Family Pub, but the chart on their wall with Carroll County results might have fooled an observer into thinking George Bush was defeating President-elect Bill Clinton handily. President Bush had a lead in every precinct.

A non-partisan party for those who tried to get Carroll County to adopt a home-rule charter closed up quietly at the Westminster Riding Club.

The measure failed, with only 38 percent voting for it.

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