Bitterness in Baltimore, new voting system in Carroll PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS 1994

September 14, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

The race for three Carroll County commissioner seats has been narrowed to two incumbents, an ex-county sheriff, the Westminster mayor and a city councilwoman, and a persistent challenger from South Carroll.

With 83 percent of the precincts reporting, on the Republican side, Richard T. Yates of Eldersburg had received 24 percent of the vote, incumbent Donald I. Dell of Westminster had 21 percent and Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown had 20 percent.

Of the Democrats, Westminster Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein had 25.33 percent, incumbent Elmer C. Lippy had 24.78 percent and former Carroll Sheriff Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh had 20 percent.

The six candidates will advance to the November election.

Republican Charles L. Stull of Deep Run received 19.6 percent and David T. Duree had 15 percent.

Democrat Cornelius M. "Neil" Ridgely had 18.66 percent and David A. Grand of Westminster 12 percent.

In addition to making choices about candidates yesterday, Carroll voters tried a new optical scan system, which replaced a punch-card system used for 10 years.

Election judges at the county's 41 precincts explained the Optech III-P Eagle system to voters. At Deer Park United Methodist Church, Judge Linda Silfee told voters they could have as many as three ballots if they made mistakes casting their votes.

"Three strikes and you're out. You've got to play baseball somehow," she quipped.

The biggest problem with the new system appeared to be an occasional jammed machine, which poll workers were able to fix quickly.

Doris Leppo, chief election judge at Reese Fire Hall said, "One voter fed the jacket into the machine, and the machine shredded it."

Totals from each precinct were recorded on computerized "memory packs," which were taken to election headquarters and totaled in a matter of minutes.

Registered Republicans continue to outnumber Democrats. As of Aug. 22, Carroll had 30,512 registered Republicans, 27,297 registered Democrats, 71 voters who affiliated with another party and 5,273 who declined to align with a party.

About 800 residents voted by absentee ballot. Election officials said they expect to count those ballots after 5 p.m. today.

Mr. Yates, a retired federal employee, said he spent the summer walking door to door to find out residents' concerns. He ran for commissioner in 1990 and came in fourth.

At public forums, voters said they wanted commissioners who would manage residential growth in Carroll in order to preserve the countryside, fight with state officials for money for road improvements and work to ensure that crime levels stay low.

Mr. Dell drew the most criticism from opponents who said he did not live up to his "Keep it Country" slogan from 1990. Mr. Dell, a grain and dairy farmer, said he has worked to increase the acreage in county and state farm preservation programs.

Mr. Ridgely of Finksburg, the county's landscape and forest conservation manager, said he was running to unseat Mr. Dell. He opposes Mr. Dell's idea to extend Interstate 795 through Carroll and said developers have had too much influence with the current commissioners.

Mr. Brown hammered the commissioners on that issue and tried to pressure them into making a decision before the November election.

Mr. Duree, a New Windsor businessman and member of the county Planning and Zoning Commission and Economic Development Commission, said he would work to reach consensus on issues, if elected.

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