City board certifies election results

November 24, 1994|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,Sun Staff Writer

When the smoke cleared at the Baltimore elections board yesterday, there were no surprises.

The city board certified the final results from the Nov. 8 general election -- the last of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions to do so -- about 1:50 p.m., and Democrat Parris N. Glendening remained the winner in the governor's race with exactly a 6,000-vote margin statewide over Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

Yet, even as the board met, Sauerbrey supporters continued to copy city voter records just outside the door, pushing to prove their allegations of voter fraud, which they hope could turn the election in favor of the GOP.

"The only card Mrs. Sauerbrey has left to play is the fraud card," said Richard E. Israel, an assistant attorney general advising the city elections board. "And that's why they're here -- to see if they can gather the evidence to support that contention."

Given the GOP allegations, the exact 6,000-vote difference between Mr. Glendening and Mrs. Sauerbrey caused some elections officials to wince yesterday, including state elections administrator Gene M. Raynor, as he formally announced the results.

4 "I wish it was another number," Mr. Raynor said.

"Seems awfully suspicious," joked Lu Pierson, the sole Republican on the three-member city board. "Whatever happened to '-ish'?"

Sitting officially as Baltimore's Board of Canvassers of Elections, the board certified that Mr. Glendening received 114,022 votes to Mrs. Sauerbrey's 38,420 in the city, bringing the candidates statewide totals to 708,086 and 702,086, respectively.

Nevertheless, Mr. Glendening technically cannot be called Maryland's governor-elect until the Board of State Canvassers meets and formally certifies the 24 local elections board tallies, Mr. Israel said.

The Board of State Canvassers -- which consists of the Maryland secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, attorney general and clerk of the Court of Appeals -- was tentatively scheduled to meet Dec. 7 in Annapolis. But yesterday, Mr. Raynor, who also serves as secretary to the board, proposed that it meet Wednesday, a week early.

"I'm sure everyone is anxious to get this election behind them," Mr. Raynor said. "But this would only [take place] with the agreement of all the interested parties," including Mrs. Sauerbrey.

Both the Glendening and Sauerbrey campaigns refused to comment on yesterday's events.

On advice from the attorney general's office, Mr. Raynor also clarified that Mrs. Sauerbrey would have 20 days from the date of certification by the Board of State Canvassers to challenge the election -- Dec. 20, if the board meets next Wednesday, or Dec. 27, if it does not convene until Dec. 7.

Elections officials had said they believed the challenge deadline was Dec. 12 -- 20 days after certification of the results in Baltimore, where the GOP has alleged fraud.

"I'm not trying to short-circuit her appeal at all," Mr. Raynor said. "There's a governor who's going to be sworn in Jan. 18, and with the holidays coming up . . . I'd like to get this behind us."

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