Two candidates for school board await vote count Schuchardt, Charles vie for 2nd spot

absentees may decide their fate

March 07, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Jane Schuchardt and Virginia Charles may learn today who will claim the second spot in the fall general election for Howard County school board. Or they may not know for sure until March 15.

Most of the county's absentee ballots are to be tallied today, and the rest will be counted March 15.

With Dr. Schuchardt leading Ms. Charles by just 177 votes at the end of Tuesday night's count, the approximately 700 absentee ballots returned so far could make a difference.

"I have no control over it," Dr. Schuchardt said yesterday afternoon.

"I'll sleep tonight despite knowing I'm not sure. I'm just trusting that the absentee voters will vote the same way as voters at the polling places."

Ms. Charles could not be reached yesterday for comment.

The Howard County Board of Elections sent out 925 absentee ballots for the primary. All of the absentee ballots received through Monday -- about 650 -- will be counted today. Overseas ballots and local ballots received Tuesday and yesterday will be counted March 15.

Dr. Schuchardt or Ms. Charles will join Francine Wishnick in competing in the November election to replace school board Chairwoman Susan Cook, who decided not to seek re-election.

Ms. Wishnick captured 7,403 votes, compared with 6,727 for Dr. Schuchardt and 6,550 for Ms. Charles.

Although it's possible that Dr. Schuchardt or Ms. Charles could overtake Ms. Wishnick, Ms. Wishnick is guaranteed at least second place -- and one of the two spots on the November ballot.

Vincent Pugliese and Arthur Neal Willoughby each received about 4,500 votes in Tuesday's primary and are out of the running.

The primary showed that voters didn't seem to be interested in the low-key campaign.

Of the 35,860 votes cast in Tuesday's primary, more than 6,100 ballots -- or almost one in six Howard voters -- didn't include a choice for the school board.

In exit interviews outside the polls, most voters said they had paid little or no attention to the race -- despite the fact that the county's school system is regularly cited as a main factor in residents' decisions to move to Howard.

Many voters couldn't remember whom they had selected just moments earlier.

Pub Date: 3/07/96

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