Register now With charter vote weeks away, unregistered residents must sign up by Monday.

March 24, 1998

BARELY A WEEK remains for Carroll citizens to register to vote in the May 2 special election.

That referendum will determine whether the county changes to a charter form of government, increases to five the number of county commissioners, or sticks with its longtime system of three commissioners.

It is the most important electoral choice facing Carroll countians in many years.

The opportunity to have a say in changing a form of government around for 160 years should be a compelling reason for unregistered residents to fill out a voter form at the county Board of Elections office, 125 N. Court St., Westminster, or at local post offices, high schools, social services offices or library branches.

Those already registered are eligible to vote on the referendum.

The registration also will be valid for the September primary and November general elections.

With the election date recently moved up from June 8, citizens are justifiably confused about the deadline: Eligible residents have until 9 p.m. Monday to register at the Board of Elections.

Typically, unregistered citizens wait until just before the major federal elections to sign up. Often, newcomer residents are overwhelmed with relocation tasks, and changing their voter registration is far down on the list.

The writers of the proposed charter sought a special spring election, so the referendum would not be buried on a long November ballot. It would be painfully ironic if the intent of a special election to enhance participation was undermined because voters hadn't registered in time.

The commissioners set the date for this election. The General Assembly also passed a bill that required the question of expanding the present government to five commissioners be placed on the same ballot as the charter issue.

Voters will have to make a choice on each question. If charter receives a majority, it would become Carroll County's new form of government.

Pub Date: 3/24/98

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