Tomorrow, your vote could win an election Make it count: Going to the polls is not only a precious right in a democracy, it can make a difference.

November 02, 1998

JUST ASK "Landslide" John S. Arnick, the veteran state legislator from Dundalk, if you should go to the polls in tomorrow's general election. He knows better than most of us that every vote does, indeed, count.

This September, Mr. Arnick won his Democratic primary by 15 votes. That was a vast improvement over his 1990 primary election, which he won by six votes.

Carolyn M. Roeding was even more dependent on a handful of her supporters showing up at the polls Sept. 15. The Pasadena community activist lost her Democratic primary for state delegate by five votes. She calls herself a "poster child" for getting every possible citizen to the polls on Election Day.

Many more local contests are decided by a relatively small number of votes than you might think. Parris N. Glendening became governor of Maryland in 1994 by a margin of 5,993 -- out of 1.4 million votes cast. That's four-tenths of 1 percent. Even that margin is large, compared with the photo-finish for U.S. Congress in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties in 1986. Democrat Tom McMillen defeated Republican Robert R. Neall by just 424 votes -- three-tenths of one percent.

Larry M. Epstein is the Republican nominee for state comptroller in this election because he edged his main rival in the primary by eight votes. Thirty-two votes won a seat in the General Assembly for Republican Anthony J. O'Donnell from Calvert County in 1994; Del. D. Bruce Poole of Hagerstown retained his seat that year by 76 votes; Del. Ruth M. Kirk of Baltimore edged out John D. Jeffries that year by 88 votes, and Robert L. Frank won a delegate's seat by just 110 votes in 1994, then lost his re-election bid this year by fewer than 100.

Apathy is one reason given for the upset of longtime state Sen. F. Vernon Boozer of Baltimore County in this year's Republican primary. His supporters didn't bother to show up on Election Day; backers of Dr. Andrew Harris did, and he won by 613 votes.

So if you would like to stop Ellen R. Sauerbrey from becoming governor, or if you wish to get Parris N. Glendening out of Annapolis, here's your chance. The choice is yours. Each side is making that extra effort to get supporters to the voting booths. Will you be there?

Pub Date: 11/02/98

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