The power of one voteAMERICANS are always told that one...


May 20, 1999

The power of one vote

AMERICANS are always told that one vote counts. The message is so often repeated that it is often ignored.

Yet a single vote would have decided a town council race in New Windsor this month. Two candidates are tied for the final council seat in the Carroll County town. With no provision for a tie, the resolution remains in the hands of lawyers.

Elsewhere in Carroll, Larry H. Hentz Jr. won re-election to the town council in Hampstead by a single vote. One more vote for Denise M. Justus, or one less for Mr. Hentz, could have deadlocked that election, too.

Voter turnout in municipal elections is seldom outstanding, with few hotly contested races. But the results in two area elections this month demonstrate the substantial power of a single vote.

Restoring nature's filter

THE LOSS of coastal bays and marshes has been a national shame, and a local one for the Chesapeake Bay. Wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl, fish and shellfish, filter pollutants from runoff and control flooding.

More than half the natural wetlands that once existed in the United States have been drained or lost to pollution.

Maryland Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, the Eastern Shore Republican, wants to reverse that trend and restore 1 million acres of estuary habitat by 2010. Legislation he has introduced would provide $315 million in federal matching grants for projects to restore bodies of water along the coast where freshwater mixes with saltwater from the ocean.

Saving a road program

PALATINE (Ill.) high school students showed their elders how to handle the Ku Klux Klan's request to participate in that village's "adopt a highway" program.

When village officials announced they would have to allow the Klan to participate in the program to clean the streets, the town's teens flooded City Hall with applications to volunteer. The youths claimed every spare inch of highway earmarked for the program, leaving the Klan on a waiting list.

It's unfortunate no one thought of this strategy when Anne Arundel County faced the same issue. Had teens stepped up, Janet Owens' administration might not have had to end its adopt-a-highway program.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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