Ulman leads in Howard after absentees

He apparently wins County Council seat

results not official

September 13, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A daylong Howard County election board count of absentee ballots yesterday -- interrupted by a heart attack that hit board president Roland L. Howard -- showed Kenneth S. Ulman to be the apparent winner of the west Columbia County Council Democratic primary by a 37-vote margin.

A count of 873 absentee ballots countywide also showed Diane Wilson beating Kirk Halpin by 53 votes in the Republican County Council primary in District 3, covering the southeastern county.

"I think I should feel pretty confident that I won," a nervous Ulman said after the meeting.

Mary Kay Sigaty, who received 76 absentee votes to Ulman's 73, said victory is "unlikely," but she refused after the meeting to concede until the result is certified.

In the District 3 race, Halpin received 19 absentee votes and Wilson 14.

The outcome seemed almost anticlimactic after Howard's heart attack, which occurred midway through the nearly seven-hour, tedious review and a series of arguments about whether to accept several late ballots.

Howard, 76, slumped in his chair after tense exchanges about whether to allow several ballots to be counted. He alone refused to disqualify them, despite contrary legal instructions from board attorney Mary Reese.

The board president was carried from the room at 1:45 p.m. as workers ran next door to a pediatrician's office. Several nurses and doctors responded and performed CPR until county firefighters arrived. He was moved 30 minutes later to Howard County General Hospital, where he was later reported in critical condition.

Yesterday's count was unofficial. The board will reconvene Wednesday to count any overseas ballots that arrive and 29 provisional ballots, which were issued to voters whose names were not found on voting rolls but who said they were entitled to vote. The board must decide the validity of each provisional ballot before adding it to the tally.

The election-night count in one precinct in River Hill made the difference in the Ulman-Sigaty race. Voters at the River Hill community center on Trotter Road voted 388 to 105 for Ulman, providing more than his apparent margin of victory.

Sigaty's best precinct was at Wilde Lake High School, near her home, where she received 244 votes to Ulman's 132.

Sigaty said there was an e-mail campaign in River Hill -- where Ulman lives -- that suggested she would not represent the village well based upon her service on the high school redistricting committee that helped draw boundary lines for the new Reservoir High in Fulton last year. She said she could do little to combat the campaign.

The high school redistricting process created bitter conflicts among parents. River Hill residents felt their community was being divided among several schools to allow North Laurel children to attend Reservoir. Sigaty was co-chairwoman of the committee, which became a lightning rod for tension between communities.

Yesterday, the board took nearly two hours to begin tallying ballots in an electronic counting machine because of procedural delays involving defective ballots.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.