PHOTO: Colleen Clay, mayoral candidate Kate Stewart, campaigner Jen Woffard, and candidates Rizzy Qureshi (Ward 3), and Jarrett Smith (Ward 5). Photo by Bill Brown.
BY BILL BROWN & ERIC BOND
11:39 p.m.– Results read by Marilyn Abbott Election Board Chair.
Winners are Kate Stewart for mayor, Peter Kovar for Ward 1, Fred Schultz for Ward 6, and the ballot question.
Numbers soon in followup article.
11:26 p.m. – counting is finished. The crowd of about 25 democracy-watchers applauded. Now for the math. Jessie Carpenter, City Clerk and Board of Elections Chair Marilyn Abbott are huddled, sitting on the edge of the stage.
11:22 p.m.- All wards except Ward 5 are counted.
11:13 p.m. – The Ward 6 counting is becoming a nail-biter. Schultz may be in the lead, but Small is getting enough votes to be a serious challenge.
10:56 p.m. -In the Ward 6 count write-in candidate Jason Small seems to have a respectable number of votes. Not as many as incumbent Fred Schultz, apparently. So far. The counting continues.
10:45 p.m.-They’ve finished the Ward 3 and Ward 2 counts and moved on to count the Ward 4 and Ward 6 ballots. There were no announcements about the Ward 3 totals.
Ward 1 count continues. This was the ward with a three-way contest on the ballot. Candidate Peter Kovar’s name seems to be mentioned more often than other candidates’ Elizabeth Wallace and Victor Thurmonyi.
The Ward 2 table, now the Ward 6 table.
Ward 1 table – the count continues.
10:05 p.m.- So far in early counting Stewart’s votes outnumber Holmes’ in the Ward 3 race. Both of them live in that ward. The ballot question seems to be ahead.
More people are filtering in, candidates among them. Unopposed Ward 4 councilmember Tim Male, Ward councilmember Fred Schultz (challenged by a recent write-in candidate), and Ward 1 candidate Elizabeth Warren are here. Ward 4 councilmember Terry Seamens, his wife Joyce and campaigners were here from the beginning.
Just when it looked like they were getting to the end of Ward 3’s ballot pile, they put another two-inch high pile of ballots in front of the judge who is counting.
9:36 a.m.- The count has begun. One judge reads aloud the ballot results from a Ward 3 ballot, “Stewart, Qureshi, for,” then “Stewart, Qureshi, against.”
That’s the mayoral choice, council choice, and the ballot question.
Methodically, the thirteen judges and city clerk Jessie Carpenter are recording each vote on each ballot in this manner.
This is round one. They are counting wards 1, 2 and 3. Next round will be 4,5 and 6.
This will take some time.
9:24 p.m.– The election judges have entered the room, wheeling a cart-load of ballot boxes.
8:40 p.m. – The election judges are getting a break. The last couple of hours were intensive.
There are no scanners this election. The paper ballots will be hand counted in the city auditorium. It is a public event. A half dozen people, most of them the coterie of Ward 4 councilmember Terry Seamens.
There are three long tables set up in front of the dais. One has a sign that says “Write-in.”
A boisterous crowd gathered in the community center foyer after the polls closed. Will Smith, state delegate and Tom Hucker, county councilmember joined tired councilmembers and campaign workers.
Peter Kovar, Ward 1 candidate on the far left, Will Smith, Maryland District 20 delegate at right with white shirt.
County councilmember Tom Hucker. Photo by Bill Brown.
8:05 p.m – Polls are closed. The unofficial total shown in the “poll book” is 2448. That will change a bit. The poll books also show 819 voted last week in early polling.
7:45 p.m. – Voting continues at a crisp rate as the 8 p.m. closing time approaches. 27 people currently in line.
10: 30 a.m. – Campaigners at the Takoma Park polling station say they’ve seen around 200 voters this morning as of 10 a.m.
The city’s election day began at 7 a.m. The first voters found candidates and their supporters already stationed outside the city’s community center.
Mayoral candidate Kate Stewart estimated that as many as 1000 have voted, counting the 877 votes cast on six early voting days last week.
Around 1762 voters went to the polls in the last city election, 2013. There were virtually no contested races in that election.
Voter David Arronson said casting his vote was “very easy, only two checks!” meaning he only had two races to vote on, Ward 1 and mayoral. Those are the only contested races this election.
A ballot question is also drawing people to the polls. Colleen Clay, former Ward 2 council member, turned out to vote against it. Current Ward 2 council member Tim Male is running unopposed.
The ballot question is about moving the city election day to the same date as general elections.
Clay said the mayoral race outcome was “predetermined.”
She knew that, she said, when Kate Stewart announced her candidacy the day following Mayor Bruce William’s surprise announcement that he would not run and that it was time to hand it over “to a new generation.”
Ward 4 council member Terry Seamens’s voter-van delivered its first load of passengers around 9:30 am. For years, he has shuttled elderly and disabled people to the polls. His personal van is no longer working, he said, so he rented a big white passenger van for the day.
Even mayoral candidate Warren Holmes, who is running as a protest against uncontested races, among other issues, had a campaign sign. Elizabeth Wallace, also a protest candidate of sorts, had one, also. The only candidate missing from the sign sign-up was Victory Thuronyi.