by Lisa Tome
The election day polls in Port Deposit opened later than expected this year.
The May 9 election started about 45 minutes after the noon start time because election officials were locked out of the polling place, the downtown Water Witch Fire Company Station. One of the election judges inadvertently closed the door, which unlocks with a security fob. Election officials were putting a sign up when the door closed. A fire company member responded and opened the door to the building.
No one turned out during that 45 minute delay. No one had to wait to cast a ballot. In all, a dozen voters turned out for an uncontested election. Incumbent councilmember Robert Kuhs received 10 votes. Incumbent Tom Knight got nine.
It cost Port Deposit about $1,200 - $100 per voter - to hold the election. There are 357 registered voters in the town.
On April 4, officials in Port Deposit took steps to make certain that doesn't happen again. A resolution was introduced which will allow the town to cancel future elections where candidates are unopposed.
Resolution 12-2017 states "The Board of Supervisors of Elections shall cancel the election and certify a candidate duly elected in the event that a lawfully nominated candidate for Mayor or Councilmember is running for office unopposed. If the Election for one office is cancelled under the provision, the remainder of the ballot, if applicable, shall not be affected and the election for any office remaining on the ballot shall not be cancelled."
There were fewer candidates than there are vacant seats. Mayor and council will now work to recruit and appoint a person to fill a seat on the council. John Leeds, the current vice mayor, opted not to continue serving.
On the same day, the Town of Perryville also hosted an uncontested election. Everett "Pete" Reich received 54 votes. Michelle Linkey got 41 votes.
In all, 63 of the town's 2,692 voters cast ballots. There were no absentee ballots. Matt Roath received one vote as a write-in. Anthony Gerst got three votes as a write-in.
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