Election results could change

politiciansTakoma Park resident Maryland Comptroller Peter Francho stops by to schmooze with city politicians: Mayor Bruce Williams, Buddy Daniels, candidate Kay Daniels-Cohen, candidate Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum, and incumbent Fred Schultz. Franchot, resident of Ward 3, supported Daniels-Cohen for council.


Dear Readers,

Nov. 8, 10:02 pm:  The provisional results are in, but the chief election judge says the Takoma Park city council election outcomes could still change. One or more of the contests were so close that the 21 provisional ballots and some questionable ballots could alter the outcome.

As of now Tim Male in Ward 2, Kay Daniels-Cohen in Ward 3, and Fred Schultz in Ward 6 have the most votes in their respective wards.

Chief election judge Anne Sergeant  is not releasing the other candidates’ vote tallies today for that reason, she says. Making that deliberation was the reason for the announcement delay.

Sergeant is being very careful. She hinted that all or most of the provisional/questionable votes would have to be in one ward to change the outcome of a race. When asked if it were just one race that was that close, she said that it could well be more than one.

Your Gilbert is thinking Wards 6 could easily be that close. Ward 2 is also a possibility. Your Gilbert is also thinking that it is most likely that the p/q votes are not all or mostly all in one ward, and that the results will stand.

A provisional ballot, by the way, is one cast by someone who may or may not be a legitimate voter. The city’s policy is to let such people vote and determine their status later. It may be a spelling error on the voter rolls, a change of address, being entered on the county rolls, but not the city’s – or they might be disqualified because they are not properly registered to vote or don’t live within city limits.

Questionable ballots are those that were flagged by the scanners as unreadable for some reason. Those need to be reviewed by human eyes. If the intent of the voter is clear, an election judge will record the vote. If the vote is unclear that ballot will not be counted.

Official certified vote figures will be reported at tomorrow night’s special meeting of the city council (with the current councilmembers, not the recently elected ones) at 7:30!

And, of course, the unopposed incumbents Mayor Bruce Williams, councilmembers Terry Seamens (Ward 4) and Reuben Snipper (Ward 5),  as well as unopposed candidate Seth Grimes (Ward 1), were voted in. No surprise write-in campaigns.


Anne Sergeant

Chief election judge Anne Sergeant explains about the provisional ballots to a group of observers and politicians following her election results announcement.

9:58 pm:

Ward 2 – Tim Male – 344 votes

Ward 3 – Kay Daniels-Cohen – 322 votes

Ward 6 – Fred Schultz -129 votes


Chief election judge Anne Sergeant announces PROVISIONAL election winners


9:52 pm: inexplicable delay. They said they had the final numbers and sent everyone to the auditorium. Isn’t this EXCITING, Dear Reader??





9:38 pm: Huddle with Scantegrity staff (ballot box scanner makers) with chief judge. Now they’ve disbursed. They have the numbers. announcement soon. Have to go to the auditorium.


9:27 pm: Last absentee ballot scanned. Disappointment that there were no flashing lights and bells. Now the number crunching. Stand by!

Unofficial number – 626 ballots cast in Ward 2  – not counting absentee and early votes. Abe the Tim Male campaigner excited that his prediction was close. There are lot of people here who have made predictions.


9:06 pm: Results? You want results? Hahahahaha! At least another half hour to an hour. The painstaking counting continues.

You’d think that they’d put the voter cards – which need to be counted – on something more substantial than strips of flimsy heat-transfer paper. Imagine trying to keep 1,814 slips of slippery, curling paper in piles!

One of the judges says that two of the three machines recorded 359 votes from Ward 2.

The Male campaign poll watchers are a wee bit tense.


8:34 pm: We hope they have some of the bugs worked out that held the count up last election. The process of counting all the absentee ballots takes awhile. There are four people forming an assembly (or disassembly) line. First guy opens the outer envelope, second guy opens the inner envelope, the woman next to him unseals the ballot, the next woman unfolds the ballot and lays it flat on a stack ready for scanning.

Then they have to check the envelope addresses against the voter lists, and the scanning, as we learned in 2009 takes 10 seconds apiece. Yep, this will take a while.

Last time, they ran into a problem getting the voting data out of the ballot box data box computers. Anne Sergeant, chief election judge, is sure that won’t happen again.


8: 29 pm: Our Granolapark staff member is sitting next to two poll watchers from Tim Male’s campaign. Abe and Joe. They look . . .  tired. Still talking up their candidate, though.


8:24 pm: The white tubs on wheels have been rolled in – these are the ballot boxes/scanners. There are three of them. A couple of election judges are going through the absentee ballots. Five more are counting the “voter cards”. Those are the cards each voter traded for a ballot. The number should equal the number of ballots. If not – it’ll be a late night.

Councilmember Reuben Snipper just noticed a voter card on the floor and brought it to a judge’s attention. Close call!


8:19 pm: We are LOCKED IN! The polls closed at 8:00, the last voter passed through the digestive system, and now the judges, poll watchers, and a Granolapark staff member are sitting and milling around the Azealea Room – counting or watching the counting.


8:04 pm: 1,813 is the final tally (tonight – official numbers tomorrow). That doesn’t count absentee and early ballots – 187.


7:57 pm: Turnout has far exceeded last election’s. Up to 1,803 and there are at least a dozen more in line. Looks like Terry Seamen’s turnout prediction was pretty close.

The last voter gets a special red folder to carry – marked “Last Voter!”


6:45 pm: The polls are busy! The pols are busy!

Here’s the scene this evening from the city community center. As of 6:45 pm, there have been 1,597 ballots issued to voters. A total of 1,618 voters cast ballots in the 2009 election. So, looks like this year’s total will be higher, since the polls are open another hour and 15 minutes.


Voters run the gauntlet of campaign volunteers.


voter-express van

Councilmember Terry Seamens voter-express van. At 5:00 pm he estimated the van had provided rides for approximately 40 people.


Candidate Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum (Ward 3), and uncontested incumbents Councilmember Reuben Snipper (Ward 5) and Mayor Bruce Williams. Williams arrived at 6:00 am and swore in the election judges at 6:30 am.


Takoma Park resident Maryland Comptroller Peter Francho stops by to schmooze with city politicians: Mayor Bruce Williams, Buddy Daniels, candidate Kay Daniels-Cohen, candidate Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum, and incumbent Fred Schultz. Franchot, resident of Ward 3, supported Daniels-Cohen for council.


Uncle Sam

Voter-express van decoration.


Barry Howard

Ward 6 candidate Barrie Howard takes a call from a supporter. He is hopeful for victory.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

2 Comments on "Election results could change"

  1. So, who won (as of 12:43 pm 11/9/11)?

  2. As the article says, ahem, “official certified vote figures will be reported at tomorrow night’s (Nov. 9) special meeting of the city council at 7:30!”

    – Gilbert

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