The vote! Ward 3 election today

BY BILL BROWN

The Voice will be following today’s Takoma Park Ward 3 special election.

11:00 PM: The official Ward 3 special election winner is Kate Stewart. Chief Election Judge Marilyn Abbott made the announcement from the city council chambers lectern.

The count is still unofficial: 332 votes for Stewart, 324 for Schlegel. The official figures will be announced at a special city council meeting tomorrow, April 9.

The approximately 660 votes cast is one of the highest Ward 3 vote counts in recent memory.

The weary candidates, all of them sun-burnt from standing outside the polling station today, were cordial, shaking hands and joking.

Both Stewart and Schlegel said they were pleased with the high turnout.

Schlegel said that such a closely contested race “gives the winner a clear sense of what constituents want and are hoping for.”

A tired Stewart was embraced by her husband Jon Griffith and their daughter.

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To the victor belong the hugs.

10:35 PM: By the unofficial count the new Ward 3 city councilmember is Kate Stewart, Roger Schlegel, by a close margin.

Unofficially, the final tally is Stewart: 332, Schlegel: 324.

The IRV votes – the second choices on the votes cast for 3rd-place candidate Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum and the write-ins came out to 9 for each.

Official announcement will follow.

10:26 PM: Photo-finish. It is an instant runoff vote!

The ballots have all be counted in the first round. The unofficial final vote is: Stewart: 323, Schlegel: 315, Noel-Nosbaum: 20. Write-ins: 2.

Second round is beginning.

10:23 PM: “As it is right now, this is calling for IRV” says Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum.

The unofficial final vote is: Stewart: 304, Schlegel: 300, Noel-Nosbaum: 19. Write-ins: 2.

10: 20 PM: Nearing the end of the count.  Stewart: 270, Schlegel: 250, Noel-Nosbaum: 18. Write-ins: 2.

A few more observers have entered the room, Ward 2 councilmember Tim Male among them. The judges are tired and the room is warm.

10:05 PM: Currently, by unofficial count: Stewart: 228, Schlegel 228, Noel-Nosbaum: 15, 1 write-in, and one vote for “mom.”

It’s a very small crowd of 9 observers in the room for the public count. Only one of the candidates is here – Jeffrey Noel-Nosbaum. Buddy Daniels, brother of the late Ward 3 councilmember Kay Daniels-Cohen is here, as is Ward 4 councilmember Terry Seamens. Seamens is keeping his own tally.

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Buddy Daniels, at right, is one of the vote-count observers.

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Ballot piles.

10:00 PM: 163 for Stewart, 150 for Schlegel, and 11 for Noel-Nosbaum – unofficial count.

9:40 PM: This vote count is by hand and voice. Each ballot is taken from a bin, the chief election judge is reading them aloud and passing the ballot down the line of four. The next election judge checks and marks the vote on a tally sheet, the next election judge passes the ballot to the last judge who puts each in one of three piles.

The Stewart and Schlegel piles are getting the most ballots. Hard to say, but Stewart may have the edge so far – about 100 votes counted so far.

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9:15 PM: The count is on! Four election judges are methodically opening the 14 absentees ballots that were returned.

At least one ballot had to be set aside – it was sent with no return address on the outer envelope.

The 267 early votes are next.

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The last vote cast.

1:20 PM: Takoma Park Chief Election Judge Marilyn Abbott reports a total of 400 Ward 3 special election votes cast  as of 12:45 PM today. That includes early voting Sunday and Monday and 17 absentee ballots.

The candidates or their campaign volunteers have been out in front of the city fire station where the voting is taking place.

Voter poll, conducted by Fair Vote's Matt Bugajski, asks voters about their perceptions and experience with the city's Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) system.

Voting station is through the open door in the background, behind the table set up for a post-voting poll conducted by Fair Vote.

The voting location – around the back of the station in the basement level via the side parking lot  – is not obvious, causing some confusion.

Polls are open until 8:00 pm at the Takoma Park Fire Station, 7201 Carroll Ave. Voting will take place in the Meeting/Training Room on the building’s lower level. Access is from the fire-station parking lot. Voter parking is available in the lot. Parking also available in the city lot next to the Co-op. NOTE: there is no election day polling station at the Takoma Park Community Center/Municipal Building.

The Takoma Voice special election voters guide is here.

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About the Author

Bill Brown
Bill Brown moved to Takoma Park in 1982. He has been involved in journalism in one way or another since he co-published an underground high-school newspaper in the late 1960s.