Cecil County Election Night Wrapup: Moore Wins County Exec; McCarthy Landslides in Council 1st, Hodge Wins 5th– Cecil Refutes State, National Results

November 7, 2012

Republican Tari Moore made history Tuesday, winning election as Cecil County’s first County Executive by defeating her Democratic rival, Pam Howard, with 52.7 percent of the vote. Republican Alan McCarthy overwhelmingly won election to the District 1 County Council seat and incumbent Robert Hodge (R) won a decisive victory to retain his county commissioner seat on the new Council in District 5.

“I am humbled and honored to be part of this historic moment in Cecil County’s history,” Moore posted on her Facebook wall after the results were tallied.

Cecil County also re-asserted its increasingly conservative voting patterns, rejecting the winning candidacy of President Obama, the senatorial candidate and ballot questions that won support from a majority of voters statewide.

From the tabulation of the early voting counts—after voting hours and days were extended due to the impact of Superstorm Sandy—through the final Tuesday night counts of all 19 county precincts plus the early vote results that are tallied as precinct 20, Moore consistently held the lead in the election returns. Only for a brief period—when the count was at 5 precincts—did the County Executive race get neck and neck, but with Moore still in the lead.

The big local winner of the night was Dr. Alan McCarthy, a Chesapeake City veterinarian and businessman, who racked up nearly 70 percent of the vote against Pamela Bailey of Earleville, a secretary at the county’s School of Technology and two-time loser for county political office.

In District 5, incumbent county commissioner Hodge mounted a general election fundraising blitz, after a low-budget GOP primary campaign, and overpowered James Crouse, the former popular mayor of Elkton with longstanding ties to the county’s Democratic establishment. Hodge won 55.31 percent of the vote, to Crouse’s 44.57 percent.

Despite the presidential campaign and lots of local excitement about the historic election’s transition of Cecil County from a commissioner form of government to charter government—with a County Executive and a five-member County Council—voter turnout was lower than in the 2008 presidential/local election.

Evelyn Potter, director of the Cecil County Board of Elections, told Cecil Times that the overall voter turnout—including the early voting—was 64.47 percent in this election. (According to state elections data, Cecil County’s voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election year was 72.4 percent.)

A total of 40,311 votes were cast in Tuesday’s polling and early voting, and outstanding absentee ballots in Cecil County were likely insufficient to make a change in the local races’ outcomes. There were 1,648 absentee ballots received, but not yet counted, by the Board of Elections. And there were still 433 potential absentee ballots that were mailed out and could be counted if postmarked by the election deadline. Those ballots will be counted later, beginning as soon as Thursday, Potter said.

During Tuesday’s Election Day voting, there was a strong initial turnout, with lines at some polling places early in the morning. In Cecilton, poll watchers said there was steady activity until about 11 a.m., longer than the usual morning rush. But by early afternoon, turnout had slacked off and voters moved swiftly through the voting process with no lines.

Potter said most polling places were problem-free, but the Calvert elementary site had persistent difficulties with slow-to-load electronic poll books and the site had lines for much of the day.

In Cecil County, state election officials reported there were 5,891 total ballots cast in early voting, amounting to 9.42 percent of the county’s 62,524 eligible voters. (Statewide, early ballots were cast by 430,573 voters, or 11.65 percent of the state’s 3,694,658 eligible voters.)

Cecil County’s increasingly conservative voter mood was reflected in the county’s votes for federal office as well as opinions on statewide ballot questions.

President Barack Obama won the national presidential election and easily carried Maryland. But in Cecil County, Republican Mitt Romney carried local voters, 58.8 percent, to Democrat Obama’s 38.5 percent of the local electorate.

Incumbent Senator Ben Cardin (D) coasted to victory statewide, but in Cecil County he lost to Republican Dan Bongino, 45% to 36%.

On one of the most controversial ballot questions, Cecil County voters overwhelmingly opposed state recognition of same-sex marriages, by a 56 percent “No” vote to 44 percent “Yes” vote. But statewide, Maryland voters approved the same-sex marriage question by a margin of 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent.

On expansion of casino locations and permission for table games in addition to the currently legal slots machines, Cecil County voters voted “No” by a tally of 57.5 percent to 42.6 percent in favor of expansion of gaming—despite the fact that Cecil County is home to the state’s first legal slots parlor and table games would have created new jobs in the county. Statewide, voters approved the gambling expansion by a tally of 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent.

[Cecil Times will have more news and analysis and commentary on the elections in the next few days.]

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2 Responses to Cecil County Election Night Wrapup: Moore Wins County Exec; McCarthy Landslides in Council 1st, Hodge Wins 5th– Cecil Refutes State, National Results

  1. Al Reasin on November 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I was at Conowingo all day and was asking everyone I could talk to to verify their vote summary was correct before submitting their selections.

    During early voting a friend had the voting computer show a different candidate several times in the voting summary than her selection. She reported it to the election judge.

    In Conowingo, one person told me that they had voted there for the 15 years they had lived at the same address and they were not on the rolls. Another had the same thing happen at their usual voting location and was told to try in Conowingo. I was never told if they could vote. Another citizen told me her vote on Ref 7 showed in the summary the opposite from her vote. She told the election judge.

    Supposedly 5 other states had similar problems with voting computers. Newer methods of voting are not necessarily better.

  2. Eric on November 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I was an election judge this past Tuesday. We had similar issues with the poll books; most people said they had changed information with the MVA at some point since the last election. I’m guessing that is where the problem arose. Those people were allowed to issue provisional ballots and told to contact the Election Board to confirm all of their information.

    I assisted a few voters who had troubles with the machines and selecting a candidate. In every case it was that they were letting their hand hit the screen, causing it to register incorrectly. Once they were shown that they just need to lightly touch the screen, and not press on it, they were fine.

    Agree that newer methods are not always better, but will be issues with any method.

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