Friday, April 6, 2012

Montgomery & Frederick School Board Primaries May Come Down to Absentees // Two Analyses of the Results

Below Maryland Juice prints two analyses from Maryland politicos regarding potentially up-in-the-air results in Montgomery and Frederick counties.

A Close Race in Montgomery // Background: In Montgomery County, the District 2 Board of Education primary will ultimately yield two winners who will proceed to the November General Election. But currently, the second and third place finishers are separated by about 450 votes, with over 3,000 absentee ballots outstanding. A Leisure World Democratic Club leader and advocate Paul Bessel provides a micro-analysis of the race. Leisure World is a massive retirement community in Montgomery County with a large Democratic Club, and its super-large precincts have historically had the highest turnout in Maryland. Bessel looks at the District 2 results thus far in the Board of Education race, and he concludes that the outcome could shift. Read his take below. The current results are as follows (click to enlarge):

A Close Race in Frederick // Background: Meanwhile, in Frederick County, the Frederick News-Post editorial board notes that Tea Party leader Blaine Young received a rebuke from voters, given the strong showing of teachers union-backed candidates in last Tuesday's school board primaries. Young has triggered famous wars with public employees in his quest to raise his profile for a run at the Governor's mansion. Nevertheless, the News-Post ed. board highlighted the potential for the results to shift slightly, given the large number of outstanding absentee ballots (relative to the narrow margins). The Frederick Primary is a preview battle for three seats on the county's school board. In last Tuesday's election, voters were allowed to select three candidates out of twelve -- but the top six will proceed to the November ballot. Read the Frederick News-Post's take below. The current results are as follows (click to enlarge):

To help guide you through the math of whether any election results might change, you may want to take a look at the numbers of absentee ballots that were mailed out by the Board of Elections - [Absentee Totals Here]. Also, note that ballots will continue being counted until April 13, 2012.

Maryland Schedule of Ballot Tabulation:
  1. Early Voting: Reporting (Early Voting Results are expected to be posted by 8:30 p.m. on Election Night)
  2. Election Night: 1851 of 1851 Precincts Reporting
  3. Absentee 1: Reporting (The Absentee 1 canvass begins April 5, 2012)
  4. Provisional: Not Reported (The Provisional canvass begins April 11, 2012)
  5. Absentee 2: Not Reported (The Absentee 2 canvass begins April 13, 2012)

Current Leisure World Democratic Club Leaders : Paul Bessel is standing next to President Obama

MoCo Board of Education District 2 Outcome Could Change // by PAUL BESSEL
Maryland Juice had an interesting post about whether uncounted absentee ballots might change the results in the Board of Education district 2 race. I believe he said it wasn't likely that the results would change.

Below is some interesting information about this race, that shows the possibility of a radical change in the results.

In Leisure World there are 2 precincts, 13-54 (southern LW) and 13-69 (northern LW). In most cases, including most races in this week's primary, the results in both these precincts are just about the same. Not so in the Bd of Ed district 2 primary.

In precinct 13-54, Rebecca Smondrowski received 34% of the primary votes, followed by Jeanne Ellinport with 26%. (The county-wide leader, Fred Evans, came in 3rd in both LW precincts.)

However, in precinct 13-69, Jeanne Ellinport received 37% of the primary votes, followed by Rebecca Smondrowski with 24%.

So the preferences in the 2 LW precincts in this race were just about opposite.

If there were more absentee ballots from people in southern Leisure World (the larger of the 2 LW precincts), Rebecca Smondrowski would keep her lead. However, if there were more absentee ballots from people in the northern LW precinct, Jeanne Ellinport's much greater support there could result in her pulling ahead and being on the November ballot.

By comparison, in the other Bd of Ed race (At Large), the county leader, Phil Kauffman, came in first in both LW precincts, with the county's 2nd place person in this race, Panner, coming in 2nd in both LW precincts too. That's very different from the District 2 results.

Some of these results might have been affected by the fact that Leisure World had a well-attended Board of Education candidates forum about a week before the primary election, with almost all candidates present (all but Lou August) and a very lively discussion and Q&A session. That might have affected the results in the Board of Ed race, especially as many people who weren't present asked those who were for advice on whom to vote for. In addition, while the turnout (registered voters compared with number that voted in these races) in the county in these races (Bd of Ed at-large and district 2) were 11% and 12%, in LW the turnout was 19% and 20%.

Also interesting is the overall turnout. In Montgomery it was 14%. In Leisure World it was 26%.

Teachers Union Still a Force  // by FREDERICK NEWS POST
FREDERICK NEWS-POST: If there's one thing you can't miss from Tuesday's Board of Education primary election results, it's that the county's teachers are still a formidable voting bloc. It seems the county commissioners, who recently delivered an ultimatum to the Board of Education to choose between critical school renovation projects and giving teachers a raise, have prodded the dragon. Look at the results.

Three of the six candidates who may go through to the general election, where they will be shaved down to three, were among four endorsed by the Frederick County Teachers Association, the union that represents our K-12 educators.

Depending on the absentee ballot count, that final order may change. Only 11 votes separate Tony Chmelik, sixth, from Emily Ann Meyer in seventh, with a final absentee ballot count of about 200 votes to come April 13....

The influence of County Commissioners President Blaine Young et al. has been effectively rebuffed.... Young and commissioners Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter went all out before Tuesday's election to gain what Young said on his weekday radio show was the one key board member he needed to control the Board of Education vote....

According to the Board of Elections, 1,228 absentee ballots were issued, along with about 200 provisionals; 874 absentees had been returned by close of business on Election Day, and the board will accept the return of absentees up until April 13, as long as the postmark is no later than April 3. When the absentee and provisional count is finished, it's feasible but unlikely that Cusimano will receive enough votes to move her up from fifth. Absentees generally mirror the ballot-box vote.

Donna Crook, an incumbent, ended up in ninth.

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