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Hancock council faces ballot issue

January 09, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - Hancock Town Council members said at Wednesday night's meeting it will meet with members of the town's Election Board to discuss problems with absentee ballots that have already been sent out to town residents.

Hancock resident James True told council members that he had obtained an "Oath of Absentee Voter" that contained the wrong date of the election.

Absentee voters are required to sign the oath and mail it back to the Election Board along with the ballot.

The date on the oath stated Jan. 29, 2001.

The town's election will be held Jan. 27.

He said he obtained an envelope that was provided by the town to mail the oath and absentee ballot back to the Election Board that had the wrong address on it.

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Instead of going to the town's Election Board, the envelope was addressed to a Maryland State Police office in Glen Burnie, Md.

After True presented the oath and envelope to the council, he said he had been told by an election board official that the ballots of anyone who received an oath with the incorrect date would be thrown out.

"That's not fair to the citizens," True said.

The Town Council and candidates who were in the audience said they wanted to make sure the absentee ballots were counted.

Council members also said they wanted to track down how many ballots had been sent out with the wrong information and notify those individuals of the mistakes.

"It's got to be a trackable thing," Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said.

Town Council members said they planned to hold the meeting as soon as possible to get the situation straightened out.

Council Candidate Franklin Courtney said he would like a special committee to be set up to handle absentee ballots.

"There's something definitely wrong there that needs to be looked at," he said.

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