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Ex-Hancock mayor quits Board of Elections

July 19, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

Former Hancock Mayor Ralph E. Wachter, citing personal reasons, resigned his position on the Maryland Board of Elections this week after being recently reappointed to a four-year term.

Wachter, who now lives in Hagerstown, declined to elaborate but said his tenure on the board was "really and truly a very hard-working time."

Former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat, appointed Wachter, a Republican, to the board in 1999 to fill a vacancy with a few months left in the term. When that term expired, Wachter was reappointed to a term that ended June 30.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich reappointed Wachter for a second four-year term ending in 2007.

Wachter said that while he served on the board members had to write regulations for implementing each election law. Maryland also became one of the first states to begin touch-screen voting, piloting the program in four counties during the last election. The goal now is to bring the rest of the state on-line.

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The board wanted to unify local election boards throughout the state, he said. "I'm very proud of our Washington County Board of Elections," he said. "They've been very cooperative."

The result, he said, is that voter rolls are becoming more accurate.

He said the board was working to make polling places more handicapped-accessible.

"We had a list of all the ones that had problems and we've reduced that list significantly," he said.

He said local election boards always need more volunteers and judges, and he hopes more people will volunteer.

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