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Smithsburg chooses town officials

May 12, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Two incumbents and a political newcomer won seats on the Smithsburg Town Council in Tuesday's election.

The turnout of only 8 percent of the town's registered voters left several candidates and town officials wondering why there was such apathy.

Incumbents Shirley Aurand and Jerome Martin, along with Thomas B. Smith, won four-year terms on the council. Aurand led with 105 votes, followed by Martin's 103 votes and Smiths' 74.

First-time candidate Debbie Mooney, who garnered 56 votes, said she would be interested in serving in the town's government in another capacity and would consider running for council again in the future.

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Before and after the results were read at Town Hall, there was plenty of camaraderie among the four candidates.

"I have to find out who those two votes were," Martin said to Aurand, laughing.

Aurand, who has served 11/2 years on the council as a replacement to Jake Johnson, said she was pleased it was a good-spirited election race.

"All the candidates get along really well," she said. "We talked like one big family outside, all day long."

Smithsburg Clerk/Treasurer/Manager Betsy Martin said 130 people voted out of 1,547 eligible residents. She called the turnout surprising and disappointing.

"We even opened the polls longer today because we've gotten comments that we weren't open long enough," she said.

Jerome Martin and Smith, successful in his first attempt to win a council position, also said they had hoped for more interest in the election.

"I knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people," Smith said. "I thought there would be a much better turnout."

Martin said the word disappointment was an understatement.

"I can't understand the apathy in this town," he said. "There are clear-cut issues in this town. If you don't vote, don't complain."

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