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For election judges, newborn grandson is happiest return

November 04, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - While chief election judges Tom and Emily Knode monitored the polls in Clear Spring on Tuesday, their first grandchild elected to have a Nov. 2 birthday - 11 days after his due date.

Election day seemed a fitting birthday for a baby whose grandparents have been manning the polls for years - 20 for Emily for the Democratic Party and eight for Tom for the Republican Party. But it meant they couldn't meet their new grandson until after the polls closed.

Born at 2:09 p.m. at Washington County Hospital, Keller McClay Knode weighed in at 9 pounds, 5 ounces and was 21 inches long. His parents are Eric and Kelly Knode of Clear Spring.

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Eric, 32, is a Hagerstown City police officer with the K-9 unit and Kelly, 26, is a drug and alcohol addiction counselor with the Washington County Health Department.

Family names were chosen for the baby - Keller is Kelly's grandfather's name and her father's and brother's middle names. McClay is the middle name of Emily's father's, Jack Corwell.

Tom, 64, and Emily, 59, are longtime Clear Spring residents, so most voters knew their grandchild's birth was imminent and asked the Knodes if they'd had any news. Election workers aren't allowed to have cell phones at polling places, Emily Knode said, but she got word of Keller's birth about 3 p.m.

The Knodes were at their polling location, Clear Spring Elementary School, at 6 a.m. and didn't leave until 9:30 p.m. The morning was the busiest, with lines backing up to Clear Spring Library, Emily Knode said.

Despite an 80 percent turnout, the crowds tapered off later in the day. The Knodes got to the hospital shortly after 10 p.m. to meet Keller.

"We just wanted to wrap things up and get out of there," Tom Knode said.

"Hopefully if they have a second, we'll be more available," Emily Knode said.

Emily Knode said she watched election results on TV at home after their hospital visit, then tried to get some sleep, but had a restless night thinking of her new grandson.

Jack Corwell, 85, joked that maybe they should have named the baby George, "just so Keller grows up to be a good citizen," he said.

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