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County board of elections might stay the same

February 18, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

The new Washington County Board of Elections apparently will be the same as the current board.

The three current members of the board — Democrats Eileen W. Wiggins and John R. Benchoff and Republican Clyde J. Tate — have been appointed to serve another four-year term. Their terms expire this year.

Republican Carroll H. Earp, a board alternate, also was nominated to serve again.

Tammy E. Downin is nominated to be the other alternate, taking over the Democrat slot now held by Sharon L. Washington.

Gov. Martin O'Malley included the election board nominations Friday on a list of 225 appointments to boards and commissions across the state.

The list is known as "Green Bag" nominations because of the historical green satchel used to deliver the names to the Senate, which approves them, according to O'Malley's office.

The only other Washington County nomination on the list is John Michael Stouffer to the Commission on Correctional Standards.

The makeup of the election board has become an issue in Annapolis this year because of a bill that would turn the county's alternates into full members, with voting rights.

Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, filed the bill in the Senate, even though the current board of elections is opposed to the idea.

After some debate, the Washington County delegation agreed to cross-file the bill in the House.

A few other counties made the same switch last year.

By law, a majority of the election board must be the same party as the governor — currently Democrat.

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