Cumberland Times-News

October 4, 2008

You can still register to vote

Jan Alderton, Managing Editor

There is still time to register to vote in next month’s historic presidential election. In Maryland, voter registration is open until Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 9 p.m. Applications by mail must be postmarked by that date to be eligible.

Absentee ballots also are being accepted by election boards. The deadline to request a ballot is 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 or 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 28 if the application is faxed. After the deadline, a late application must be completed in person at the local board of elections office.

More information about registering, absentee ballots or other election-related matters is available at the Allegany County election board, (301) 777-5931 or the Garrett County election board, (301) 334-6985 or (301) 895-3822.....

Santa Claus, believe it or not, will be on the ballot for the West Virginia election. Claus is one of the state’s 14 write-in candidates for president.

Claus lives in Nevada and until 2005, when he changed his name, was known as Thomas O’Connor.

West Virginia’s rules allow nearly anyone to register as a candidate. “All they have to do is file a form at least 42 days before the election,” said Jason Williams, manager of the elections division in the secretary of state’s office. “Santa Claus filed his form and it was notarized, so he’s registered along with everyone else,” Williams said....

Here’s another example of why a single vote is important:

Angela Tuttle, 32, of Sneedville, Tenn., recently ran for the office of constable in Hancock County. Of the 674 registered voters, 131 cast ballots. But in the race for constable, no one voted — except Tuttle. She voted for herself and ended up winning the election....

There are so many scams these days, so it probably comes as little surprise that one of the frauds deals with voter registration. The scam recently came to light in a report from Scripps Howard News Service.

The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers are sending out e-mails and making phone calls purporting to be from local election boards or civic groups who are calling to confirm your eligibility or registration to vote.

The scammers ask for a Social Security or credit-card numbers to verify your eligibility to vote. But the FTC said no states require any such information.

The trade commission asks those receiving one of these calls or messages to report the incident at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP....

Allegiant Air, the new commercial air carrier at Hagerstown Regional Airport, is one of only two U.S. airline companies reporting profits this year, according to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The other is Southwest Airlines.

The company announced plans Sept. 17 to start twice-weekly nonstop flights between Hagerstown and Orlando Sanford International Airport. The flights, to begin in November, will end a yearlong absence of commercial service at the airport.

The jets Allegiant is to fly into and out of Hagerstown have 150 seats. “We fit (Allegiant’s) mold perfectly. People in this area have long wanted service to Orlando. We know this area will respond to this wonderful service,” Carolyn S. Motz, airport director, told the Herald-Mail....

The State Highway Administration reports that Maryland’s seat-belt rate increased to 93.3 percent this year, up from 93.1 percent last year.

The state’s rate is considerably better than the national average. The U.S. Department of Transportation says 83 percent of drivers have been using seat belts this year, compared to 82 percent last year....

Seen on the Internet — More strange job interview behavior (as reported by human resources personnel):

• (Applicant) chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.

• When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.

• He came to the interview with a moped and left it in the reception area. He didn’t want it to get stolen, and stated he would require indoor parking for the moped.

• During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate’s brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.

• (Applicant) bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.

• (He) pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Contact Jan Alderton at