Michael A. Sawyers
OAKLAND — The Garrett County Board of Elections has moved one voting precinct for today’s election and sent generators to many others in the event power would be lost, according to Director Steven Fratz.
The 455 voters in Precinct 8-1, known as Ryan’s Glade in the Gorman area, will vote at Southern High School’s cafeteria,
In the past, Ryan’s Glade voters have cast their ballots at the Gorman Church of God.
“Southern’s cafeteria is also where Mountain Lake Park voters go,” Fratz said. “We’ll have Ryan’s Glade on one side of the cafeteria and Mountain Lake Park on the other.”
Fratz said the decision to abandon the usual voting place for Ryan’s Glade was made Friday during consultation with utility companies and Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office.
“It was thought that Ryan’s Glade could be one of the last places where electricity is restored,” Fratz said Monday afternoon. “There are still 4,000 to 5,000 people without power in the county.”
In fact, the board of elections left its darkened office in Mountain Lake Park on Friday and began operating out of the county courthouse in Oakland.
“We’re going to stay there through the election,” Fratz said. “We are too close to the election to take a chance moving back.”
Monday morning, trucks traveled to the 18 polling places, carrying the voting machinery.
“Right behind them went trucks with generators and emergency lighting just in case they are needed,” Fratz said.
Fratz said he will stay at Election Day headquarters today. The other board members — President Lois Martin, Betty Pritt, Charles Nolan, Paul Kolb and Randy Glotfelty — will rove to the various polling places checking on conditions.
There was a 72 percent voter turnout in Garrett County for the 2008 presidential election with 69 percent of the votes being cast for the McCain-Palin ticket.
Fratz said he doesn’t believe that Hurricane Sandy and its aftereffects will slow voting Tuesday. “The roads are open and I think people will use it as a chance to get out of the house.”
There were 829 early voters in Garrett County. As of Monday afternoon, 736 absentee ballots had been returned.
“We might have about 850 by Tuesday afternoon,” Fratz said.
In Allegany County, everything is good to go, according to Board of Elections Director Diane Loibel.
“I checked with all the polling places last week and all had electricity. There was a tractor-trailer accident near the polling place at Local 489 (Baltimore and Park in Cumberland) this morning, but I called them and they still have power,” Loibel said Monday.
Early voting in Allegany brought in 2,755 votes. There were 1,634 absentee ballots mailed and as of Monday afternoon 1,259 had been returned.
“We’re also getting a lot of people calling who have moved and are making sure which polling place they should go to,” Loibel said.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.