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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


November 19, 2006

Explaining The Obvious

Tom McLaughlin

The last we talked Joel Todd, my candidate for state's attorney, was down by two votes. They counted the provisional and now he is up by 16. Tomorrow they will count the overseas ballots.

There were 37 of them as of Monday with more trickling in until Friday's mail. Then they will be tabulated and the state's attorney race her in Worcester County will finally be settled.

I sat down at a table at the Election Office in Snow Hill. It is located in an old house and we were in the unfinished garage. Carts of voting machines surrounded us.

An old-time lawyer from Ocean City sat down next to me. Next to him was a much younger lawyer trying to impress. He was going to tell the old codger how things worked.

"You see, Cuthbert, they are opening the envelopes". Any one who was not totally blind could see that.

"They are taking the ballots out of the envelopes," he stated knowingly. All of this was going on right in front of us.

Cuthbert nodded. "Now they are putting the ballots in a pile" Talk about elaboration of the obvious. Cuthbert probably wondered if he was going to hand him a white cane.

"They are taking the ballots over to the machine" the lawyer told Cuthbert, helpfully. The wise old sage, who had won many elected offices, nodded again.

Next, things got ridiculous. Simple math, I still count on my fingers, ended in a jumble of numbers.

There were provisional ballots, ballots where people voted in the wrong county yet their votes for governor would be counted, but the local races did not, voters who put two ballots in the same envelope and those awaiting a ruling from the court because of the November 7 deadline and those who beamed down from outer space just to add to the mix.

I looked around and noticed the confusion on everyone's face; but they all shook their heads when asked if there were any questions.

Except me.

I told them I didn't know what the hell they were talking about and asked them to go through it again. It still didn't make sense and I was holding up the procedures so I just trusted in God that everything was correct. I had a feeling everyone else was doing the same.

The ballots were inserted into the Diebold machine; a card was taken out and put into the big Diebold machine and the votes tallied. They did this three or four times and the final vote announced. Joel Todd was up by 16 votes. I think.

The talking head from the local television station came out of her trance, where she had been I don't think she knew, and realized something was up. She got her microphone and looked for somebody, anybody, to interview in front of the camera.

The Snow Hill wino would do as far as this space cadet was concerned. Another reporter, who had a massive hangover, also came back to life and glanced around for something to write about. I had pages of notes for my newspaper but they would not be used.

Another, far more important issue caught my attention. Your homework is to read my article www.baysideoc.com. You can't miss it and I will talk about it later this week.



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