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Final day of primary vote counting sets stage for Carroll County school board, judge elections in November

Richard Titus, left, and Laura Morton, right.
Richard Titus, left, and Laura Morton, right. (Courtesy Photo)

The results were yet to be certified as of 7 p.m. Friday, but the unofficial final counts from Carroll County’s primary election looked much the same as midweek, when all but provisional and contested ballots had been counted.

In the two key Carroll County races, those advancing to the November general election are Marsha B. Herbert, Donna Sivigny, Virginia R. Harrison and Stephanie R. Brooks in the Board of Education race and Richard Titus and Laura Morton in the Circuit Court judge race.

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The turnout for the primary was 35.34% of registered voters in Carroll County, a total of 43,789 ballots. This is lower than the last primary featuring a presidential election in 2016, when voters cast 47,540 ballots.

The majority of voters participated by mail-in response due to the coronavirus pandemic, which also led Gov. Larry Hogan to postpone the election from its original date of April 28.

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The Circuit Court judge race had three candidates, including George Psoras Jr., cross-listed on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. Voters not registered for one of the two major parties could not vote in this race. Because the two parties favored different candidates, Titus and Morton moved on to the general election.

Titus, the sitting Circuit Court judge having been appointed to fill retired Judge Barry Hughes’ spot on the bench in 2019, was the top vote-getter overall and moved on in the Republican ballot with 15,980 votes (71.4% of the vote). Across both parties, he claimed 20,650 votes.

“To the nearly 21,000 Carroll County voters who cast their ballots for me in the primary election, I am humbled by your support and it remains my honor to serve you. I look forward to the general election,” Titus said via email.

When asked how he would look to connect with voters, he said, “The continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 situation will undoubtedly make interacting with voters more difficult but I look forward to doing so safely in every way possible leading up to Nov. 3.”

Morton came away with the Democratic nomination with 7,643 votes (54.7% of votes) in that race. Across both parties, she claimed 10,975 votes.

“I feel very confident coming out of the primary,” Morton aid, noting she was happy to receive votes from both sides of the aisle, politically. “A judge has to to be judge for everyone regardless of political party." Looking ahead she planned to concentrate on “letting the citizens of Carroll County know that their voice and their vote matter.”

She characterized her opponent as having been voted out of office and appointed again to the bench because of his political connections. She said she acknowledges voters’ “disappointment and their anger,” she said. “I believe that goes against the rule of the people."

“I am not a politician, and reaching out to voters directly ... will benefit me in the long run,” she said. Rather than slick advertising or partisan politics, she said voters should vote for the person who is the most qualified and has the most experience in the areas of law that come before the Circuit Court.

Psoras finished with 4,731 votes overall.

Four candidates for Carroll County Board of Education will move on to the General Election.
Four candidates for Carroll County Board of Education will move on to the General Election. (Courtesy Photo)

Four of the five Carroll County Board of Education candidates moved on past the primary. In November, voters will select two candidates to serve on the board from among current board members Herbert and Sivigny, former two-term board member Harrison and Brooks.

The Board of Education race is nonpartisan and appeared on all registered voters’ ballots. Final results are:

  • Herbert: 17,487 votes (26.5% of the vote)
  • Sivigny: 17,087 votes (25.9%)
  • Harrison: 13,526 votes (20.5%)
  • Brooks: 9,558 votes (14.5%)
  • Mary Kowalski: 8,222 votes (12.5%)

Said top vote-getter Herbert: “I am happy for all the Carroll County citizens who voted for me, who gave me great support.”

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Looking ahead, she is excited for renovation and construction at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center and East Middle School. She really wants to get schools open in the fall, she said.

Together she and Sivigny have gotten a lot done on the board in the last four years and are ready to continue campaigning together toward November, she said.

One of the biggest upsides of her work has been meeting people from all over the county “who are really, really nice, and concerned and want to help with education and improving our system,” she said.

Sivigny, the current BOE president, also thanked voters.

“I feel excited and blessed to once again have the support of the Carroll County community. It has truly been an honor to serve our county over the past four years,” she said via email. “Obviously, it was challenging to connect with voters during the shutdown. But I am hopeful that we can have a more traditional campaign in the fall where we can have more direct voter and candidate interaction, such as debates and forums.”

Harrison said that after the COVID-19 shutdown, she didn’t have the chance to connect with voters.

“Without doing that, I did pretty good. People didn’t forget that I used to be on the board,” she said. Now that restrictions are lifting some, she hopes to do more and remains “always optimistic.”

“I really enjoy being on the board. Just seeing what the young people, what the students are doing, it’s really awesome," she said. She said she is always impressed by CCPS’s teamwork and the places it succeeds like transportation and Career and Technology education. “If I can bring something to that table, I would be really excited about that."

In a statement thanking her supporters, Brooks wrote, “Being the new candidate on the ballot and not being able to campaign due to COVID-19, I knew this would be a tough run, but I'm very proud of making it this far.”

With restrictions lifting, she said was looking forward to hearing what’s on everyone’s mind.

“My next steps are planning meet and greet events and attending community events so that I can engage with the communities and hear from them directly, as well as continuing my work with the CCPS Community Advisory Council," she said.

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