Sykesville’s two mayoral candidates did their best to welcome motorists and anyone on foot who made their way toward Town House for Tuesday’s town election.
The challenger, Councilmember Stacy Link, occupied one corner of the main parking lot at E.W. Beck’s restaurant, while the incumbent, Mayor Ian Shaw, and his camp took some space under a canopy across the pavement. Others running for Town Council spots were there as well, with voters making the ascent into Town House to cast their ballots.
Town Clerk Kerry Chaney greeted people inside the historic building before directing them toward three voting volunteers to fill out paperwork and find one of four stations to sit down and vote.
Chaney said more than 600 votes were cast in the town’s most recent election in 2017. With 3,226 current registered voters in Sykesville, according to town data, Chaney and fellow staff members were hoping for a good turnout Tuesday.
A warm, sunny morning had about one voter per minute, Chaney said, coming through Town House during the first hour of Election Day. The polls close at 8 p.m. Ballots are hand-counted so results were not expected Tuesday night.
“My bad confession is, this is the first time I’ve done this,” Sykesville resident Helen Stanger said a few moments after voting. “Previous years, there has always been something that has kept me away, so I’ve always wanted to get involved. This year I went out of my way to do some research and look into it, so it’s good to get involved.”
There were five candidates running for Sykesville’s three open council seats. Incumbent Alan Grasley has served two nonconsecutive terms and Leo Keenan has been on the council since 2007. Elizabeth Guroff and Keith Mathis are making their first runs at political office in the town, and Frank Robert previously served on the council from 2009-15.
Link, who has served on the town council for eight years, is attempting to become the first female mayor in Sykesville history, while Shaw is seeking his third term.
Shaw has previous election day experience when it comes to campaigning for mayoral votes. He sported a reelection T-shirt and had signs around the area looking for support, and Shaw said it was good to see a steady flow of fellow Sykesville residents coming to vote.
“I’m feeling really positive about it,” he said Tuesday morning. “We did a lot of work, so, you know, that’s all you can do. A lot of work and preparation, went out and talked to almost everybody. I’m hoping for a good turnout, the weather’s going to help for that.”
Shaw said Sykesville has had a great group of people working together to keep the town thriving amid the pandemic.
“I’m proud to be a mayor that has helped facilitate that,” he said. “Our mayor and council, for that matter, have helped facilitate that partnership. And we learn, it’s not been easy. There have been some bumps and struggles along the way. But I tell people, if there’s no friction it’s because you’re not moving. ... We’re getting stuff done, and it shows.”
Meanwhile, Link wore a gray T-shirt with the phrase “Grit for Days” on it and said she felt optimistic about her chances of unseating Shaw as mayor after canvassing for the last five-plus weeks. Link said the goal was twofold ― enjoy a record-breaking turnout, and wind up with more than half of the votes on her side of the ballot.