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Our View: Manchester election will be a write (-in) of passage for one candidate | COMMENTARY

While we understand there are those who pay attention to elections only in even years, we are always interested in Carroll County’s municipal elections. This year, color us fascinated.

It is always heartening to see citizens stepping up and running for office to help shape their town and cities. This year, there will be four contested races for mayor and seven contested council races.

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And then there is Manchester.

Three seats on the Manchester Town Council will be up for grabs when the eighth and final municipal election in the county takes place on May 18. Only problem is, when the town residents who registered to be candidates were announced, the list included only two names.

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Incumbent Debra L. Howe and David G. Richardson, who served on the council from 2007-11, registered as candidates and one has to like their chances. Because the other two incumbents opted not to run, and because no one else registered to run, the third seat will be filled by, well, no one has any idea who at this point.

According to Kelly Baldwin, Manchester’s finance director, by charter, three blank lines will appear on the ballot for write-in votes. Whoever receives the most write-in votes will win the seat, assuming they meet the criteria and accept the position, Baldwin said.

It’s not as if that many votes will be needed. In a town of nearly 5,000 residents, 47 voters turned out for the 2019 election.

Maybe someone who was on the fence about running will take this as a sign and begin a write-in campaign. Maybe someone will wake up election day morning and decide to give it a shot, and hang out all day at a proper distance away from Town Hall handing out business cards and asking for votes. Or maybe a few friends will get together and decide to write in their neighbor’s name without said neighbor’s prior knowledge or approval.

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This is not to make light of the situation. Municipal elections are critical for the less than one-third of Carroll County residents who live in its incorporated cities and towns. The elected officials will make important decisions, perhaps having to do with water and sewer rates, law enforcement, development and/or local taxes. Elected officials in municipalities can have a larger effect on everyday life than the ones we send to Washington.

And in Manchester, about a month from now, one of the people entrusted to make important, impactful decisions didn’t want the job as recently as April 5, the deadline to register for candidacy. That doesn’t mean a perfectly competent, potentially outstanding candidate won’t emerge and win with the most write-in votes. It just means May 18 will be fascinating to watch.

Municipal election season in Carroll is just over two weeks away. On May 3, Mount Airy will elect a mayor and two councilmembers and Taneytown will elect three councilmembers. On May 4, Sykesville will elect a mayor and three councilmembers. On May 11, Hampstead and Union Bridge will elect three councilmembers while New Windsor and Westminster will elect a mayor and two councilmembers.

We urge everyone who lives in one of our county’s municipalities to carefully consider their candidates — whether registered or write-ins — and vote when the time comes.

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