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Tomlinson: Local winners, performance of elections board and director, reason for thanks | COMMENTARY

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us will not have the usual extended family gathering with all the trimmings. Folks are just thankful that the election is finally over, and they can sit down for a nice meal, even though it may prove to be a more limited affair. However, let me set the table for a local 2020 election review.

The sweetest dish severed at my family’s Thanksgiving is usually yams with marshmallows and King’s syrup. On Nov. 3, Marsha Herbert, Donna Sivigny, and Judge Richard Titus, had the sweetest local victories. As of Friday, Herbert had 28.4% of the vote and Sivigny had 29.9%, making them the two winners in the four-person Board of Education race, and Titus retained his position on the bench with 64.9% of the vote, and will remain a judge of the Circuit Court in Carroll County.

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All three candidates ran top-notch campaigns and were able to successfully deliver their messages to voters. During all eight days of early voting and on Election Day, these candidates could be found meeting and greeting voters at local polling places from sunrise to sunset. Carroll residents can rest peacefully this year after eating too much turkey knowing that Carroll County Public Schools will continue to have fantastic leadership, and that our local circuit court will have a fair and trusted judge serving justice for years to come.

Every year, it is a sure bet that my aunt’s dog will end up grabbing somebody’s plate when nobody is looking. That is exactly what the General Assembly will be doing to the governor’s plate at Maryland’s budget table now that statewide ballot Question 1 passed. With the passage of Question 1, Maryland’s Constitution will be amended to allow the Democrats in the General Assembly to snatch the governor’s ability to control the budget process.

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Currently, the governor carefully prepares an annual state budget with the help of Maryland’s Department of Budget and Management. State lawmakers then have an opportunity to review the proposed budget and cut particular budget items, but they cannot move money around. With Question No. 1 passing, General Assembly members will now be able to add items to the budget which will result in reckless and wasteful spending. This constitutional amendment allows the members of the General Assembly to jump from the kiddie table to the adult table in what Gov. Hogan terms “a blatant cash and power grab of multi-billion dollar proportions.”

Occasionally, my brother’s favorite NFL team, the team now known as the Washington Football Team, plays on Thanksgiving Day and manages to eke out a win, resulting in an enormous celebration. During this local election season, Carroll’s local Board of Elections team composed of Election Director Katherine Berry, board staff, and election judges and volunteers, is the clear winner. Considering how many times the goalposts were moved this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds were not in their favor to pull off a successful election.

The County Board of Elections and Berry pulled off a massive win ensuring all early voting and Election Day polling places were staffed and prepared to handle a record-breaking turnout. As previously reported by the Times, Carroll had an 80% voter turnout with more than 100,000 voters casting a ballot. Carroll County even hosted the second and third busiest voting centers in the state, Manchester Valley High and Liberty High. With all of the confusion and uncertainty regarding mail-in ballots and voting reported on the national news each day, Carroll residents should celebrate with an end zone dance in honor of the amazing crew we have working at our local Board of Elections.

Every family has that one embarrassing relative who drinks too much during the holiday and brings up uncomfortable topics. For me, there is nothing I found more embarrassing this election season than major cities, including Baltimore, having to board up homes and businesses in fear of civil unrest — not out of fear of a natural disaster, but out of fear of their own citizens burning and looting because they might be unhappy with the election results.

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In Baltimore, businesses hired extra security for the week, and the Baltimore Police Department did not allow any sworn members to take leave on Election Day because the Department brass thought it needed all hands on deck. I cannot imagine living somewhere where I would need to board up my home or business because my neighbors might throw a Molotov cocktail through my window just because the election did not go his or her way.

As usual, this election leaves us with a cornucopia of local winners and downright jive turkeys. Regardless of how the election went, I hope that everybody can enjoy their Thanksgiving and do their best to avoid discussing politics!

Christopher Tomlinson, a member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, writes from Melrose. Find him on Facebook at ColumnistChrisTomlinson or email him at CCTtomlinson@gmail.com.

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