Residents from seven of the 10 villages in Columbia will be heading to the polls this weekend to elect village board and Columbia Council representatives.
In half of the planned community's villages, there will be choices to make: there are contested races for the Columbia Council in Dorsey's Search and Long Reach, and for the village board in Hickory Ridge, Kings Contrivance and Oakland Mills.
Still other villages need to attract a certain number of voters to the polls to achieve a quorum that will validate the results. Election rules vary by village – in Harper's Choice, Owen Brown and Town Center, uncontested candidates will be automatically appointed and no election is being held.
Voting hours vary by village, too, although polls will be open for a few overlapping hours in all participating villages from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Most of the villages are sponsoring election day activities in an effort to get out the vote: in Hickory Ridge, residents can take advantage of free paper shredding, for example, while in Kings Contrivance, the village is sponsoring a flea market.
In a March letter to the community, Columbia Association President Milton Matthews emphasized the importance of Columbia's elections.
"Even before Columbia was officially founded, James Rouse did a lot of community outreach," Matthews wrote. "To this day, resident participation remains a cornerstone of Columbia."
Here's a breakdown of election-day details, village by village:
• Dorsey's Search: Village board (one candidate for two seats): Ellen Mackey. A second candidate will be appointed. Columbia Council (two candidates for one seat): Dan Woodruff and Dick Boulton. Polls open on April 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Linden Hall.
• Harper's Choice: Village board (three candidates for five seats): Stephen L. Cook, Robert T. Fontaine and Benjamin S. Rubin. Per the village's bylaws, they will be deemed to be elected by the village's board of directors. The remaining two seats will be filled with board members who are currently serving. No Columbia Council election.
• Hickory Ridge: Village board (six candidates for five seats): Linda Hitzelberger, Celindah Grier, Miles Coffman, Jerry Lioi, Michelle Wood and Tom Louden. Columbia Council (one seat): Gregg M. Schwind. Polls open on April 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hawthorn Center. Election day activity: free paper shredding for up to three bags or boxes of paper and unlimited electronics recycling from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Kings Contrivance: Village board (five candidates for four seats): Lilah Haxton, Barbara Seely, Shari Zaret, Christiana Mercer Rigby and Jenna Salmon. Columbia Council (one seat): Brian Dunn. Village needs a 63-vote quorum. Polls open on April 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Amherst House. Election day activities (April 25): Free vehicle ID etching from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; community flea market from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Long Reach: Village board (two candidates for two seats): Nina Basu and William A. Taylor. Columbia Council (two candidates for one seat): Edward (Ed) T. Coleman and Janet Evans. Polls open 9:30 a.m. to noon at Stonehouse. Election day activity: flea market from 8 a.m. to noon.
• Oakland Mills: Village board (nine candidates for seven seats): Virginia (Ginny) M. Thomas, Bill McCormack Jr., Jonathan Edelson, Daniel Kirk-Davidoff, Paul Verchinski, Marcia White, Frederick B. Eiland, Kay Wisniewski and Bill Woodcock. Columbia Council (one seat): Reginald T. Avery. Polls open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Other Barn. Election day activities: annual plant sale at 9 a.m.; kids' carnival in the loft from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
• Owen Brown: Village board (two candidates for three seats): Kecia Rome and Wayne Eldridge. Both candidates will be appointed. No Columbia Council election.
• River Hill: Village board: no candidates for three seats. The village board will appoint three new members. Columbia Council (one seat): Chao Wu. Polls open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Claret Hall; the village must reach a quorum to validate the election results. Election day activity: free evaluation of gold and silver items by a Gold Party consultant from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Town Center: Village board (three candidates for three seats): Joel Broida, Kirsten Coombs and Lynn Foehrkolb. All three candidates are deemed elected. No Columbia Council election. Election day activity: yard sale in Vantage Point Park from 9 a.m. to noon.
• Wilde Lake: Village board (four candidates for five seats): Rhoda Toback, Jeffrey Friedhoffer, Kevin McAliley and Bess Caplan. A fifth member will be appointed. Columbia Council (one seat): Nancy McCord. Village needs 302-vote quorum to validate the election. Polls open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Slayton House. Election day activities: meet, greet and eat at Slayton House; first 200 voters between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m will receive a "cookie coupon" from CookieRide.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the process for filling two vacant seats on the Harper's Choice VIllage Board.