Software problem leaves election officials no choice but to hand-count ballots
The 28 proposed amendments to the Ocean Pines Association by bylaws were overwhelmingly approved by Ocean Pines voters this week, although getting to that final tally involved counting votes the old-fashioned way.
The vote count on the Ocean Pines bylaws referendum was supposed to have been done last Friday, but uncooperative software made that impossible. Election officials had to go analog and resort to hand-counting the ballots cast Tuesday morning. With 28 total items, vote totals varied from one point to the next, but they typically amounted to around 1,700 per item.
“I’m not a computer expert but from what I understand, the software was having difficulty reading the small blocks on the ballot forms,” said Elections Committee liaison Larry Perrone. “Testing was done. However, I guess we didn’t test it using all of the blocks and it was recording, the way it looked to me, some of the votes but not all of the votes.”
Originally, homeowners were being presented with 28 potential changes to bylaws, with ballots due back by May 19 at 4 p.m.
At 10 a.m. Friday the live-streamed ballot count commenced with plans to announce the results later that day, but in the afternoon the association announced that the results would not be in that day.
Ocean Pines Association President Colette Horn said in a Friday statement that the ballots would be stored at the Ocean Pines Police Department “under lock and key and 24-hour surveillance” until the vote counting could resume.
The Bylaws and Resolutions Committee, a subcommittee and the board of directors developed the language changes under consideration in the referendum after more than a year of consideration and discussion.
“We believe these changes are necessary to clear up some inconsistencies in the bylaws and to help protect the association from future litigation,” Horn said in April.
Perrone said that the ballot counting mishap was not on the agenda for Wednesday’s Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors meeting, but that it would certainly be looked into further in the near future.
The bylaws changes and the votes for and against were:
Voting totals for each question were as follows:
Question #1: (Definition of Owner of Record) Yes: 1386 / No: 401
Question #2: (Definition of Who is Eligible to Vote) Yes: 1408 / No: 321
Question #3: (Confirmation of Eligible to Vote) Yes: 1417 / No: 307
Question #4: (Special Meeting by Petition Requirements) Yes: 1382 / No: 342
Question #5: (Notice of Meetings) Yes: 1366 / No: 346
Question #6: (Submission of Certified or Rejected Petition) Yes: 1370 / No: 345
Question #7: (Petition Signature Requirements) Yes: 1376 / No: 347
Question #8: (Referendum Approval Requirement) Yes: 1303 / No: 428
Question #9: (Board Member Qualification – Owner of Record) Yes: 1352 / No: 365
Question #10: (Candidate Eligibility – Family Member Serving on the Board) Yes: 1344 / No: 380
Question #11: (Candidate Eligibility – Involved in Litigation with OPA) Yes: 1277 / No: 453
Question #12: (Candidate Eligibility – OPA Employee Prohibition) Yes: 1328 / No: 402
Question #13: (Candidate Eligibility – Corporate Entity Ownership) Yes: 1354 / No: 370
Question #14 (Candidate Eligibility – Payment of Annual Charges) Yes: 1429 / No: 297
Question #15: (Candidate Eligibility – Felony Conviction) Yes: 1366 / No: 356
Question #16: (Search Committee) Yes: 1339 / No: 387
Question #17: (Candidate Applications) Yes: 1377 / No: 342
Question #18: (Candidate Eligibility Determination) Yes: 1312 / No: 415
Question #19: (Appointed Director Qualification) Yes: 1405 / No: 327
Question #20: (Board Decisions Outside of a Board Meeting) Yes: 1334 / No: 393
Question #21: (Board Compensation – Family Membership) Yes: 1331 / No: 392
Question #22: (Removal of a Director for Cause – Felony Conviction) Yes: 1366 / No: 367
Question #23: (Approval of Sale, Mortgage or Development of Property) Yes: 1343 / No: 368
Question #24: (Check and Contracting and Fund Withdrawal Authority) Yes: 1421 / No: 310
Question #25: (Clarification of the Secretary’s Review of Petitions) Yes: 1402 / No: 314
Question #26: (Secretary Resignation if Running for the Board) Yes: 1418 / No: 301
Question #27: (Transfer of Budget Items Procedure) Yes: 1392 / No: 333
Question #28: (Personnel Policy Clarification) Yes: 1411 / No: 287
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 26, 2022.