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Wentworth gives OP board review of ‘15 elections

(Nov. 5, 2015) Elections Committee Chair Bill Wentworth provided a detailed annual report to the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors during a public meeting last Thursday.
According to Wentworth, 6,707 of the 7,403 eligible voters cast ballots during the last election that saw Tom Herrick (1,669 votes) and Cheryl Jacobs (1,480) earn seats on the board.
Only 37 of those votes had to be counted by hand, some because of what Wentworth called “faulty” ballots.
Thirty-one ballots were rejected, nearly 22 of which were rejected because voters selected more than two candidates. Two ballots were thrown out for being in improper envelopes, two were rejected because multiple ballots were mailed in the same envelope, and five were mailed back blank.
Wentworth said the committee spent $7,462.34 during the election, including $4,715.06 for printing and mailing and $1,437.50 for computer-related costs.
An additional $1,309.78 was spent on a special insert included in this year’s ballots.
The Gazette reported in July that a layout error in the candidate questionnaire associated with Ocean Pines’ quarterly newsletter mistakenly printed the same response from Herrick as the answer to two separate questions. After some debate, the association decided to send corrected versions of the Q&A as an insert with the ballots.
Board member Tom Terry asked who was responsible for the flap.
While Wentworth said he and the committee have the final word where ballots are concerned, he added, “We had no control whatsoever with that information that’s sent out by OPA in the [quarterly report].”
Jacobs suggested the committee publish the full scope of its findings during the annual meeting, when election results are made public, in order to educate the voting populace on common themes of user error.
“When we publicize the results, we [could] also publicize the problems that occurred and make people aware of the fact that they lost their opportunity to have a say because you didn’t follow the procedure,” she said. “Emphasize that along with printing the results.”
Wentworth thanked committee members, OPA staff and board liaison Pat Renaud with helping the committee achieve a “smooth and successful” election.
“This success is the result of dedicated members who believe in the resident’s right to vote for governance and also in preserving the integrity of the ballot,” he said.