Election officials finish ballot count, confirm Board of Education winner


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — More than two weeks after Election Day, the Frederick County Board of Elections has finished counting all ballots.

Elections Director Stuart Harvey explains that this year’s election brought in ten times more mail-in ballots compared to 2016, which required several hours of counting by a team of volunteers.

2020 marks the first election where drop-off boxes were used throughout Maryland for voters to return their mail-ballots and election officials saw significant use in Frederick County and across the state.

“74 percent of people who returned a mail-in ballot used a drop-box to get it back to us,” Harvey explained. “I understand statewide, over a million people returned their ballots via the drop-box.”

The final count of all ballots solidifies results in the Board of Education race. Voters were asked to choose three candidates to fill open seats, two of which were sought by incumbents Rae Gallagher and Lois Jarman. 

Sue Johnson, Jason “Mr. J” Johnson, and David Bass won the race and were the clear frontrunners in the days following the election. 

Sue Johnson led the pack of six candidates, earning 21.4 percent of the vote and 23,403 total votes. With a background as a volunteer firefighter, she aims to push the board into proving more detailed plans on student’s return to the classroom in January. 

“Making sure we have enough PPE, cleaning supplies, that we ensure that our teachers and staff and administrators feel safe in our schools; that we’re doing the best for our students,” Johnson said in a previous interview with WDVM News. 

Mr. J followed behind in the race, winning 16.4 percent of the vote. He says one major priority for the new role is strengthening the connection between the board and the community. 

“I’m looking forward to bringing communication, to really close that gap between the community and Frederick County Public Schools,” Mr. J. said. 

David Bass claimed the final open seat and received 15.2 percent of the vote. Bass is a learning specialist at Mount St. Mary’s University and his personal and professional experiences propel his platform to improve special education services.

“I think that my career as a special education teacher, as an administrator at a developmental disability nonprofit, and in disability services in higher education give me a unique perspective on evaluating and improving our special education services,” Bass said. “In addition, my younger brother is on the autism spectrum and so I have also seen special education from the family perspective and the advocate perspective.”

Harvey expects to certify the results of the Frederick County election by Friday. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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