Several Resign From Pines Elections Committee

Several Resign From Pines Elections Committee
Elections Committee volunteers are pictured counting ballots during this summer's 2022 board election. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors is seeking volunteers to fill vacancies following a slew of resignations from the Ocean Pines Elections Committee.

In a statement released last week, Association President Doug Parks announced several resignations from the elections committee. As a result, the board is now seeking volunteers to fill open seats.

“Unfortunately, the Board has received resignations from several members of the Elections Committee,” he said. “The decision from each committee member to resign was their own decision alone.”

He continued, “We are saddened these volunteers chose to resign their position, as the work they have done and the time they have spent supporting the community has been commendable. The Board thanks them for their volunteer spirit and their willingness to step up and serve the Association.”

Parks’ statement did not identify who or how many from the elections committee had submitted resignations, nor did it give a reasoning for their departures. The association’s website, however, has removed the names of all committee members except Director Rick Farr, who serves as a board liaison.

Parks did not return requests for comment this week but announced that the board would be seeking volunteers to serve as elections committee members.

“As there are now vacancies on the committee, the Board is soliciting for volunteers to serve on this important advisory committee …,” he said in a statement. “Please consider volunteering in support of the Ocean Pines community.”

Parks’ announcement came less than a week after the elections committee held a hand count of paper ballot votes from the 2022 Board of Directors election, which revealed significant discrepancies in vote totals for the six candidates.

The hand count, performed by committee members and volunteers, revealed totals were off by more than 100 votes for five of the six candidates and that 15 votes now separates the third- and fourth-place candidates, Monica Rakowski and Amy Peck.

“This hand count also verified that the tabulation program needs to be investigated to identify the reason for the reporting an excess of votes, above the maximum number of paper ballots, that were scanned on 8/11/22,” a report from Ocean Pines Elections Committee Chair Carol Ludwig reads. “The failure to verify the information generated by the tabulation program resulted in an inaccurate report of results by Elections Committee Chair.”

Election results were first called into question last month when the committee released its report on the 2022 election.

In August, the committee announced the six candidates – Steve Jacobs, Stuart Lakernick, Josette Wheatley, Paula Gray, Rakowski and Peck – received a total of 9,053 votes.

The report, however, states a total of 2,839 online and paper ballots were returned in the 2022 board election. With each property given the opportunity to vote for up to three candidates, that would mean a maximum 8,517 votes could be counted.

To that end, the committee announced plans to hold a hand count of paper ballot votes, which revealed five of the six candidates had between 100 and 300 less votes than originally reported. The difference between the third- and fourth- place candidates had also narrowed from 152 votes to 15 votes, and the total number of votes had decreased from 9,053 to 8,113.

“In the coming months, the Elections Committee will review our processes, investigate glitches in the current tabulation/scanner programs, working towards the delivery of accurate information,” Ludwig said in a report. “We offer our sincere apologies for two weeks of uncertainty as we moved cautiously towards what we felt was the most immediate resolution – to provide the correct results.”

Parks said those wishing to serve on the elections committee are asked to complete an application form, found under the “Committees” tab on the association’s website,, or at the front desk of the administration building.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.