Pines Committee Talks Election Dates, Deadlines

Pines Committee Talks Election Dates, Deadlines
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OCEAN PINES – Discussions on dates and deadlines for the upcoming board election highlighted a committee meeting last Friday.

Following a candidate draw last Friday, the Ocean Pines Elections Committee convened to review dates and deadlines for the 2023 Board of Directors election. With a new voting contractor – Washington-based Election Trust – Chair Tom Piatti said ballots would be mailed the week of July 11 and due back by Tuesday, Aug. 8.

“We reviewed [Resolution] M-06 and it says ‘by Wednesday,’” he said. “We are doing it on Tuesday because we are going to give a day in order for us to see if any ballots have been dropped off locally. They can be FedExed out to Washington state.”

Late last month, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve Election Trust as the association’s new voting contractor. The Washington-based company will be tasked with printing and handling all election materials for the upcoming board election at a cost of $15,994.

Board members, however, have questioned the vendor’s capability to confirm received ballots. In last week’s committee meeting, Piatti said Election Trust would notify voters once their ballot has been received, so long as their membership information is up to date.

“Election Trust scans the envelopes each day. At the end of the week they summarize it in a report and it comes back to the elections committee,” he explained. “Meanwhile, when they scan that envelope, they tie it to the Excel spreadsheet we provide them. And if your email is in that spreadsheet, you are going to get an email that they received your envelope. That’s never happened before.”

The Ocean Pines Elections Committee last week also held a candidate draw to determine ballot order for the 2023 Board of Directors election, as well as the order candidates are seated during the election forum.

This year, four candidates – Elaine Brady, Jeffrey Heavner, John Latham and Jerry Murphy – will vie for two board seats currently held by Association President Doug Parks and Director Colette Horn.

Both are currently serving the last year of two consecutive terms and cannot run again because of term limits.

It should be noted there could also be a third open seat on the board, as Director Frank Daly has announced his intentions to sell his home in the Pines.

However, it remains to be seen if any potential vacancy will impact this year’s election process.

During last week’s candidate draw, Piatti announced there would be one candidate forum held this year, on Wednesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. in the Clubhouse meeting room. He said questions for the forum can be sent to [email protected].

“The forum will be taped and available for replay after the forum is finished,” he said.

The voter eligibility deadline this year is Wednesday, July 6. For membership questions, contact [email protected].

The Ocean Pines Board of Directors is a seven-member volunteer board that governs the association. Ballots for the upcoming election will be counted and vote totals will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 10. The annual meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12.

For additional questions about the election, email [email protected].

“I want to thank the entire elections committee for all the hard work that they have spent over the past several months putting this all together to where we are at today,” Director Rick Farr, elections committee liaison, said during last week’s meeting. “I know there has been some adversity, some timelines. I do appreciate all the work the elections committee has done in answering the questions the board has asked. Your professionalism is well noted and appreciated.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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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.