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Cecil County Board of Elections completes provisional ballot canvas

ELKTON — The Cecil County Board of Elections finished conducting provisional ballot canvassing Wednesday, counting over 500 provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots allow everyone to vote, but are used in cases where voter eligibility needs to be reviewed by the election board. Of all the circumstances a voter may be issued a provisional ballot, the most common are if a voter’s registration is pending, a voter changed addresses 21 or more days before voting, a voter is voting at an incorrect polling precinct or a voter requested a mail-in ballot but chose to vote in-person. Provisional ballots are used to ensure that only registered voters cast ballots and are used to prevent voters from casting a ballot twice.

All provisional ballots are canvassed but are only counted as valid if the voter’s registration is legitimate and they only filed one ballot. If a voter votes at an incorrect polling precinct and the district specific elections are different than that of the precinct the voter was assigned, their vote for those district candidates will not be counted because that voter is not permitted to vote in that district’s elections.

During canvassing, election officials are put in groups of two with one official representing one political party, and the other official representing another party. Most commonly, the groups consist of both a Republican and Democrat official, making the ballot canvassing process a bipartisan effort.

Ballot canvassing in Cecil County began Thursday, Nov. 10 when the Cecil County Board of Elections counted 2,500 mail-in ballots leaving roughly 3,050 mail-in ballots to be counted on the last day of ballot canvassing Friday, Nov. 18.

As of press time Thursday, the race for District 2 County Council is led by Rebecca Hamilton who has currently secured 17,023 more votes than write-in candidate Joyce Bowlsbey. Hamilton currently sits at 20,317 votes and Bowlsbey at 3,294 votes.

Similarly, in the race for District 4 County Council, incumbent Donna Culberson leads write-in candidate Phyllis Kilby by 15,265 votes, with Kilby securing only 4,267 votes and Culberson totaling 19,532 votes.

The race for District 3 Board of Education (BOE) is led by Joe Ferdinandio who currently has 11,736 votes – a 1,103 vote lead over Justin Vest who currently has 10,633 votes. The race for District 4 BOE is not nearly as close as the race for District 3 as Renee Dixon leads incumbent William Malesh by almost 7,000 votes with Dixon currently sitting at 15,290 votes and Malesh at 8,349 votes.

The race for District 5 BOE has similar margins to the race for District 4, as incumbent Diana Hawley leads challenger Russ Johnson by 5,184 votes – securing 60 percent of the vote for the district with Hawley at 14,367 votes and Johnson at 9,183 votes.

The Cecil County Board of Elections will have its third and final ballot canvas Friday, Nov 18. All Cecil County votes will be certified by the end of day Friday by the Cecil County Board of Elections.

All ballot canvases are open to the public and the Cecil County Board of Elections encourages the public to attend and observe.

“We want every voter to know as much of the voting process as possible,” said Kelly Sengstock, president of the Cecil County Board of Elections. “We are dedicated to making the election process in Cecil County the best in the state.”

The Maryland State Board of Elections will certify all votes Monday, Nov. 21.

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Man killed, woman injured in camper fire near Elkton

ELKTON — An investigation is continuing after a blaze near Elkton killed a 55-year-old man and critically injured a woman on Thursday morning, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.

A neighbor called 911 shortly before 7 a.m. on Thursday, after discovering a “large fire” in the unit block of Walnut Grove Road, which is off Leeds Road, a short distance away from the Blue Ball Road intersection and several miles north of Elkton, fire officials reported.

Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene first and discovered a camper trailer engulfed in flames behind a home, according to fire officials. Deputies found the man who was killed in the fire inside a window, fire officials said. Singerly Volunteer Fire Company of Elkton firefighters arrived moments later and found a critically-injured woman, also 55, outside the home, fire officials added.

A Maryland State Police helicopter crew flew that woman to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center in Baltimore, after paramedics provided initial medical treatment at the scene, fire officials reported. She is listed in critical condition, according to fire officials.

As of early Thursday night, fire officials had not released the names of the man killed in the fire and the woman who was critically injured.

The home adjacent to the camper sustained extensive damage, fire officials said. A man who lives in that home was able to escape the fire without injury, fire officials added.

Investigators have confirmed that all of the people involved in the fire are related.

MOSFM detectives, along with their partners assigned to the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division, are investigating to determine where the blaze started and what caused it. A joint investigation between the police agency that has jurisdiction and the Office of the State Fire Marshal is standard operating procedure whenever a fatal fire occurs.

Stay tuned to, as more details about this fatal fire become available.