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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Elections committee plans do-over

Perrone acknowledges Farr could appeal if he prevails in court case against board

By Greg Ellison

(Oct. 7, 2021) Following a split board vote last Thursday in favor of re-staging the contested 2021 election, the Ocean Pines Elections Committee convened the next day to hash out plans for the ensuing race.

Association President Larry Perrone told the committee about the 4-3 vote one day earlier to re-do the 2021 election without contested candidate Rick Farr.

“It’s not a new election,” he said.

The split-vote decision creates a new ballot without Farr, who is suing the association in Worcester Circuit Court.

Farr was originally deemed eligible for the election in early May, but after property ownership status questions surfaced tied to a family trust, that determination was reversed on July 27.

After Circuit Court Judge Sidney Campen issued a postponement during a motion hearing last Monday, the board held a special meeting three days later to consider several election-related motions.

Prior to narrowly approving the new election, the board voted unanimously to rescind an earlier motion to count the ballots of the preceding contest.

Perrone attended the meeting on Friday as a temporary board liaison following the resignation of former committee representative Camilla Rogers one day earlier.

Despite proposing the new election, Perrone said the court proceeding continues.

“We don’t know what will happen,” he said.

Perrone also acknowledged that Farr could appeal the election results if the court declares he should have been eligible.

“Our feeling is it won’t be quick,” he said. “Discovery scheduling and taking depositions could take months.”

Perrone also noted association insurance deductibles would cap legal fees at $25,000.

Committee Chairman Steve Habeger said the task at hand was developing an election plan.

“On one hand it’s easy, on the other hand it’s very difficult,” he said.

Habeger said the ballot mailing list used in July would be replicated, along with any updated addresses.

After asking the board to issue a letter by Monday to direct the committee’s actions, Habeger said the group would begin preparing new ballots and mailers.

“I would like an Oct. 15 goal for posting packages,” he said.

Habeger said the target date might be slightly delayed but should still provide a six-week window for a ballot deadline on Dec. 4.

The committee agreed to meet on Oct. 8 to complete election materials.

Habeger said assembling mailings would require roughly five days and print production time would need to be confirmed.

To eliminate any confusion between the “old and new” election process, different opaque envelope colors will be selected, with all materials marked “re-do.”

“It will send a message ‘this is different,’” he said.