Rules outlined, forums arranged, process begins for voting to start in June
By Greg Ellison
(June 10, 2021) With four candidates vying for two open seats in the Ocean Pines Board of Directors election, the Election Committee set the ballot order and laid out the rules last Friday for this year’s contest.
Election Committee Chairman Steve Habeger conducted a four-card draw, ace through four, to select ballot order among the 2021 candidates: Frank Daly, Rick Farr, David Hardy and Stuart Lakernick.
Orchestrated in alphabetical order, Daly pulled first and grabbed an ace card.
“Remind me not to play poker with him,” Habeger said.
Farr followed with a four card, while absentee selections were made for Hardy and Lakernick, with the official candidate order running: Daly, Lakernick, Hardy and Farr.
The Elections Committee also held a candidate workshop on Friday to outline contest rules and deadlines.
Habeger said two candidate forums were scheduled, the first being held June 9, with number two scheduled on Sat., June 19 at 10 a.m. in the Assateague Room of the community center.
Election forums start with each candidate provided three minutes for opening remarks, followed by a series of questions, with each given two minutes to answer. An additional three-minute window is granted to the candidates to offer closing thoughts.
Habeger said candidates are not required to attend election forums, which allow questions to be posed to the contestants.
Daly announced he would skip the second forum on June 19 as it coincides with his 50th wedding anniversary.
Habeger also noted the importance for board members to be well versed on related governance documents, such as the Maryland HOA Act and OPA bylaws, so as to fully engage with the community.
“I encourage all candidates to have a working familiarity with the foundational documents that rule this organization,” he said.
Elections Committee member Mark Heintz reviewed size and placement limitations for candidate signs.
“Election materials can’t be distributed on Ocean Pines property except during candidate forums,” he said.
Election signs or handbills are prohibited at Pines amenities and facilities.
Heintz said signs are only permitted on private property with the owner’s permission and should not exceed four square feet or measure longer than 38 inches.
All election signs must be removed by Aug. 20.
Property owners are limited to displaying one sign per candidate, except for residences on canals, or those backing to the golf course or Route 589, Route 90 or Beauchamp Road, where an additional rear sign is allowed.
Habeger said election ballots would be mailed no later than the week of July 12 and must be received no later than close of business on Aug. 11. The vote count begins on Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. with results announced during the OPA annual homeowners meeting on Aug. 14.
The Election Committee is scheduled to meet on June 22 at 10 a.m. to confirm that materials are ready for printing and mailing ahead of a July 5 deadline for submitting to association officials.
“We’re aiming to have the ballots in the voter’s hands for about 30 days,” he said.
While holding up a stack of late-arriving ballots from the recent spending referendum, Habeger stressed the importance of allowing adequate delivery time.
“They’re invalid ballots and we don’t even open the envelopes,” he said. “We don’t want to see an election decided by 10 or 12 votes and have 100 unopened ballots.”
Habeger said the late arrivals in the recent referendum vote would not have altered the outcome, while also noting ballots mailed from the Eastern Shore would be routed to Baltimore prior to delivery.
“The best way to do it is to drop into the drop box in the [Ocean Pines] Police Department lobby,” he said.
Habeger said just 3 percent of referendum ballots were received in the Police Department drop-off location, while also noting the association was advised that delivery times to Pennsylvania and New Jersey took up to two weeks.
“The postal service seems to be running slowly these days,” he said. “If you’ve got 30 days and it takes two weeks to get the ballot, boy, the clock is ticking.”
For questions about the election, or to submit questions for the candidate forum email email@example.com.