Skip to comments.Montgomery Seeks to Ensure Safety of Voters;Sniper Fears Might Mean Lower Turnout in County
Posted on 10/22/2002 8:35:46 AM PDT by HoosierFather
With more than $7.7 million raised so far, the 8th District in Montgomery and Prince George's counties is the site of the nation's most expensive congressional race. It's also a critical campaign stop in the gubernatorial race.
But all of that cash and campaigning will mean little if voters are too fearful of the Washington-area sniper to go to the polls Nov. 5.
Like everybody else, officials at the Montgomery County Board of Elections are hoping the sniper is caught soon. But if the killer remains at large on Election Day, the county is exploring ways to keep people feeling safe at polling places...
...The shootings have already had an impact on the election season - campaign appearances have been canceled, television ads have been bumped and campaign volunteers have reported anxiety about continuing to go door to door...
...The 8th District race is considered crucial by both national parties in the battle for control of the House. The region is also important for Democrats in statewide races because Montgomery is the state's most populous county...
(Excerpt) Read more at sunspot.net ...
But, the devil may be in the details or at least at the local polls on election day. The DC sniper shootings started in Montgomery county and have also occurred in Prince Georges county (the 13 year old boy shot at school) in Maryland. The sniper has also moved west and south into the District of Columbia and into rural Virginia on several occasions.
Montgomery and Prince Georges counties are two of the largest in MD, surrounding the northern and eastern borders of DC. But more importantly, they are two of the most Democratic counties in their voting patterns.
In 1998, Paris Glendening got 55% of the vote across the entire state of MD. But, Paris carried over 62% in Montgomery County and over 74% in Prince Georges county. The vote pluralities in these two counties accounted for the total statewide vote plurality (about 160,000 votes) in Glendenings win over Ellen Sauerbrey. Therefore, turnout in these heavily Democrat counties will be absolutely critical to the chances of KKT in the election.
The sniper threat has remained well outside of Ehrlich's political country. Heavily Republican counties favoring Ehrlich are very far north and west of the shooting zones near DC.
While people in the rest of MD are concerned about the DC sniper, they currently do not have the same level of fear that has gripped Montgomery and Prince Georges counties, both Democrat strongholds.
So, it would appear that if the sniper is still on the loose on November 5th, we may observe significant low voter turnout in these 2 counties. And, in a close race that could be decided by only 1 or 2 percentage points, the DC sniper situation could be the deciding factor in the election.
I fully understand the sentiments of those who think political analysis as it relates to this horror is inappropriate, but elections go on regardless. As far as the Maryland race is concerned, I'd think both candidates would be walking on eggshells. Any perception that either of them are attempting to politicize this situation is likely to be dealt with harshly by the electorate.
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