With a low voter turnout, a record number of write-in votes and more than 260 absentee ballots, election officials canvassed the results Thursday of Frederick’s general election.
Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey said officials added the results of 263 absentee ballots to Tuesday night’s totals for both city mayor and Board of Aldermen for 9,073 total votes cast. The outcome remained the same, with Democrats sweeping the entire ballot.
The turnout was 21.58 percent, which Harvey called “disappointing,” but he attributed it in part to Tuesday’s cold and rainy conditions.
“The weather may have affected at least some of the turnout,” he said.
Democratic Alderman Michael O’Connor beat incumbent Republican Mayor Randy McClement with 58.17 percent of the vote to McClement’s 36.66 percent. The totals shake out to 5,229 votes for O’Connor and 3,295 votes for McClement. Voters also cast 465 mayoral write-in votes for 5.17 percent of the total.
Democrats Kelly Russell, Derek Shackelford, Roger Wilson, Donna Kuzemchak and Ben MacShane secured the five Board of Aldermen spots. Russell, a sitting alderwoman who will continue in her role as president pro tem with the most votes received among the candidates, earned 6,099 votes. Shackelford, a pastor, local sports coach and former member of the Democratic Central Committee, followed with 5,657 votes. Wilson, Frederick County’s director of government affairs and public policy, was close behind with 5,637 votes. Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak snagged fourth place with 5,583 votes; and MacShane, who owns a local construction business, earned the fifth spot with 5,366 votes.
The Republicans trailed a safe distance behind the Democrats, with former Alderman Alan Imhoff earning 3,064 votes, which was a total 2,302 less than MacShane. The other Republicans on the ballot — Bryan Chaney, Katie Bowersox, Hayden Duke and Nate Power — all earned similar vote totals ranging from 2,200 to 2,600. A total of 166 write-ins were also received for the aldermen.
Election officials tallied all of the write-ins for both mayor and Board of Aldermen during Thursday’s canvass.
Since none of the names written in changed the results, City Legislative Clerk Phyllis Hane explained that officials made a list of the names and distributed them, but did not tabulate any totals for any candidates.
According to the list, most of the write-in votes for mayor were for Shelley Aloi, who ran an aggressive write-in campaign after losing to McClement in the Republican primary. Aloi secured about 440 of the total mayoral write-in votes. She submitted a response to the results via text Thursday.
“I learned a valuable lesson, and that is, people do not always do what they say or take action aligned with what they say they believe. Instead, the mesmerizing influence of party politics lays claim to hearts and minds as if the ‘other’ is the enemy, and that simply is not the truth. I congratulate each candidate for taking part in this process, and I wish all the best success to those who came out in the lead,” Aloi said.
She did not respond to questions about whether she has any future political aspirations.
Harvey said Aloi’s write-in campaign is the first he’s seen in a city election since taking office in 2002.
“In the entire time I’ve been here, I’ve never seen an active write-in campaign,” he said.
A swearing-in ceremony is set for the new mayor and Board of Aldermen from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Weinberg Center for the Arts.