Takoma Park gets out to vote
On 7:30 the morning of Election Day, volunteers reported that voter turnout was good so far. This was a sign of good things to come as Takoma Park enjoyed a 21 percent turnout rate, one of the highest in the last few election years.
By 7:45 a small line had formed as residents voted before heading to work. Residents of all ages showed up at the polls, from families strolling with young children to 55+ voters who came accompanied by spouses and other relatives. And they all embodied the spirit of community and inclusiveness that Election Day brings out in Takoma Park.
“I have always appreciated the openness of the election process in Takoma Park,” observed 15-year resident Margerita Silverstone of Ward 1. Silverstone was in favor of the advisory question on the ballot if it meant the process could be “even more open and inclusive.”
One of her fellow residents shared this sentiment. Joan Horn, also of Ward 1 and a 35-year resident of Takoma Park, was also in favor of the advisory question. In addition, Horn said, “Face-to-face contact made the difference in casting her vote.” She talked with Kate Stewart during her campaign and “would like to see her continue on the same path” should she become Mayor.
Stewart, councilmember for Ward 3, was elected Mayor of Takoma Park, and Peter Kovar, one of two newcomers to the city council, won the Ward 1 seat with 630 votes. Ward 6 councilmember Fred Schultz kept his seat, receiving 206 votes. The other four candidates, Ward 2’s Tim Male, Ward 3’s Rizzy Qureshi, Ward 4’s Terry Seamens, and Ward 5’s Jarrett Smith ran unchallenged. (See full election results on p. 11 and read our interview with the new mayor in the January issue.)
Bernice Tyler, who has lived in Takoma Park for 45 years, also appreciated candidates who gave their campaigns that personal touch. “Folks who came to my home to visit personally got my vote,” she said.
It’s clear that the Takoma Park community takes elections personally. Perhaps an exchange between one of the City’s younger residents and his mom as he was dropped off for before-care best summed up the day. “What election?” he asked. To which his mom replied, “The city election.” “Why?” he asked. She said, “They’re deciding who will be the next mayor.”
This article appeared in the December 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.