EASTON — The Talbot County Board of Election went before council on Tuesday, July 23, to discuss the Easton Volunteer Fire Department Bingo Hall (315 Leonard Rieck Drive, which is also known as 315 Aurora Park Drive) as the voting site for the 2020 election.
Election Director Jeri Cook met with the Easton Volunteer Fire Department on June 26, and noted that some of the concerns the fire department expressed was having the voting area at the ambulance bay area. In previous years, the fire department noticed that voters would sometimes go across that apron where the fire trucks are.
“Last week, I received a letter from them denying the use of the early voting site for the 2020 election. Because it is the largest place in Easton, 51 percent of our voters in Talbot County live within the Easton area, it is the ideal place to go,” said Cook. “We do have the largest early voting turnout in the state per capita.”
After receiving the denial, Cook reached out to Council President Corey Pack to find out if the election board, fire department and council could work out a solution. On Monday, July 22, Cook, several fire department trustees and Pack came to an agreement to use the bingo hall instead of the bay area.
Since the fire department will lose two days of bingo, they requested a payment from the elections board, which Cook did not have a problem with.
“I am extremely excited about it because it does have the security we need for those machines and it keeps the voters away from the area where the fire trucks are,” said Cook. “We just want to thank the EVFD and Corey Pack. We are working together once again for the voters of Talbot County.”
Talbot County Board of Elections Member Walter Black shared the same sentiment as Cook and gave, “A big thank you to the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, council members and staff for making this to be a wonderful outcome.”
Pack said he understood both sides of the story. During the meeting, he noted he did not want any voters to go through an unfortunate occurrence of what happened to Oxford Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary President Edith Jane Beglin.
Beglin was struck by a vehicle Monday, July 1, on Oxford Road and died due to her injuries. Pack also wanted Cook to come back before council, before early voting for the primary, to go over plans including the parking situation.
“This election in 2020 will be historic. It will bring out a number of people to the polls and so we have got to be ready,” said Pack. “We have to have an area that is conducive to security. The parking area in front of the apron to park was a concern to (the fire department). They are going to have to cone off half of that parking area so that persons can’t park in front of the bay doors.”