(Nov. 9, 2018) Tuesday started like any other Election Day for 73-year-old George Stoll III, who had already cast his ballot in the state and county election during early voting in Berlin. The thing was, he had to use a provisional ballot, which presaged problems he would encounter in the Ocean City municipal contest.
The Ocean City resident headed to the convention center to vote as he had in many previous elections, but was rejected.
He “was supposed to be voting in Baltimore County,” according to the registration data on file with the county. That’s where his father, George Stoll Jr., lives, and somehow a clerical error mixed up their information.
“I had no idea that that was going to be a problem on the local elections,” he said.
“They, unlike the county, they told me that they could not accept my vote today because of that inconsistency with the information, and that I’m really not in Ocean City.”
Stoll said he’s lived in the resort for more than 45 years and votes regularly. He said a woman at the polling place is his neighbor, but still nothing could be done.
“So, ‘I’m sorry, but you can’t vote,’” he said. “Unbelievable, and even when people know me up there, they can’t make any accommodations for it. Absurd.”
Stoll said he was told he’d need to go to Snow Hill to fix the mistake.
“It’s not my responsibility to correct their error,” he said. “It would seem to me to be their responsibility to correct their own error.”
Stoll then called for someone to take responsibility for this mistake.
“It’s all wrong, and there should be some accountability for someone putting that information in such huge error,” he said. “I mean it’s ridiculous.”
Stoll then expressed his frustrations with “this whole system.”
“They’re telling me that nobody has the ability to do it,” he said. “They tell me it’s a done deal, they can’t help me and go away.”
Where does that leave Stoll? He said this has put him at a crossroads.
“It would be easy for me to go down to Snow Hill and correct it. But why should I have to? I mean, hell, it’s not my mistake,” he said. “They want me to correct their mistake, and they wouldn’t let me vote anyway.”
Stoll said he was hurt by not being able to vote.
“I consider it a right and an honor to be able to vote,” he said. “I’m just very upset that they would take that right away from me.”
The reason Ocean City elections officials were unable to change the voter registration information, however, is because that is handled at the county level for the state board of elections. Resort officials have no access to those records.