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Quick and Dirty

Voting Block

After losing the September primary election, Reba Hawkins plans to run as a write-in candidate

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 10/10/2007

Almost a month after she came in fourth in the primary election for the 4th District City Council seat, Reba Hawkins is running for the seat again. The 38-year-old mortgage-loan consultant and community activist is running as a write-in candidate in the Nov. 6 general election. She alleges that tampering with electronic voting machines may have cost her the primary election.

Hawkins is concerned that something may have been done to voting machines during a Sept. 7 raid of the Board of Elections warehouse, just days before the primary. According to a letter sent out by the Board of Elections, police had a search and seizure warrant for the location because they believed that an employee at the facility was manufacturing and selling bootleg DVDs. The letter, written by Baltimore City Election Director Armstead Jones says, "No Election Board equipment was used in the making of the DVDs and none of the Board of Election equipment was seized or touched by the Baltimore City Police Department."

Hawkins is unconvinced.

"I truly believe that the voting machines were tampered with," she says, "because I have people that called me and told me they voted for me, [that] my name was in the voting machines in the 3rd District, in the 4th District, and in the 11th District."

Jones refutes the claim. "The raid has nothing to do with the machines. No equipment was effected by the raid," he says and confirms that, as reported in the The Sun, most of the voting machines had already been moved to polling places before police arrived.

"I guess everybody that runs if you don't win, you have some excuse why," Jones says of Hawkins' concerns.

But Hawkins is determined to represent the 4th District and is ready to take on primary victor Bill Henry to do it.

"Bill Henry doesn't have an original thought," she says. "He did not connect as well as he should have with the community to find out their issues and concerns. He ran on the fact that [14th District Councilwoman] Mary Pat Clarke endorsed him."

To prepare for the general election Hawkins is focusing on encouraging voter turnout and educating people in her district about the role of a City Council member. "People are still saying it doesn't matter who you vote for, nothing is going to happen, nothing's going to change," she says. "We need change. We need some people that have the community's interest in mind."

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