"Excuse me," said the short, sweaty, bespectacled man. "I'd like to run for the County Council, if I could."

"Do you have any papers," asked the clerk at the Prince George's County Board of Supervisors of Elections in Upper Marlboro.

When Mike Zane answered no, she handed him a half dozen legal size forms to fill in. He joined a list of 30 Prince George's residents who decided yesterday that they'd like to be in politics.

Zane did not know which of the nine council districts he lives in. Reapportionment left late-announcing candidates confused. Election officials promised that new maps showing precise boundaries would be available within two or three weeks.

"You don't know who you're running against, what to plan or where to put your posters," said David Brooks of Brandywine, who filed for the Republican Central Committee. "The maps should have been out, it's quite expensive to run a campaign," he added.

Most of the last-minute filers were first-time candidates who decided to give in to an urge to run for office.

"I figure I can't mess it up anymore than the guys in there now," said Zane, a Republican who works for a Virginia executive search firm and lives in Hyattsville. "I decided about 2 p.m. this afternoon--it was a spur-of-the-moment thing."