The mayor and Bowie City Council have changed the method of applying for absentee ballots for city elections to eliminate a step that left some registered voters ineligible to vote.

Gone are the post cards that residents have been required to submit as preliminary applications before getting the actual absentee ballot applications, according to City Clerk Edith Maylack.

"A lot of people filled out that card, and thought they were registered to receive an absentee ballot , and proceeded no further," Maylack said.

Under the new method, city administrators will send out applications to each person who submits a written request for an absentee ballot, Maylack said.

In other business, the council hired B.F. Asher Inc. to install lights on a softball and soccer field in Allen Pond Park. The company was also contracted to build several new ballfields in the park, for a total fee of $140,392.

And by the way, city residents, has Bowie got a deal for you: The city has arranged a sale of trees with the state agriculture department. Flowering dogwoods, red maples, pin oaks and others will be sold at prices from $20 to $37.50. Residents may call 262-6200 to order trees. Pickup is Nov. 13, but buyers beware--"The city cannot guarantee the trees once residents have taken possession," said City Manager G. Charles Moore.