VOTERS IN Maryland and Virginia have much partisan business to do this Tuesday at the polls -- national and local party business. And while we will keep out of these preliminary partisan winnowings and setups for the November elections, there is one exception -- a contest in Montgomery County that all eligible voters should know about -- especially if they care about their public schools. There is a contest for the school board that has been entered by Robin Ficker -- veteran demagogue, candidate for everything and one-time hands-down winner of all awards for worst member of the Maryland General Assembly in either party (and he's been in both).

Mr. Ficker is entitled to run for any office, of course, and he almost has: Congress three times, the state senate last time out and before that for delegate, when he managed to win. That victory did confirm Mr. Ficker's highly developed sense of legislative mischief as well as his ability to adjust to either side of a policy issue depending on the mood. Fellow legislators from both parties during his two-year house stint can -- and do -- still testify to Mr. Ficker's infatuation with self-promotion, his outrageous charges about other politicians and his inability to produce the slightest constructive legislative result.

Now Mr. Ficker is back on posters all over the county, voicing vague concerns about the future of young people. The danger is that new voters unfamiliar with Mr. Ficker's record may fall for his extensive poster campaign or may be misguided by some vague name recognition from the past. But they might do themselves and the county a favor by asking any member of the state legislature -- past or present -- for a pre-election briefing. The county's schools have enough problems without adding a big one to the board that administers them.