After Changes to Established Early Voting Sites, Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee Worksession on Oct. 1 Will Address Actions to Encourage Voter Participation
ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 25, 2015—Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, has scheduled a worksession with the County Board of Elections at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, to address steps that can be taken to encourage voter turnout after the board relocated two established early voting sites in Montgomery County.
The GO Committee, which includes Councilmembers Sidney Katz and Hans Riemer, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room at the Council Office Building in Rockville at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed live via the Council web site at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council .
On Sept. 21, the County Board of Elections, which became controlled by a Republican majority after the election of Governor Larry Hogan, voted to relocate two popular and heavily utilized early voting sites in Montgomery County. As a result of the 3-2 vote, the early voting sites at the Marilyn Praisner Community Center in Burtonsville and the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase were eliminated. New early voting sites will be the Longwood Community Recreation Center in Brookeville and the Potomac Community Recreation Center on Falls Road.
Councilmember Navarro said the board’s decisions relocated two easily accessible voting centers in densely populated areas with sites near areas that are sparsely populated and difficult to reach by public transportation.
“We all know that voter turnout is an issue across the nation, and Montgomery County is no exception,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Moving early voting locations away from where people live is only going to discourage participation. Voting is one of the most fundamental civic duties in our democracy. Part of my job is to make sure that our residents have access to polling places in all parts of Montgomery County.”
All early voting sites are open to all voters across the County. Approximately 8,000 voters cast ballots at the Burtonsville and Chevy Chase early voting sites in the 2014 general election. In that election, Burtonsville was the second busiest early voting center in the County, behind the Silver Spring Civic Building.
“In 2013, I garnered unanimous Council support to create the Right to Vote Task Force,” said Councilmember Navarro. “The resolution establishing the Task Force directed the Montgomery County Board of Elections to select early voting sites that are ‘easily accessible by public transportation’ to help ensure that all eligible voters, regardless of income or access to a vehicle, have an opportunity to cast a ballot. The actions by the Board of Elections move us away from this goal. Now, it is time to roll up our sleeves and do everything possible to educate the public about these changes.”
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