17,698 voters participated in Early Voting in Montgomery County, MD on Day 4. In the 2016 General Election, only 13,831 voters exercised their right to vote on Day 4. The Germantown voting center saw the most voters on Day 4 with a total of 2,374 votes cast.
A total of 87,453 voters have cast their votes in Early Voting so far.
Have questions about voting in Montgomery County in 2020? Here’s a guide with some of the frequently asked questions I’ve been getting. If you have a question that isn’t below, feel free to reach out to me!
I didn’t receive my mail-in ballot. What should I do?
Call the Montgomery County Board of Elections at (240) 777-VOTE (8683) as soon as possible. They can sort it out and let you know how to proceed.
I requested a mail-in ballot but want to vote in person. Can I?
Yes! But! You will need to fill out a provisional ballot (to make sure you didn’t also send in your mail-in ballot).
My mail-in ballot arrived but the envelope and/or ballot was damaged or destroyed. What can I do?
Call the Montgomery County Board of Elections at (240) 777-VOTE (8683) as soon as possible.
My mail-in ballot still shows are “received” when I check the status of my ballot. When will it move to “accepted”?
The Montgomery County Board of Elections has confirmed that mail-in ballots won’t move to “accepted” until at least Election Day. They do not start counting ballots until then. Be patient, it could take several days after the election to count them all.
Don’t see your question? Ask below!
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22,792 voters participated in Day 3 of Early Voting in person. In 2016, only 16,411 voters participated in Day 3 of in person Early Voting. The Bohrer Park location in Gaithersburg led the totals with 3,190 voters.
In what is probably one of the more petty things I’ve witnessed in local politics, the campaign for Elect Sitting Judges, which includes Judges David A. Boynton, Christopher C. Fogleman, Bibi M. Berry, and Michael McAuliffe, have filed a restraining order against Marilyn Pierre and her campaign because a campaign volunteer allegedly referred to Pierre as a “judge”.
Marylanders turned out on the first day of in person Early Voting. Over 128,000 stood in line to vote as of 5:30pm.
Mail-in ballots are also being returned at record rates. So far in Montgomery County, 219,852 ballots have been returned. In Maryland, 947,941 total ballots have been returned.
Early voter turnout in Montgomery County also broke 2016 records. A total of 24,359 votes were cast in person on the first day of Early Voting. This is about 3,000 more votes than the first day of Early Voting in the 2016 General Election.
The Washington Post reported today that Governor Larry Hogan wrote in Ronald Reagan instead of voting for anyone alive…or actually a candidate.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said he “voted for Ronald Reagan” in this year’s election, writing in the name of the late president and conservative icon after concluding that he could support neither President Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Several local and state politicians were critical of the move, as well as residents. State Delegate Vaughn Stewart rightly called out Ronald Reagan’s history as destructive:
Delegate Eric Luedtke likened Hogan’s performative ballot write-in to a vote for Trump:
The Post’s report also noted that Hogan considers Ronald Reagan a political hero:
Hogan, 64, called Reagan “my hero in politics” alongside his late father, Larry Hogan Sr., whom he wrote in for president in 2016 after deciding that he could not support Trump or then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
It’s 2020 and if you don’t have LGBTQ issues, especially trans issues, explicitly on your campaign website I’m not going to spend a ton of time talking about you. With that being said, John Sarbanes is running for District 3 and the Democrats can’t afford to lose a seat in either the House or Senate.
If your only LGBTQ issue is passing the Equality Act then you have some work to do, but again, Democrats can’t afford to lose a seat in either the House or Senate so voting for David Trone is advised.
Jamie Raskin is the only actual Progressive running for Congress in Montgomery County in 2020. He’s been a rockstar in the House and will continue putting in the work if re-elected.
Judge of the Circuit Court Circuit 6
You can vote for up to 4 judges for Circuit Court. Some of these judges are currently seated, but that doesn’t mean you should vote for them. You also don’t have to vote for 4. You can just vote for 1, which is what I’m doing.
I can’t support sitting judges that have contributed to this. That’s why the only candidate for Circuit Court I’m voting for, and one that MoCo Local is endorsing, is Marilynn Pierre.
Judge, Court of Appeals Circuit 7
The Court of Appeals is the highest court in the State of Maryland, aka the Supreme Court of Maryland. You don’t get to vote a judge onto the Court of Appeals, but you do get to decide whether they can keep their seat. If a majority of voters select “No” then a new judge is appointed by the Governor. I urge you to vote “Yes” for Mary Ellen Barbera because Hogan doesn’t need to leave any more of a stain on Maryland than he already has.
Judge, Court of Special Appeals At Large
The Court of Special Appeals is an intermediate appellate court. Similar to judges on the Court of Appeals, voters do not get to vote judges onto the court. They are initially appointed and then voters get to choose whether judges can remain on the court or not. If a majority of voters vote “No” on their ballots, the Governor can appoint a new judge. This is why I urge you to vote “Yes” for E. Gregory Wells.
Judge, Court of Special Appeals District 7
The Court of Special Appeals is an intermediate appellate court. Similar to judges on the Court of Appeals, voters do not get to vote judges onto the court. They are initially appointed and then voters get to choose whether judges can remain on the court or not. If a majority of voters vote “No” on their ballots, the Governor can appoint a new judge. This is why I urge you to vote “Yes” for Steven B. Gould.
Board of Education At Large
The June primary for the Board of Education At Large seat was divisive. Thankfully, pro-equity candidates moved onto the General election. There are a number of places where you can find out where both Sunil Dasgupta and Lynne Harris stand on issues that our school district is currently facing–the Equity Questionnaire is a great place to start if you want to ensure that all students receive an equitable education.
I like both Sunil and Lynne as candidates and I think both would do well in the role.
Board of Education District 2
Incumbent Rebecca Smondrowski is in favor of “local schools” which is not quite the racist dog whistle as “neighborhood schools” but…isn’t much better. She was the only candidate to not show up to the MoCo Local and the LGBTQ Democrats of Montgomery County Board of Education Forum. She also failed to respond to the Equity Questionnaire. She also voted against studying school boundaries.
Her opponent, Michael Fryar, is in favor of using data to redistrict school boundaries but believes it should be a last resort. He did complete the Equity Questionnaire.
I’ll be voting for Michael Fryar because I don’t think Rebecca Smondrowski is up to the challenge of creating an equitable education system for all students.
UPDATE: I wrote in Dalbin Osorio for District 2, who ran for the At-Large seat but didn’t receive enough votes to move to the general election.
Board of Education District 4
Incumbent Shebra Evans has done a good job of representing District 4 on the Board of Education so I urge you to re-elect her.
2020 Ballot Questions
On this year’s ballot we have two state questions and four county questions.
Maryland State Question 1
One of my biggest complaints with Maryland politics and governing is how much control the governor has over how the state can spend money. The legislative branch has almost no say in the budget, and ultimately that means residents have no say either, and it’s a shame. Question 1 is for a Constitutional Amendment that would change this, giving more power to the Maryland General Assembly to control the budget.
I’ll be voting in favor of the constitutional amendment.
Maryland State Question 2
The Maryland Constitution was amended in 2007 that would require a referendum on any changes to legal gambling in the state. Voting in favor of this question would give the Maryland General Assembly the ability to pass legislation legalizing sports betting.
I’ll be voting in favor of the constitutional amendment. If this passes, we would need to ensure that there is plenty of oversight in whatever legislation is passed, but that’s an issue for another time. Progressive organizations have mostly come out against this question, but as someone who grew up in a family with several members addicted to gambling I would much rather have legal gambling than illegal gambling.
Montgomery County Question A
Current law places a cap on how much total tax revenue the county can receive. This law would replace the tax revenue limit with a cap on the property tax rate. This means the county would be able to have more revenue to work with, ultimately providing an opportunity to fund more services. Any increases to the property tax rate would need to be approved by all of the Councilmembers.
MoCo Local recommends that you vote for Question A.
Montgomery County Question B
This Amendment would prohibit the county from increasing total revenue received by property taxes beyond the rate of inflation under any circumstances. This would severely limit the services that the County could fund, including education. If passed, this would benefit the county’s most wealthy which is probably why the petitioned for it in the first place.
MoCo Local recommends that you vote against Question B.
Montgomery County Question C
There is no doubt that the population of the county has grown in recent years and the current council structure could use some updating. Councilmember Evan Glass introduced Question C to increase the number of Councilmembers from 5 to 7, and would keep the 4 At-Large seats. This would ensure each council district would represent around 150,000 residents.
Question D, submitted by petition, would change the Council structure by removing all At-Large seats and creating 9 districts. Started by UpCounty residents, this structure would actually reduce representation. Adam Pagnucco at The Seventh State has written extensively about who funds Nine Districts and why Republicans are in support of this kind of structure.
MoCo Local recommends voting against Question D.
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Northern Montgomery County, also known as the UpCounty, has had far too little representation in local government for far too long. Despite comprising approximately one third of the county’s total population and outpacing the growth of the county as a whole, only two of the nine current members of the County Council reside north of Rockville and since 1990, not one at-large member has come from north of Gaithersburg.
Yet the overwhelming majority of population growth since I moved here as a toddler more than two decades ago has been in the UpCounty. The population of Germantown (my home town) alone has gone from approximately 66,000 when I arrived to nearly 100,000 today. This region is one of the most heavily working- and middle-class and most rapidly diversifying areas in the county. What’s more, we have a distinct regional culture rooted in our agricultural heritage and large migrant communities that influences our political perspectives in ways different from our down county counterparts.
The consequences of this underrepresentation are both numerous and obvious to those who live here. From events that have no attendees to residents who don’t know who to contact for help with the myriad of county services, the consequences of politicians who don’t regularly walk the streets they govern are clear.
That’s why this November, residents should vote FOR Ballot Question C and AGAINST Ballot Question D.
Ballot Question D was brought by petition to the council by some UpCounty residents to abolish the at-large seats on the County Council and replace them with four districts for a total of nine single-member districts. Ballot Question C, which would add two new districts while retaining the At-Large members, was introduced by Councilmember Evan Glass (D-At Large) to fulfill a campaign promise from 2018.
Though Question D is tempting a first glance and those who run their campaign suggest that it is the only proposal to truly address the problem of underrepresentation, the proposal is actually entirely counter-productive and would serve to reduce both individual and collective representation for the UpCounty.
Right now, every Montgomery Countian has five councilmembers that they can reach out to about policy proposals and local government services. You need help with your family’s food insecurity? You want to urge the council to increase pay for teachers? You want to voice a concern with a development project? If one doesn’t get back to you, another certainly will. Under a more parochial system, you would have only a single local legislator to approach with these kinds of issues. If they are unresponsive or disagree with your opinion, that’s it. You’re out of luck. Moreover, if you want to maximize the power of your ballot, it’s obvious that having a say on five out of nine (or eleven) of your elected officials is better than one out of nine (or eleven). It is for these reasons that at-large members are good for individual representation.
Ballot Question C captures the best of both worlds: We retain the at-large members while increasing the number of districts by two to increase representation for all.
But it’s just as important to recognize that replacing the current mixed composition of the council with exclusively single member districts also doesn’t necessarily help the collective representation of the UpCounty either. Ballot Question D is rooted in the premise that if there were nine districts instead of five, there would be more members from the UpCounty, but in fact there is no reason to believe that will be the case.
Currently the UpCounty sits within 3 districts, one of which spans the entire north-south span of the county (which is why its member lives down county). After the 2020 census, those districts will be redrawn to create five (or seven or nine, as it may be) new districts of approximately equal population size. Despite the UpCounty’s growth, it still does not constitute a majority of the county’s population – the down county is simply denser. As a result, there are no circumstances under which we would have the same number of Councilmembers as our southern counterparts. There is no telling where the additional two or four districts will go. They could all go down county or every district could be drawn to straddle the line so that members from those districts could live down county and represent small portions of the UpCounty.
That, of course, is a worst-case scenario. But it illustrates an important point: Anyone who promises that one part of the county or another will get additional seats from adding districts either completely misunderstands how the redistricting process works or is lying to you.
By retaining at large members, we retain the ability to increase the number of Councilmembers from our region beyond whatever the redistricting committee gives us in 2021.
So, why C?
Ballot Question C captures the best of both worlds: We retain the at-large members while increasing the number of districts by two to increase representation for all. The cost, another complaint frequently cited by the proponents of Ballot Question D, would constitute less than .01% of Montgomery County’s annual budget and is well worth the cost. Our county has grown by 50% since the last time the council increased its membership, and our government should reflect that. Expanding the council is, on principle, a good idea for our democracy.
But, let’s be real, Ballot Question C won’t solve our problems in the UpCounty, organizing will. That’s why I worked with a diverse array of local activists to revive the Germantown Democratic Club: To improve the connections between elected officials and the communities they represent, to turn out the vote near our homes, and to ensure that we have a platform to speak out on behalf of regional concerns. If you want more UpCounty representation, I invite you to join us.
But not only us: go to meetings of the UpCounty Citizens Advisory Board, your homeowners’ association, and planning board town halls in our area. Push for real solutions like expanding the council, exploring incorporation of large municipal areas, greater recruitment of UpCounty candidates, and better council outreach. Remember that democracy isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. Democracy is everything you and I do to build a better community for our kids and grandkids. Yes voting, but also protesting, calling your local and national representatives, unionizing your workplace, running for office, and testifying on issues you care about.
Ultimately, it’s up to all of us in the UpCounty to take our destiny into our own hands. Voting for Ballot Question D and replacing our highly representative mixture of at-large seats and single member districts with exclusively single member districts will not increase our representation on the Council, voting for Ballot Question C and becoming more involved will.
As someone who has lived in Germantown since he could walk, I want more representation for my home, that’s why I urge you to vote FOR Ballot Question C and AGAINST Ballot Question D. Thank you.
Andrew Saundry is a Germantown-based activist, organizer, actor, and teaching artist. He is President of the Germantown Democratic Club. You can find Andrew on Twitter @AndrewSaundry. The Germantown Democratic Club is also on Twitter @GermantownDems.
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