Elections & Voter Registration General Information

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Municipal Elections in Takoma Park

Takoma Park elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in every odd numbered year to elect a Mayor and all six City Councilmembers. The regular term of the Councilmembers and the Mayor is two years or until their successors have been elected and duly sworn. Newly elected Councilmembers and the Mayor take office on the second Monday following their election. City elections are non-partisan and no party labels are displayed on the ballot.

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Voter Registration Information

To vote in a city election, a resident must have resided within the corporate limits of the City of Takoma Park for 21 days immediately preceding the election.

NOTE: The voter rolls at the Montgomery County Board of Elections close on the 21st day prior to an election. For Takoma Park elections, residents my continue to register at the City Clerk's Office up to and including the day of the election.

Voter Qualifications for Takoma Park Elections

Most residents are able to register using the Maryland Voter Registration Application, which will also register you to vote in state and national elections. Generally, you may register using the Maryland Voter Registration Application as long as you meet all of these conditions: 

  • You are a U.S. citizen;
  • You are at least age 16;
  • You do not claim the right to vote elsewhere; and 
  • You are not incarcerated or under supervision due to a felony conviction.

Voter registration forms are available in the Takoma Park Community Center and the Takoma Park Maryland Library.

In 2013, the Takoma Park City Council amended the City Charter to update Takoma Park’s voting and election laws. The amendment expanded the right to vote in City elections to 16 and 17 year old residents and to residents who have been convicted of a felony but have completed serving any court-ordered sentence of imprisonment for the conviction.

Residents of Takoma Park who are not United States citizens have been eligible to register and vote in City elections since 1993.

You may register and vote in City of Takoma Park elections if:

  • You are resident of the City of Takoma Park;
  • You are at least 14 years old (you may vote in Takoma Park elections when you are 16);
  • You do not claim the right to vote elsewhere in the United States;
  • You are not be under guardianship for mental disability or if you are, you have not been found by a court to be unable to communicate a desire to vote;
  • You have not have not been convicted of buying or selling votes;
  • You have not been convicted of a felony or, if you have, you have completed serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment (you may register if you are serving a term of parole or probation for the conviction).

However, you are not eligible to register to vote if:

  • You have been convicted of a felony and are actually serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment for the conviction.
  • You are under guardianship for mental disability and a court of competent jurisdiction has specifically found by clear and convincing evidence that the individual cannot communicate, with or without accommodations, a desire to participate in the voting process.
  • You have been convicted of buying or selling votes.

City residents eligible to vote in Takoma Park elections but not eligible to register with the State of Maryland may use the City of Takoma Park Voter Registration Application. Typically, this includes residents who are not United States citizens or who are under supervision or on parole due to a felony conviction. Residents who are not yet 16 but wish to prepare for voting in Takoma Park elections may register using the City form once they are 14 years of age.

NOTE: If you register to vote using the Takoma Park Voter Registration Application, you may vote in City of Takoma Park elections only. You may not vote in school board, county, state or national elections.

Voting

Takoma Park encourages all eligible residents to register and vote. For City elections, several options are available for voting.

  • Election Day Voting. The polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on election day.
  • Early Voting. Days and hours for early voting will be published in advance of an election.   
  • Voting by Mail (or absentee voting). Any registered Takoma Park voter may apply to vote by absentee ballot. Absentee voting may be completed by mail or in person at the City Clerk’s Office. Instructions and deadlines for absentee voting will be published in advance of an election. To be counted, an absentee ballot must be received by the City Clerk before the closing of the polls on Election Day.

Information for Candidates in City Elections

Candidates for the office of Mayor or Councilmember who wish to have their names placed on the ballot in a City election must receive a nomination and a second at the Nominating Caucus held on the Tuesday evening five weeks prior to the election.

Mayor

Candidates for the office of Mayor must have resided in the City for at least six months immediately preceding his/her election, must be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election, and must be a qualified voter of the City. The Mayor must maintain principal residence in the City during his/her term of office. If the Mayor changes his/her principal residence from the City, the Mayor’s term shall be immediately terminated and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in Section 308 of the City Charter. The Mayor is prohibited from holding other publicly elected offices during his/her term of office, and is prohibited from serving on any City board, commission, or other body that has authority to adjudicate or otherwise resolve disputes.

Councilmember

Candidates for the office of Councilmember must have resided in the City (and ward from which they are elected) for at least six months immediately preceding their election,  must be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election, and must be qualified voters of the City. The Councilmembers must maintain their principal residence in the City and in their ward during their term of office. If a Councilmember changes his/her principal residence from the City or from the ward from which the Councilmember was elected, the Councilmember’s term shall be immediately terminated and the vacancy shall be filled as provided in Section 308 of the City Charter. The Councilmembers are prohibited from holding other publicly elected offices during their term of office, and are prohibited from serving on any City board, commission, or other body that has authority to adjudicate or otherwise resolve disputes.

Write-In Candidates in the Election

A write-in candidate for the office of Mayor or Councilmember may pre-register as a write-in candidate and to have her/his name posted in the voting booth for the purpose of identifying her/him as a candidate for office. A write-in candidate who wish to pre-register must file her/his name with the City Clerk no later than 5:00 pm on the Friday prior to the election.

Any person nominated or presenting herself/himself as a write-in candidate must meet the qualifications of the office for which s/he is nominated. A person whose name appears on the ballot may not register as a write-in candidate, and a person may only register as a write-in candidate for one office in any election.

Election Wards

The City is divided into six wards for purposes of City elections.

Special Information About Voting in Takoma Park Elections: Instant Runoff Voting

View an instructional video about instant runoff voting in Takoma Park:

The City Council amended the City Charter in 2006 to adopt an instant runoff voting system for elections. Voters will have the opportunity to rank candidates by order of choice. The candidate receiving a majority of votes for Mayor shall be declared elected. The candidate for Council receiving a majority of votes in each ward shall be declared elected.

The first choice marked on each ballot shall be counted initially as one vote. If any candidate receives a majority of the first choices, that candidate shall be declared elected.

If no candidate receives a majority of first choices, the judges of election shall conduct an instant runoff consisting of additional rounds of ballot counting. In every round of counting, each ballot is counted as one vote for that ballot’s highest ranked advancing candidate. “Advancing candidate” means a candidate for that office who has not been eliminated. A candidate receiving a majority of valid votes in a round shall be declared elected.

Voting by Mail (Absentee Voting)

Any registered Takoma Park voter may apply to vote by mail in City elections. An Absentee Ballot Application may be submitted to the City Clerk's Office by mail, fax, or in person. Instructions and deadlines for absentee voting will be published in advance of an election. To be counted, an absentee ballot must be received by the City Clerk before the closing of the polls on election day.

Election Results History