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Proposed Election Date Change

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Public Comment Form

Project Status (April 21, 2017)

A second public hearing on the Charter Amendment has been scheduled because of an error in the April 5 posting.

Public Hearing on Proposed Charter Amendment “Nominations and Elections”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
7:30 PM
Community Center Auditorium

See the full notice below.

First reading of the Charter Amendment Resolution is also scheduled for April 26.

View the agenda item and full text of the proposed amendment.

Project Status (March 18, 2017)

Public Hearing on Proposed Charter Amendment “Nominations and Elections”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
7:30 PM
Community Center Auditorium

Pursuant to Section 502(c) of the Takoma Park Charter, the Council of the City of Takoma Park will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Charter titled “Nominations and Elections.”

As proposed, the amendment would (1) change the date of City Elections from odd numbered years to even numbered years; (2) set the term for the Mayor and City Council elected in 2017 to one year; (3) change the date of the nominating meeting to the second Tuesday after Labor Day in an election year; (4) extend the time for the Board of Elections to certify election results; and (5) change the day on which the newly elected Mayor and Councilmembers take office.

The hearing will take place in the Auditorium, Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912, on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at 7:30 PM.

All interested persons should attend the public hearing and sign up to speak. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912; or clerk@takomaparkmd.gov. Read the full text of the proposed amendment.

Attest: Jessie Carpenter, CMC
City Clerk

Read the Proposed Charter Amendment Text

Project Status (February 13, 2017)

At its meeting on January 19, 2017, the Montgomery County Board of Elections expressed support for allowing Takoma Park to share space at the four (or five) Takoma Park precincts on the day of the general election in 2018. A memorandum of understanding between the City, County Board of Elections, and the State Board of Elections will be drafted.

March 1 Public Hearing on Election Date change: On March 1, the City Council will hold a public hearing to receive comments about changing the date of City elections with shared use of polling places beginning in 2018. Although there have been other opportunities to comment, this hearing will enable residents to comment on the date change with full understanding of how the election will be conducted. Additional information will be posted shortly.

Public Hearing Announcement (English)

Anuncio de Audiencia Pública (Spanish)

Annonce D’audience Publique (French)

የሕዝብ ችሎት ማስታወቂያ (Amharic)

Board of Elections Report to the City Council (January 25, 2017)

Update to the City Council – Sharing Polling Places with Montgomery County (How it would work.)

Project Status (September 21, 2016)

The City presented its request to the Montgomery County Board of Elections at the meeting of September 19, 2016. The request was well received with the understanding that it would be revenue neutral for Montgomery County and that the two elections would be completely separate at each of the precincts. The request will be placed on the Montgomery County Board of Elections agenda for January 2017.

Project Status as of September 16, 2016

The City Manager submitted a letter to the Montgomery County Board of Elections requesting shared use of the Takoma Park polling sites on November 6, 2018.

Upcoming dates of interest:

  • Monday, September 12 – Special Work Session and Conversation on the Proposed Election Date Change
  • Wednesday, September 14 – Follow Up Discussion at the City Council Meeting
  • Wednesday, September 21 – Vote on Resolution to Proceed with Changing the Date of City Elections

Early this year, City Staff and the City Board of Elections (BOE) consulted with the Maryland State and Montgomery County Boards to review options for inclusion of Takoma Park election contests and questions on the State general election ballot in 2018. After a review of City election requirements, the State Board of Elections indicated that it could not accommodate the City request for 2018.

As an alternative, the City’s BOE has been examining the possibility of having an election concurrent with the general election in 2018. In this scenario, voters would report to their usual precinct on Election Day. At the polling place, a voter would check in with Montgomery County election officials, receive, mark, and cast a ballot as usual. At that same location, voters would check in separately with City election officials to receive a Takoma Park ballot to mark and cast.

There are many details to consider before the City Council makes its decision to amend the City Charter to change the election date, including how early voting and absentee voting would be accommodated. The Council will hold a special work session on September 12 to hear from the City Board of Elections, take questions and comments from residents, and then discuss whether or not to move forward.

Project Status as of May 1, 2016

To request the State Board of Elections (SBE) to include Takoma Park elections on the ballot for the 2018 election, the City must file a request by August 27, 2016 (the date that is 18 months before the deadline for filing a certificate of candidacy for the primary election). If the City files a request, SBE will have 30 days to consult with the Montgomery County Board of Elections and provide a decision on Takoma Park’s request.

An amendment to the City Charter changing the date of City elections and meeting certain other requirements must be adopted by June 22, 2016,  if the Council wishes to request to be on the ballot for 2018.

There are many questions to be answered, including whether the criteria listed in the advisory question can be met, before the Council makes its final decision.  In the meantime, there are other options to explore.

Project Lead & Contact Info

Jessie Carpenter
City Clerk
Phone: 301-891-7267
Email: JessieC@takomaparkmd.gov

 

Election Synchronization Details

Project Info & Timeline

  • Target completion date:  November 2018
  • Takoma Park’s role in project:  Lead
  • Departments involved: City Clerk’s Office and City Attorney

Budget & Funding Source

Budget: staff time and legal fees

Funding Sources: General Fund

About Election Synchronization

City of Takoma Park elections take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in each odd-numbered year. Off-year elections often have low voter turnout.  In Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the Town of Ocean City, and the City of Cumberland have changed their election date to coincide with State and Federal elections.

The City Council placed an advisory question on the ballot for the November 2015 City Election to assess voters’ support for changing the date of Takoma Park elections to coincide with State and Federal elections. The advisory question read:

Beginning with the election in November 2018, and providing that voting rights can be maintained for City residents who are (1) 16-17 years old, (2) non-citizens, or (3) on parole or probation for a felony conviction, and that instant runoff voting and same day voter registration can be maintained, the City of Takoma Park municipal elections for Mayor and Councilmembers should be changed to the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year in order to coincide with Maryland statewide general elections.

Seventy-six percent of voters supported the change of date.

[Number (3) on the list in the advisory question is no longer a concern. The Maryland General Assembly has since restored voting rights to felons once they are no longer imprisoned.]

Maryland Senate Bill 438, Municipal Elections – Inclusion of Offices and Questions on the State Ballot, set forth a process for municipalities to make a request to the Maryland State Board of Elections to be included on the State ballot.

Links & Notes

Resolution 2016-36 affirming the Council’s intention to change the date of City elections if it is feasible and in the best interest of the residents

City Charter

City Code provisions related to elections

Resolution 2015-54 Placing an Advisory Question on the Ballot

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