Monday, September 28, 2015

Advisory Board dismayed by early voting site recommendation

The following is text of a September 25, 2015 letter from the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board regarding the County Board of Elections recommendations on early voting locations for the 2016 election.  The Citizens Advisory Board advises the County Executive and County Council on local service and policy needs.


Dear Council Executive Leggett and Council President Leventhal,

As you know, the Montgomery County Board of Elections recently recommended to the Maryland Board of Elections nine locations as early voting sites for the 2016 elections. We are dismayed to learn that the County Board of Elections is recommending to discontinue use of the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center - which previously served our community as an early voting site. We believe that the Jane Lawton Center should remain an early voting site through the 2016 election cycle for the following reasons:

  • The neighborhoods in the vicinity of the Lawton Center are home to a significant population of senior citizens. Nearly 20% of the 70,000 residents of the Bethesda and Chevy Chase Census Data Places are over the age of 65. The Lawton Center offers these residents a safe and convenient option rather than waiting in long lines on Election Day;
  • Discontinuing the Lawton Center leaves no early voting locations in Bethesda/Chevy Chase – a dense employment and population center that is well served by public transportation;
  • Election Day lines could increase in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area because fewer voters will vote early without a convenient, local early voting site;
  • This being now the fourth election cycle with early voting - unless there is a necessary and compelling reason to change a location - retaining the same locations election after election creates a consistency that will translate into more voters utilizing these sites.

We ask that you communicate with the members of the Maryland Board of Elections and request that they maintain the Lawton Center as an early voting location. Please also communicate with Governor Hogan about this issue and the need for the Maryland Board of Elections to maintain the Lawton Center as an early voting location. As always, we are grateful for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

Tara Flynn, Chair
Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board