Council Members Reveal Petition Opposing New Early Voting Sites
Montgomery County Council Members Tom Hucker and Roger Berliner revealed a 2,500 signature petition against moving early voting sites at a jointly held press conference today. Both Hucker and Berliner were joined by fellow council members, community, and faith leaders.
The petition urges the State Board of Elections to reject the County Board of Election’s decision to remove early voting sites in Bethesda and the East County and move them to Potomac and Brookeville. Councilmember Hucker, who’s constituents are most impacted if this motion goes through said he is “outraged” by the Board of Election’s decision.
It should be noted that yesterday, Montgomery County Board of Elections President, James Shalleck, said that he’d like to reach a “compromise,” by only changing one early voting site, Jennifer E. Lawton Community Center (Chevy Chase) and retaining the other, Marilyn J. Praisner Community Center (Burtonsville). However, for those attending today’s press conference, there is not room for compromise.
Councilmember Hucker responded to Shalleck’s call for compromise:
“Let me say this to Mr. Shalleck, you do not talk about compromises when you’re talking about voting rights. We don’t condone blatant voter suppression and whether it’s done in my district in Burtonsville or in another district in Bethesda, I refuse to be picking winners and losers between voters from different parts of the county. From what Mr. Shalleck is saying it seems that he misunderstands his role…It’s not up to the board to cook-up additional criteria like geographic diversity and it’s not their role now to negotiate with us now with partisan intent, which sites stay open and which ones close.”
Councilmember Berliner echoed similar sentiments:
“We cannot be indifferent if we’re picking sites where there are fewer voters, voting. So, I have a compromise for Mr. Shalleck, if you want voting in these other two sites, support state law which expands the number of early voting sites. That’s how we can compromise on this issue. Let’s have more early voting sites for more people, not fewer people. “
Council President, George Leventhal was also in attendance and also stressed that, “square miles don’t vote,” people do.
Shalleck has scheduled a special meeting tomorrow Wednesday, October 14 at 5 p.m. at the county election office in Gaithersburg to propose that the Praisner center remain open as an early voting spot. The voting sites are set to be finalized by Thursday, October 15.
Watch the full press conference here.