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This blog will serve as a commentary that explores issues related to the intersection of American politics, race, and gender. Its focus is on the leadership of diverse women who served or currently serve in a role that contributes to shaping the outcome of political campaigns or civic engagement/voting efforts.... Read more

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Five Facts to Know Before You Register to Vote in Montgomery County

County residents still have time to sign up to vote between now and June 5, 2018. Here are some key facts to know before registering to vote in Montgomery County for the very first time.

  1. Did You Know…Voters must have a political party affiliation to vote in the Primary Election?
    Be prepared to state your political party affiliation on the voter registration form.  By law, Maryland has a “Closed Primary,” which means voters must be affiliated with a major political party. This means that when they receive their ballot, voters will only see candidates aligned to the party they have registered under and cannot vote for candidates of the opposing parties. More information is available from the Maryland Board of Elections about registering with a political party.
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  3. Did You Know…Voters can switch parties after the Primary Election?
    There is no law that prohibits voters from switching parties after the primary election. Voters have the ability to update their voter registration information, including party affiliation, prior to the General Election. Unlike the Primary, the General Election is open, which means if you change your political party, you can vote for a candidate on the ballot that won in the primary, regardless of his/her political party. Voters who wish to change their party affiliation must fill out a new voter registration form. Voters can also make any changes by writing to the elections office at:  Montgomery County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 4333, Rockville, MD 20849-4333
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  5. Did You Know…Voter registration is available in both English and other languages?
    Montgomery County makes it easy for residents to register if they speak a language other than English. Spanish language registration forms are available here.  However, the Montgomery County Board of Elections provides voter registration services in other languages. To find out more information about County voter registration in other languages, please contact contact Dr. Gilberto Zelaya, 240-777-8532 or email:  gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov
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  7. Did You Know…Voters do not have to show up in person to cast their ballot on election day?
    Registered voters have the option to submit an absentee ballot by mail. This makes it easier if you are out of town, can’t leave the office, or have a commitment that prevents you from casting your vote, which is always on a Tuesday. You are not required to show up to the voting polls on election day. MoCo Voters makes it easy for new voters to learn how to vote by mail in 2018.
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  9. Did You Know… Public finance laws in Montgomery County may influence voter turnout in 2018?
    In September 2014, the Montgomery County Council passed a bill that established a Public Election Fund to provide public campaign financing for County Executive and County Council candidates. One of the goals for publicly financing candidates was to encourage voter participation in County elections. Currently election laws prohibit publicly financed candidates from receiving money from political action groups, businesses, and special interest organizations – which is more reason to register to vote this year. Click here for guides on how public financing works in the County.

See something missing on this list about voter registration? Let us know via Twitter @politicswithin!

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Tonia Bui

About Tonia Bui

Tonia Bui is an advocate for underrepresented communities through media relations, strategic communications, and constituent outreach. Most recently, she served as the campaign treasurer for the Hoan Dang for County Council campaign in Montgomery County. Tonia previously served as the Communications Director for the Nguyen for Delegate Campaign (VA-67) in 2013 and led the Asian American voter outreach efforts for the Darcy Burner for Congress Campaign (WA-08) in 2008. Her efforts to build stakeholder engagement stems from her experiences serving as the Member Outreach Assistant to Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34). She also previously worked for U.S. Senator Barack Obama (IL-13) and California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (CA-12). Her work has been published by the Harvard Asian American Policy Review and cited by scholars of the political science textbook, Campaigns on the Cutting Edge. Tonia holds a Master in Public Policy from American University and a B.A. in Mass Communications and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Read more of Tonia's blog Politics Within Politics.

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