If both ballot questions concerning changes to the size of the county council should fail, the existing structure of five councilmembers representing a specific district and four others holding at-large seats will remain. If both pass, the status quo also would remain and the make up of the council would not change, explained Christine Wellons, the council’s legislative attorney.
If Question C receives support from a majority of voters, the size of the county council would increase from the current nine to 11. Seven councilmembers would represent specific districts and the other four would hold at-large seats. By upping the number of districts, salaries and staff for two additional council offices would increase.
Should Question D gain a majority of support, the county would be divided into nine districts, instead of the current five, and one councilmember would represent each of the nine districts. There would no longer be any at-large councilmembers who represent the entire district. Some of the support for Question D comes from those who believe that parts of the county are underrepresented, including Damascus and Poolesville, while other sections, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Bethesda, are overrepresented.
Any changes to the makeup of the county council will go into effect for the 2022 council election.
Even before the votes are counted on these ballot questions, the council is seeking residents to sit on an 11-member Commission on Redistricting. The deadline to apply is Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. The positions are expected to be filled by Feb. 1.
The commission members are to include at least one, but no more than four, from each political party which polled at least 15 percent of the total votes for council in the most recent election, according to a news release from the county council. In the 2018 general election only two parties met that bar, the Democratic and Republican parties.
Also, at least one member of the commission must live in each council district. No one who holds an elected office is eligible to sit on the commission.
Once the commission is operating, it has until Nov. 15, 2021 to present its plan to the council. The council then will hold a public hearing and it would most likely become law within 90 days.
Those wishing to join the commission should send a letter and a resume by email to County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or directly to the Office of the Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, 4th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850