Town Elections

According to Maryland State Law Municipalities have a lot of flexibility with how they can hold their own elections.  During the Summer 2018 Maryland Municipal League Conference we heard from two cities about their efforts to increase participation in local elections. 

Rockville recently adopted a Vote By Mail policy. They will mail ballots with prepaid return envelopes to each registered voter and will accept the return envelopes through the mail, dropped off at a secure voting location or will allow some voters to vote on election day.  Their intention with this program is to make it easier for voters to cast their ballots.

Takoma Park has changed their voter eligibility to allow both 16 year olds and non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Since local issues impact all residents day to day lives, Takoma Park wanted to acknowledge this by allowing for non-citizens to have a say in what happens in their town.  One of the benefits of lowering the voting age is that people who begin voting in high school actually vote at higher rates throughout their lives.  Additionally, Takoma Park's records show that 16-18 year olds vote at twice the rate of the over 18 population.
 
Vote By Mail: One thing that came up during the last election was that we need to clarify our vote by mail (absentee voting) policy.  Finally, the county and other municipalities allow for the entire vote by mail application process to be done online. Currently, in order to get an application a voter needs to either mail in a ballot request form or walk one in to town hall during open hours. 

Other Issues: Another item that came up is that Towns should have a provision for a tie vote and for poll watchers (individuals that are volunteering for campaigns to view the voting process). 

I am really excited about finding ways to make it easier for all Cheverlarians to vote in Municipal Elections.  I would love to hear about which of These options seem really interesting and I'd love to know what you think about possibly changing Cheverly Municipal Elections to make it easier to vote and allow for more people to vote!  

In August the Town Council will be starting the discussion on our election laws in anticipation of the 2019 Town Elections and I would really like to hear any feedback you all have on the current process and any changes you may like to see us examine.