Monday, October 19, 2015

MoCo Republicans Retreat on Voter Suppression Strategy // Board of Elections Chair Will Reinstate Two Early Vote Locations

Maryland Juice previously wrote about a Republican voter suppression strategy in Montgomery County. The new GOP majority on the county Board of Elections (MCBOE) attempted to eliminate two high-performing early vote locations in MoCo and replace them with locations in less densely populated neighborhoods that are (coincidentally) closer to Republicans. But last Thursday, the state Board of Elections (SBOE) rejected the MoCo Republican plan and directed the MCBOE to come up with a new proposal.

Today Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal reported on Facebook that MoCo's Republican Board of Elections chair is retreating on his voter suppression plan:
GEORGE LEVENTHAL: County Board of Elections Chair Jim Shalleck called to say the Board will restore both disputed early voting sites (Praisner & Lawton). Mr. Shalleck also said the Board would ask the state for a 10th early voting site in Potomac.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee also sent out the following press release:
Legislature Will Propose Adding One More Center

The Montgomery County Board of Elections (BOE) voted to reinstate 8 of the original early voting centers from the 2014 election and the Wheaton Firehouse to replace the Wheaton Community Center, which is undergoing rennovation. This includes the Praisner and Lawton centers advocated by the MCDCC, County Council, and State Legislators, as well as numerous community members and non-partisan community groups. The decision means that they will submit the 9 centers to the State BOE for approval at their special meeting on Friday October 23.
A critical part of this decision is that the MCDCC and State Delegation made a commitment to submit legislation at the beginning of the Legislative Session in January to add a 10th early voting center in Montgomery County for the 2016 election. The County Council also made a commitment to establish a 10th early voting center.
Although the decision by the Board today will not be final until it is approved by the State BOE, voters in Montgomery County should be pleased with the outcome.
We will be in touch after the State BOE meeting on Friday to report on the final decision.
Darrell Anderson

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