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MoCo Looking For New Ways To Increase Voting

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 9/25/2013, 2:10pm  ET

Bethesda-Chevy Chase polling place map, via Montgomery County Board of ElectionsThe Montgomery County Council is looking to fill a newly-created task force that come up with ways to improve access to voting.

Created under a voting rights resolution approved Tuesday, the Right to Vote Task Force will be charged with proposing plans for a voter registration program, promoting early voting and same-day registration and recommending changes in state and local ballot practices.

The Council will appoint up to 15 members for the task force, which will include a non-voting staff member from the County Board of Elections. No more than two-thirds of the members can be registered to the same political party and the chair and vice-chair must not be from the same party.

The County Board of Elections administers elections. The Council resolution says the county should improve on the 66 percent of registered voters who turned out for the 2012 presidential election and the 51 percent who turned out for the 2010 gubernatorial election.

The county got the go-ahead from this year’s Maryland General Assembly to expand its early voting program from five locations to eight and it will seek the option for a ninth. The expansion is due in large part to the success of early voting before the 2012 election.

The task force must issue an interim report by Feb. 28 and a final report with recommendations by May 31, 2014. The Task Force must also submit a report by Feb. 28, 2015 that evaluates how its recommendations worked during the 2014 general election.

People interested in serving on the committee should submit a letter of interest with a resume by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30 to Council President Nancy Navarro, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Md. 20850. Letters also can be sent by email to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov