Reopening schools is my priority
October 12, 2020
I want you to know that, while I strongly support the decision not to open MCPS this Fall, getting our children back into their classrooms is an urgent priority for me.
Research is showing very troubling signs about learning loss during COVID. We may spend years recovering. Opportunity gaps are intensifying and the most vulnerable children are paying the biggest price.
That’s why I voted against the Executive Branch’s recent decision to allow restaurants to serve alcohol to patrons indoors after 10pm, hours that are generally more for socializing than eating.
While the proposal did have some safeguards, I remain concerned that allowing indoor late night socializing can only result in more COVID cases and make it harder to reopen schools.
This may seem somewhat dissonant since I am also the Councilmember who launched the Nighttime Economy Task Force in 2013 to modernize our alcohol laws, leading to easier restaurant operations and an entire new local brewery, winery and distillery industry.
But I am also a parent of two MCPS students, a resident of this community, and I am concerned that bar or restaurant patrons gathering indoors, without masks, drinking late in the evening will be more likely to spread the virus.
The hardest part of this moment is that there are no easy answers – we cannot just will the virus away – and our restaurant industry is suffering tremendously right now.
But if late night socializing causes more viral spread, it will be harder and less safe for our teachers and families to reopen schools. That’s why I voted no.
Your feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
MY RECOMMENDATIONS ON COUNTY BALLOT AMENDMENTS
Vote YES on Question A
Replaces current Ficker property tax limitation with a more moderate limitation — requires unanimous vote to raise the property tax rate.
Vote NO on Question B
An even more extreme Ficker property tax limitation prohibiting increases for County services like police, fire, and libraries; threatens AAA rating.
Vote YES on Question C
Adds 2 district council members to make an 11 member Council, reducing size of council districts to improve constituent service.
Vote NO on Question D
Abolishes at-large council seats, reducing council members you vote for from 5 to 1, reducing your representation and eliminating county-wide voices on Council.
Election Day is just around the corner. Now is the time to make a voting plan. While COVID will have many impacts on the process, you can take steps now to make voting easy and stress free.
My strong recommendation is to request a ballot in the mail — and then mail it in early.
early = easy
You should have already received a mail-in ballot application. Don’t wait to send it in.
If you didn’t receive one it’s time to take action. Look up your voter registration in just seconds here. If you aren’t registered to vote, register here. The deadline to register to vote or change registration is October 13 (unless you register in person during early vote or on election day).
Step 1: Request your ballot
If you are registered at your current address, you should have received a piece of mail from the state Board of Elections with an application to request a ballot by mail.
If you plan to vote by mail, fill out this form ASAP and return it according to the instructions. The deadline for requesting a mail-in ballot is October 20.
Rather than sending the paper form, you can also request your ballot online. Simply fill out the online form, and the State will process your request and send you a ballot. You can track the status of your request via the state’s voter lookup tool.
(Just please do not request email delivery of your ballot unless you really need it that way, as the procedure to count those ballots is more laborious and adds to the strain on the system.)
If you had already requested a ballot online you can ignore the paper application you recently received. But before doing that you should use the online lookup tool to make sure the state is processing your request. The lookup tool is very easy to use and only takes seconds to verify your ballot request.
To ease concerns about the postal service, please do anything requiring mail delivery early. Please don’t wait for the last minute to mail anything. You have easy alternatives. If we ALL act early, the system will work much better.
Step 2: Return your ballot
Mail-in ballots will start hitting mailboxes at the end of September.
With your completed ballot, you can either
a) return your ballot by mail
The ballot must be postmarked by November 3 to be counted, but local elections officials strongly urge you to mail your ballot by October 28. Ballots placed in the mail on November 2 or 3 run some risk of not being actually postmarked by November 3 and thus rejected.
b) use a voting drop box.
There will be secured and monitored voting drop boxes at the early voting and election day voting centers + more locations. See the full list and when they will be installed here. Ballots deposited at voting drop boxes will be accepted until 8pm, November 3.
Due to the pandemic, the Board of Elections has consolidated the County’s precincts. You will almost certainly not have your usual precinct voting location. Compared to the last election, there will be fewer, but larger, voting centers. You can vote at any of these voting centers in Early Voting or on Election Day. However, there could be very long lines due to distancing requirements.
All of the voting centers will have secure voting drop boxes, if you received a ballot in the mail and would rather drop it off in person.
Early Voting Centers
- Activity Center at Bohrer Park
- Damascus Community Recreation Center
- Executive Office Building
- Germantown Community Recreation Center
- Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center
- Marilyn Praisner Community Recreation Center
- Mid-County Community Recreation Center
- Potomac Community Recreation Center
- Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department (The Ballroom)
- Silver Spring Civic Building
- Wheaton Library & Community Recreation Center
Election Day Voting Centers
- Albert Einstein High School
- Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
- Clarksburg High School
- Colonel Zadok Magruder High School
- Damascus High School
- Gaithersburg High School
- James Hubert Blake High School
- John F. Kennedy High School
- Montgomery Blair High School
- Montgomery County Conference Center at No. Bethesda Marriott
- Nancy H. Dacek North Potomac Community Recreation Center
- Northwest High School
- Northwood High School
- Paint Branch High School
- Poolesville High School
- Quince Orchard High School
- Richard Montgomery High School
- Rockville High School
- Seneca Valley High School
- Sherwood High School
- Springbrook High School
- Thomas S. Wootton High School
- Walt Whitman High School
- Walter Johnson High School
- Watkins Mill High School
- Wheaton High School
- White Oak Community Recreation Center
- Winston Churchill High School
End of September: Mail-in ballots begin arriving in the mail
October 13: Deadline to register to vote
October 20: Deadline for mail-in ballot request to be received by State
October 26 to November 2: Early voting
October 28: Recommended latest date for mailing ballots
November 3: Election Day and postmark deadline for mail-in ballot