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10 December 2018

Ordinance Adopting Amendments to the Washington Grove Code of Ordinances Article X Election Procedures for Absentee Balloting, Provisional Balloting, Resolution of Tie Votes, and a Bar to Political Activities

Mayor Compton called the public hearing to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson (via phone), Charlie Challstrom, Robert Gilmore, Marida Hines, Patty Klein, and Audrey Maskery. Also in attendance were Historic Preservation Commission Chair Bob Booher, Treasurer Mary Challstrom, and Town residents Margo Cavenagh, Joe Clark, Georgette Cole, Christine Dibble, Marc Hansen, Robyn Renas, Nick Suzich and Mary Warfield. Also present was PEPCO Sr. External Affairs Specialist Tony Ruffin.

Mayor Compton asked for public comment. As Council Liaison to the Board of Elections Supervisors, Charlie Challstrom explained reasons for the proposed changes. The primary reason is to get the Town in compliance with new State laws and to be consistent. Marc Hansen distributed his two page testimony, and stated his two (2) concerns: absentee voting in connection with Town Meeting and the bar to political actions for members of the Board of Elections Supervisors. He indicated the scope and breadth of the proposed ordinance seems too narrow and urged the Mayor and Town Council to create a Charter Review Commission to evaluate the use of absentee ballots at the Town Meeting. For his second issue he said the bar to political activities seems to go against First Amendment rights. The following items were discussed:

  • Provisional ballots
  • Emergency ballots
  • Absentee ballots
  • No excuse clause/no excuse balloting procedures
  • Voter registration lists with incorrect or missing information
  • Having a separate discussion about the power of the Charter
  • Privacy of ballots
  • Unforeseen circumstances

Mayor Compton asked for additional comments. There were none. The Public Hearing closed at 8:00 PM.

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