Showing posts with label Election 2020. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Election 2020. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

2020 Montgomery County election results show local political machine in full control

Montgomery County Election Results 2020

100% of Election Day-cast voting results were released by the Montgomery County Board of Elections as of 1:53 AM this morning, as well as some early voting tabulations. Analysis of the results follows below. No election-related unrest has impacted Montgomery County so far, as both Joe Biden and Donald Trump retained pathways to victory in the presidential race overnight, with Biden winning Maryland and holding the lead in electoral votes nationally as of this hour. 

Amazon Books boarded up
at Bethesda Row on election night

Amazon Books boarded up its windows at Bethesda Row Tuesday, and additional Friendship Heights businesses did the same. The 24-hour CVS Pharmacy at 7809 Wisconsin Avenue simply closed without explanation or boards. While police maintained a heavy presence around those key retail hubs, no additional businesses have followed in boarding up their windows.

CVS Pharmacy unexpectedly closes
election night in downtown Bethesda

Election results analysis

Montgomery County 2020 election results so far show the county's political machine in full control, with a majority of voters rejecting citizen-petitioned ballot questions, and endorsing a County Council ballot question that would allow their taxes to be raised higher than ever. It's unclear if voters knew approving Question A would end up giving them more and larger tax hikes, as the text of the question falsely made it appear to be a limit on taxation. But voters rejected Question B that would have actually placed a new limit on tax increases, despite having supported Robin Ficker's other tax cap ballot questions in the past.

Boarded-up businesses in
Friendship Heights

Also failing so far on the ballot is Question D, which would have eliminated the At-Large seats on the County Council, and realigned the body's structure into nine more-compact districts. Voters approved a competing measure by the County Council, Question C, which will keep the Council as-is, while adding two new district seats. 

Friendship Heights

It's unclear how Question C's approval will actually change the dynamics of leadership and representation for three reasons: First, by only adding two new districts instead of four, all seven districts will be larger than nine smaller ones. Second, the At-Large seats remain to counterbalance parochial interests, while likely remaining in the same geographical area downcounty, retaining a solid control over policy by downcounty politicians and their financial backers. Finally, the Council could choose to ignore the vote, and keep the status quo as it did when it overturned the will of the voters on the Ambulance Fee a decade ago.

Police cruiser parked inside the
Maryland-D.C. border in Chevy Chase

What is clear is that the Washington Post editorial board continues to hold increasingly-outsize sway over regional voting decisions. The Post has scored win after win in recent years, after a period when Montgomery County voters for a time exercised more independence in their decisions. Results so far show a majority of voters precisely following the advice of the Post and the County Democratic Party sample ballot in 2020.

Jeff Bezos taking no chances

The lone resistance to the Post's marching orders came in the District 2 Board of Education race, where results so far show voters returning Rebecca Smondrowski to her seat by a twenty-point margin. Smondrowski is the only candidate to survive the primary and general election this year while not wholeheartedly endorsing a controversial push to redistrict school boundaries. Post endorsees Lynne Harris (BOE At-Large) and Shebra Evans (BOE District 4) are coasting to victory at the moment.

With the Post's increasingly-heavy thumb on the voting scales in Montgomery County, change in a declining and stagnant county remains unlikely. There is a clear partnership between the paper and the Montgomery County cartel on dystopian talking points and objectives: dismantling existing single-family-home neighborhoods, reducing the quality of all schools rather than fixing the failing ones, squashing any effort to elect independent community-focused officials (even if they are Democrats), maintaining developer dominance of County politics and land-use decisions, and an Ahab-like quest to boot Marc Elrich from office in 2022.

The Post dedicated several pages to high-quality coverage of the D.C. City Council races this year. It glaringly did not in the 2018 Montgomery County Council races, a clear indication of its role in stifling any voices of dissent or change in Montgomery County.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Rockville voters head to polls as early voting begins in Maryland

Montgomery County voters who want to vote in person, but cast their ballots before Election Day, are heading to early voting centers like this one in Rockville starting today. Early voting here in Maryland runs through Monday, November 2, 2020, from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.
Executive Office Building early voting
site in Rockville

You can see the early voting locations and the current wait time at each on the Board of Elections website. Around noon today, the current wait time at the Executive Office Building voting site in Rockville was the longest at a whopping 90 minutes. Jane Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase and Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department were shown with 45 minute waits. The wait time at the Silver Spring Civic Center and Wheaton Recreation Center, conversely, was zero minutes at noon.

Early voting sites with the longest
wait times on the first day of
early voting

One other tricky hurdle for voters besides the lines is matter of the ballot questions. Voters wishing to support the citizen questions on the ballot that would prevent the Montgomery County Council from voting to exceed the annual cap on property taxes, and change the structure of that County Council to nine smaller districts (and eliminate the four At-Large seats) will want to vote "Yes" on Questions B and D. 

Questions A and C are questions with similar wording the Council itself placed on the ballot. But if A and C are approved, they will cancel out Questions B and D, and neither change sought by the citizens who signed petitions would take place in that event. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Kanye West qualifies as write-in presidential candidate on Maryland ballot

Kanye West has officially qualified as a write-in candidate for president on the 2020 Election Maryland ballot, the Maryland State Board of Elections announced. West's name does not appear on the list of presidential candidates on the ballot, but it can be written in by voters in the "Write-in" box in that race. 

The significance of his qualification is that the state will tally the numerical total votes West receives, and they will appear in the election results. Write-in names that have not been qualified by the SBE, while still counting, will not appear in official result tallies.

West is running on a ten-point platform that includes reform of the justice system, fair trade, restoring prayer in schools and reducing household and student debt. Having spent some of his childhood in Montgomery County, West has said the area gave him his forward fashion sense, and he has given Rockville and Takoma Park shoutouts during his D.C.-area concerts in the past.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Montgomery County Council using taxpayer funds to campaign against citizen ballot questions

October 13 email sent from Montgomery County Council
government email system urging recipients to vote against
citizen-proposed ballot questions

Montgomery County residents have been receiving frequent emails from County Council members in recent weeks urging them to vote against ballot questions proposed by County residents. Just one problem: these spam political campaign emails are paid for by you, the taxpayer. If a politician wishes to campaign against a ballot question, they can form a new campaign entity or use their own campaign funds, but they cannot use taxpayer funds. This use of taxpayer-funded government email systems for political campaigning should be reviewed by the Maryland Board of Elections, and the Inspector General's office.

I personally have received two of these emails in just the last two days from Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (D - District 1) and Hans Riemer (D - At-Large). I've previously received several emails from their same government accounts, which also urged me to vote against Questions B and D. The shady and illegal tactic is simply one more reason voters should vote FOR Questions B and D, and AGAINST Questions A and C.
The October 13 County government-sent email illegally urges
recipients to vote a certain way on ballot questions

The taxpayer-funded spam email blitz is only the newest unethical tactic the Council has deployed against citizen efforts to chip away at its authoritarian power. While the citizen-petitioned ballot questions each received the support of nearly 20,000 Montgomery County residents who signed the petitions, the Montgomery County Council placed its own deceptive ballot questions with no public, democratic process. 

Content in years past to wage expensive campaigns against citizen ballot questions, the Council upped the ante and the corruption this year. With no advance warning or public process, the Council simply gaveled two identically-worded poison pill questions onto the ballot at a virtual online meeting. The scheme is intended to fool voters into voting "Yes" on all four. Legal experts have advised that if all four ballot questions are approved, they will cancel each other out, and none of the changes citizens sought will take place.
Fine print at bottom of email confirms it
was sent "on behalf of Montgomery County, Maryland Government"

Question B would eliminate the Council's ability to override the existing property tax cap, as they did in 2016 to slam homeowners with a 9% property tax increase, to cover for their mismanagement of the County budget. Question D would eliminate the At-Large seats on the Council, and reorder the Council into 9 smaller districts. Questions A and C are the Council's poison pill questions that mimic the language of B and D. 
Fine print also declares the email "is part of
the Council's newsletter software," a taxpayer-funded
government communications platform

Making taxpayers fund their corrupt schemes is nothing new for the Montgomery County Council. My investigation in 2018 found that Councilmember Hans Riemer was charging taxpayers to fund both a political website (even though each councilmember already gets a free, taxpayer-funded website on the Council's website), and to pay for his gas when he traveled to private meetings with his campaign donors.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Some Montgomery County voters haven't received their mail-in ballots

Some Montgomery County voters are hitting the panic button as the mail-in ballots they requested weeks or months ago have not yet arrived. The panic is not only due to the high anxiety about election fraud this year, but more so because these voters have seen friends' and family members' ballots arrive, while theirs haven't - even though in many cases the requests were mailed the same day, or even together.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections told one voter who requested his ballot over a month ago that, if he doesn't receive it by the end of this week, to request a "second-issue ballot." This can be done by visiting the Board of Elections in person (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm) at 18753 N. Frederick Avenue., Suite 210, in Gaithersburg; emailing your name, date-of-birth, address, mailing address (if needed), and second ballot issue request to; or by reapplying online by texting VBM to 77788 or using this form.

Another big question for some voters is why their ballot isn't shown as received days after mailing it back, or placing it into a dropbox. BOE says that it can take up to two weeks for a ballot to be collected and processed.

Voters are correct to be concerned. I lost my voting rights in the primary earlier this year when my completed ballot was "lost in the mail" on its way back to the BOE, making it the first election I ever missed participating in since I was old enough to register. I personally have received my mail-in ballot. But I will be using a dropbox to return it this time.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Nine Districts for MoCo is on the ballot - and so is a poison pill from the Montgomery County Council

“The government closest to 
the people serves 
the people best” 
- Thomas Jefferson

The citizen group Nine Districts for MoCo's petitions have been approved by the Montgomery County Board of Elections, meaning that voters will have the chance in the November election to vote to change the structure of the Council from 5 district and 4 at-large seats to 9 district seats. Two key reasons the proposed question received strong support from residents were the oversized, gerrymandered districts that sprawl across the County, and that a majority of the Council all live in the same vicinity of Takoma Park, leaving upcounty voters in particular with less representation on the Council. Fearing the ballot question would be approved, the Montgomery County Council ginned up its own ballot question on the Council structure in the dark of night, to serve as a poison pill if voters approve the Nine Districts Question D.

The Council's Question C proposes to keep the Council as it is, but add an additional two district seats, at great additional annual cost for staff and operations. On its face, it would appear to be merely a selfish attempt by the current members to preserve their seats. And it certainly is that. But the Council above all seeks to sabotage the voters' will through Question C, just as it infamously did with the ambulance fee.

Even the order of the questions has been rigged by the corrupt Council. Note that its undemocratic ballot question, which was rammed through at the end of a session with no public process, input or comment, was placed before the citizen-endorsed Nine Districts Question D on the November ballot.

The farther down the ballot an office, question or referendum is, the less likely it is to be voted upon by less diligent voters. But the Council isn't merely hoping you'll tire out before you to get to Question D.

In fact, they're not worried if you vote for both - because if their poison pill Question C and the Nine Districts Question D both get approved by a majority of voters, likely out of confusion, the matter of changing the Council structure would then go to the courts. And we all know the Montgomery County cartel almost never loses in any court within the borders of Maryland.

This is why it's essential, if you are dissatisfied with the current Council, to vote FOR Question D and AGAINST Question C.

We all know that even if the Nine Districts Question D passes, that the Council will try its darnedest to once again gerrymander the districts to ensure that only one party can possibly win. They may be shaped even more absurdly than the wacky ones splattered across the map today.

But even these gerrymandered nine new districts would, by the rules of mathematics, have to be geographically smaller. Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest thinkers in human history, said, “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” No longer would one tiny area within the downcounty have the power to control up to six out of the nine seats on the Council. And it would be far less likely for seven of the nine councilmembers to live downcounty, as they do now.

It's virtually unprecedented in County history to have a poison pill ballot question designed to sabotage another, where a victory by both sends the entire matter into legal oblivion. But then this Council increasingly has fought an unprecedented ideological war against the very constituents it represents.

So unpopular are its policies that residents approved term limits. And when energetic protesting of Council actions (and inaction) became too embarrassing in 2016-17, the Council literally locked its constituents out of the Council building permanently, turning 100 Maryland Avenue into a secure fortress. A Council of the People, a Council not suffering from paranoia and megalomania, doesn't have to lock out the public.

If locking the People out wasn't enough, the Council took another unprecedented step - it refused to engage in the all-American, democratic process of debating its political opponents in the last election. Civic associations were successfully pressured by the Montgomery County cartel to cancel all of their general election debates in 2018. Washington Post reporters Jennifer Barrios and Robert McCartney were fully aware of this, but chose not to cover it. In fact, they mysteriously never wrote a single sentence about the general election Council races in 2018.

Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.

It is once again time for the citizens to shine a light into that corrupt darkness, by voting FOR Question D to create nine compact districts, and AGAINST Question C.

The Council is again attempting to sabotage an election, this time by confusion. Just remember this handy guide to defeat them: "D" stands for democracy. "C" stands for corruption. Vote FOR Democracy and AGAINST Corruption, by voting FOR D and AGAINST C.

Photo via National Archives

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

More Montgomery County ballots being mailed to deceased, non-residents

A few weeks after a man described how his deceased mother was shown to have voted in Montgomery County elections for a decade after her death, another case of an illegal ballot being issued has come to light. Attorney Robin Ficker, a Republican candidate for Maryland governor, reports that his son was mailed a ballot to his old Montgomery County address. Problem: Ficker's son hasn't lived in Montgomery County for 12 years. And as a "live" ballot, it could be illegally filled out and mailed back by someone else.

"Election fraud?" Ficker asked in a Facebook post showing the improperly-mailed ballot. "How many of these ballots are being mailed by someone else?" Ficker isn't the only one asking questions. A watchdog group has successfully sued to receive the voter registration information of all Montgomery County voters, after it found there are more names registered to vote than there are eligible voters in the county.

In 2018, anomalous voting results were seen at dozens of precincts across Montgomery County in the County Council At-Large race, if not others. The voter universe in that election also increased by about 100,000 voters in only four years since 2014. Local media outlets have not challenged County officials about either issue so far.

Leaving ineligible names on the voter rolls is a key source of voter fraud. Anyone who has the names of deceased or non-resident voters can walk into the appropriate polling place, claim to be that person and provide the few details asked for by judges, and cast a ballot illegally using one of those many names. In this year's by-mail elections, these illegal ballots will be mailed out and ripe for the picking by any organized voter fraud operation, further underlining the urgency in cleaning up Montgomery County's dirty voter rolls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Petition to create 9 Montgomery County Council districts can now be signed electronically online

An effort to create better representation for residents on the Montgomery County Council has gotten a new jolt of energy. Nine Districts for MoCo, a grassroots organization, has been collecting signatures to place a question on the November ballot that would eliminate the At-Large seats on the Council. Instead, the Council would have 9 seats that each represent a smaller district of the county. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Board of Elections has given the group permission to collect signatures online. Registered voters can now sign the petition electronically, through the organization's website.

The At-Large seats are seen as a way for developers and special interests to get 4 votes to override parochial neighborhood concerns. Needless to say, the Montgomery County political cartel is not pleased about the Nine Districts for MoCo effort. At one public hearing by the Charter Review Commission, four commissioners tried to prevent Nine Districts for MoCo Chair Kimblyn Persaud from testifying on a fictional technicality, before realizing they didn't have the votes to stop her from speaking.

I strongly endorse this effort. Unlike past proposals, this does not reduce the number of Council members in a County that is rapidly growing in population. What it does do is create smaller, more manageable districts, and Councilmembers who will literally be closer to their constituents and their neighborhood issues. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus hospital tents erected across Montgomery County but "don't be alarmed," health officer says

Hogan delays primary to June 2
as more businesses shutter

While the public is told that there are still only 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Montgomery County, coronavirus tent hospitals were suddenly erected Tuesday at hospitals across the county. County Health Officier Travis Gayles tried to get ahead of public concerns on this development, saying "don't be alarmed." He said the tents are simply triage centers so that potential coronavirus patients do not have to enter the hospitals' emergency departments, where they might infect others.

A shortage of test kits remains here and nationwide, and Gayles stressed that these tents were not offering testing services to the public. The tent hospitals were erected yesterday at Holy Cross Hospital's Forest Glen and Germantown campuses, Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Adventist White Oak Medical Center, Adventist Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville, and MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. It's interesting that none of the hospitals mentioned the new tents on their social media feeds yesterday.

Two notable aspects on the latest coronavirus numbers across the state: Montgomery County has by far the highest number of confirmed cases, many times that of any other county; the reason(s) for that other than population size would be worth investigating. Second, for a disease that appears designed to hit the senior population hard, the majority of current cases in Maryland are between the ages of 18 and 64. No cases have been confirmed among residents under the age of 18.

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan postponed the state's primary election to June 2, 2020. It's unclear how it will be any safer or healthier for the public to go out to vote that soon, and many are speculating that Maryland could be forced to institute a vote by mail election. In fact, the special election to fill Elijah Cummings' Congressional seat will now be conducted by mail, so stay tuned for election developments that effect us here in Montgomery County.

More businesses are closing due to the pandemic. Paul Bakery and bluemercury in Bethesda, and all Macy's stores in Montgomery County, were among the latest on a sober St. Patrick's Day. Macy's announced it would reopen at the end of the month (again, highly unlikely, as with schools and businesses - all indications are that we will be in a much worse, not better, situation by then).

Target is reducing hours at all Montgomery County locations and nationwide. The big box store, Whole Foods Market, and Safeway were among those promising to institute times of the day during which only seniors and people with certain health issues may enter the store beginning this week.

The "senior hours" idea had been promoted heavily online in recent days by social media influencers, but it's unclear how effective it would be in preventing the spread of coronavirus, since those same people could carry it into the store anyway. Seniors are in the second-largest age group among current coronavirus cases. In practice, it may simply force the rest of the public to cram into more crowded aisles during increasingly fewer store hours, creating more stress and more spread of the disease. Not to mention shutting out folks from the small restocked amounts of hard-to-get supplies that people are hoarding like toilet paper and disinfecting wipes.

Sometimes people need to think before enacting a knee-jerk policy just because it sounds woke. Here's an idea: Retailers and suppliers actually restocking supplies, and operating on regular hours, instead of trying to add to the panic and hoarding. Imagine people not punching each other over a pack of Charmin because, after the initial supply shock, trucks would start rolling and it would be restocked in sufficient supply. Perhaps the paper companies have found a novel way to make money without selling their products. Heckuva job, Brownie!

Photo courtesy Montgomery County Government

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Montgomery County Board of Education candidate forum scheduled for March 16

A Montgomery County Board of Education candidate forum has been scheduled for Monday, March 16, 2020 at 6:30 PM at the Potomac Community Center, located at 11315 Falls Road in Potomac. Candidates vying for the three open seats on the board have been invited to participate.

Thirteen candidates are competing for the At-Large seat; the two top vote-getters in that April 28 primary race will advance to the General Election in November. The two candidates running in each of the District races are unopposed, and will face-off in the General Election. Key issues are the school system's funding and budget, the achievement gap, academic decline over the last decade, student safety and a highly-controversial redistricting study now underway that some on the current board have openly said should include the forced busing of students to schools outside of their communities.

The forum's sponsors include the Montgomery County Federation of Republican Women and its four clubs, as well as the GOP Asian-American Association and the Republican Legislative District 15 Political Action Committee.