Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Rockville commission recommends lowering voting age to 16, allowing non-citizens to vote

Rockville's Charter Review Commission compiled a list of election policy changes last month that will be discussed by the Mayor and Council at their January 30, 2023 meeting. The commission's recommendations included lowering the voting age to 16, regardless of citizenship. If approved, Rockville would follow Takoma Park, which lowered its voting age to 16 a decade ago. The idea received unanimous approval from the Rockville commission. Commissioners also suggested that all residents 16 and older be allowed to vote in City elections regardless of citizenship, as long as they have lived in the city for at least 6 months prior to the election.

Many other recommendations were put forward, largely in an effort to increase voter turnout. Commissioners suggested expanding the City Council to six, which along with the Mayoral seat would create a voting body of seven. They recommended term limits of three consecutive four-year terms, the same as Montgomery County voters approved in 2016. And they proposed studying a division of the City into Council districts, rather than electing the Mayor and Council on an at-large basis, as is currently the case.

Other suggestions included create a new and transparent process for filling vacancies that occur after the 24th month of a Council or Mayoral term, exploring Ranked Choice Voting with a "None of the Above" option, and moving City elections to presidential or Maryland gubernatorial election years to capitalize on greater turnout. Commissioners voted unanimously to reject a proposal for staggered Council terms.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Over the dissent of Mayor Bridget Newton, four Rockville councilmembers approved a motion by Councilmember Tom Moore to back Ocean City's effort to have city offices appear on the presidential year ballot.

All four councilmembers who voted affirmatively were part of the Team Rockville slate in last November's city election. However, only Moore has fully endorsed the idea of moving Rockville's city elections to presidential election years. Virginia Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr, and Beryl Feinberg said they support Ocean City's effort only as an endorsement of home rule - essentially the resort city's right to set the date of its own elections.

Moore noted that Hagerstown already holds its elections in presidential years on Election Day.

Prior to the vote, Moore asked city staff to support the legislation in Annapolis that would allow Ocean City to move its election date. "You can't direct city staff," Newton responded.

The mayor challenged the majority's assertion of home rule. She said city voters had made clear they don't want elections moved, through their rejection of a ballot question last November. For the city to now use funds and resources to support the contrary elsewhere in the state would be inappropriate, Newton argued.