Every March in the newsletter we invite residents interested in serving on the Council to submit a 250–300-word summary about themselves and why they want to serve on the Council. Last year because of the pandemic, the Governor declared a State of Emergency (which is still in effect). Last year we learned that if the election was uncontested (it was), the State said we could just put those individuals who had expressed interest in office without holding an election, which is what we did.
It's clear that we will be wearing masks and living with COVID-19 in May when we hold our annual elections this year. In the event of a contested election, we need to have in place a mechanism for holding a "contactless" election.
To provide for this eventuality, at the February Council meeting, the Council introduced an emergency Charter amendment (to Section 602) and an Emergency Plan to deliver ballots to everyone who is either registered with the County, known to live in the community by the Village Manager, or, if they are foreign nationals, registered with Section 3. The Charter amendment provides for developing a mechanism for voting in an emergency. The proposed Emergency Plan to conduct the election via universal absentee ballot is executed by ordinance. Both the Charter amendment and the Plan were introduced at the February meeting and were approved at the March meeting.
Following are the procedures for the May 2021 Council elections.
SECTION 3 OF THE VILLAGE OF CHEVY CHASE
EMERGENCY PLAN FOR THE 2021 ELECTION
Election without In-Person Voting
- At least 14 days prior to the election, to be held on May 11, 2021, the Village Manager will deliver a ballot and return envelope to the home address, in Section 3, of each qualified voter on the precinct register provided by the Montgomery County Board of Elections, and to each non-US citizen who has registered with the Village. Residents of Section 3 not currently on the precinct register but whose residence has been verified by the Village Manager will also be provided a ballot and return envelope.
- Polling stations will not be used; no in-person voting will be available.
- Voters can deliver completed ballots no earlier than 9:00 a.m. and no later than 6:00 p.m. from April 27 to May 11, 2021 to the drop box to be located at 3709 Shepherd St. Ballot envelopes must be delivered by 6:00 pm on May 11, 2021 in order to be counted.
- Ballot envelopes will contain an affidavit which must be signed requiring the voter to attest to the voter’s eligibility.
- Candidates interested in serving must declare their candidacy and submit to the Village Manager by 5:00 pm on March 22, 2021, a 250-300-word statement about why they would like to run and what they feel they could do for the community. The March edition of News & Views will provide further instructions on how to self-nominate or nominate another resident.
- Candidate statements will be published in the April edition of News & Views.
Voter Registration Procedures
- A Section 3 resident who is a U.S. citizen and who is registered as a voter of the State of Maryland in Montgomery County is deemed registered to vote in a Section 3 election.
- A Section 3 resident whose residency has been verified by the Village Manager is deemed registered to vote in a Section 3 election.
- A Section 3 resident who is not a citizen of the United States, or a Section 3 resident who is not registered with the State, but who is at least 18 years old, may register to vote in a Village election by contacting the Village Manager. In order to allow sufficient time for a ballot to be issued and voted, the registration must be completed by 5:00 pm on April 22, 2021.
Universal Voting Procedures
- Ballots shall be returned in the Section 3-issued return envelope.
- Voters shall write their full legal name and address on the Section 3-issued return envelope and sign the affidavit. Another envelope may be used to enclose the Section 3-issued return envelope, if the voter wishes, in order to hide the voter’s signature. Ballots enclosed in an incomplete, illegible, or unsigned return envelope will not be counted. Section 3 will not accept copies of ballots or ballot envelopes.
- If a voter desires their ballot to be mailed to an address that is different than the address in the precinct register, the voter should inform the Village Manager of the address to which the ballot should be mailed. In order to allow sufficient time for a ballot to be issued and voted, any such request shall be made no later than 5:00 pm on April 22, 2021.
The Election Registrar
Judge William Rowan has been appointed to count the ballots and report the outcome of the election on May 11th.
Other Safety Measures
The Election Registrar and Village Manager may implement such other measures as are consistent with this Emergency Plan and necessary to assure a safe election and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact any of our Councilmembers or the Village Manager.