From A Supporter of Question D (Nine Districts For MoCo).
Phase One: Submit Over 10,000 Certified Voters’ Signatures (COMPLETE)
The bi-partisan fight for nine council districts in Montgomery County (MoCo) successfully concluded Phase One of the effort by getting over 10,000 certified voters’ signatures to qualify getting the proposal on the ballot this coming November. This led the effort’s organizers to initiate Phase Two – getting the voters educated on the Nine Council Districts initiative and how to mark the ballot when they vote. Ballot marking became more critical when the County Council, in an effort to kill the Nine Districts proposal and in a most un-Democratic fashion, entered their own proposal; there was no public debate on the Council’s proposal, just nine council members happy with the status quo looking to thwart the interests of the county’s residents. So, Phase Two now requires us to educate voters on how to cast their vote.
Phase Two: Educate The Voters (Vote YES on D and NO on C)
The ballot will offer two Questions. Question “C” is the Council’s proposal to retain the 4 “At-Large” members and add two (2) more district seats, thereby increasing the Council’s participation to a total of 11 with all of the associated costs, which is estimated to be well over $2,000,000.00 in additional budget requirements. Question “D,” the Nine Council Districts proposal, will also be on the ballot. Voters need to know that if they do not want “C” and they do want “D” they must mark their ballot – against “C” AND for “D.” Should both questions receive the same number of votes, they will “cancel” each other out and the status quo remains.
Phase Three: Equitable Redistricting For Equal Representation
During Phase Two the education of the MoCo voter will continue as early voting approaches. Phase Two must inevitably lead to Phase Three of the effort: the redistricting of the County in a fair and equitable manner that will finally make available on the Council the voices of county residents who have been systematically ignored by the County Council( except when its time for re-election, of course). Councilmember Evan Glass tipped his hand on a Zoom Call with county residents in attendance when he made it clear that if Question “D” passes there is still the process of redrawing the district lines- a process that will be done by a Committee of county residents using Census data to help guide this Committee through their efforts.
Having lived in MoCo for some 30 years, my expectation is that this Committee will be stacked in a manner that insures the gerrymandering of the County is consistent in a way that guarantees not a single dissenting voice will ever make it to a council seat – ever.
If the Phase One and Phase Two efforts are to have any chance of successful implementation, it will be critical to understand:
- Who gets appointed to this Committee;
- Political affiliation must count and be represented fairly;
- There cannot be any overt interference from either the Council or the County Executive as the Committee goes about its work; and
- The Committee’s work cannot be nullified by the Council or the County Executive.
A true effort must be made by this Committee to apportion the representation on the Council in a fair and equitable manner, drawing boundary lines consistent with county residents’ needs, so that the voices of all the county residents can be heard, even when those voices do not agree with the longstanding single party rule that has dominated MoCo for so long.