WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Van Hollen applauded a recent decision by the Montgomery County Board of Elections to reinstate early voting centers. The issue had been up for debate after members of the local elections board voted to shift early voting options to other parts of the county.
On Thursday, the Maryland Board of Elections failed to approve the county board’s decision to relocate the centers. According to The Washington Post, state board chairman David McManus asked the local board to reconsider its plan right away. The state has to finalize all early voting locations by Oct. 28.
“This decision is great news for voters in Montgomery County and the health of Maryland’s democracy,” Van Hollen, D-Montgomery County, said in a statement. “Today we have proof that positive change is possible when citizens are actively engaged and working to improve their communities.”
In September, Van Hollen wrote a letter that urged rejection of the county proposal. In the letter, he claimed eliminating early voting at the Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center in Bethesda and the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center in Burtonsville would make it harder for low-income and elderly people and people of color to vote.
County Councilmember Tom Hucker claimed the vote was an attempt to suppress voters. The councilman and former state delegate said he had 2,500 signatures on a petition to ask the state board to reverse the Montgomery County decision.