Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Special Election Dates Coming Soon

Many people have written to me about the vacant District 4 Council seat. Under the law, we must hold a special election for any vacancy that occurs with more than a year left in the term. We plan to resolve the scheduling of that election by the end of this week.

There are a number of factors that we’re looking at, including cost, the availability of schools and state and religious holidays. Some people have suggested that we forego an election and appoint someone to the seat. This would require changing the law, which could be done, but it would take the choice out of the hands of the voters.

Because elected representation is a fundamental right, I take these decisions very seriously. I am continuing to research our options in an effort to maximize both voter engagement and candidate participation. I am committed to making sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. As I continue to work through the details, I encourage you to let me know your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I hope your canned response from your office indicates that you then plan to double the amount of time allotted to District 4 residents at public budget forums such as CIP meetings. I hope it also means that you and the other at large members are going to be coming into District 4 to have more publlic meetings prior to the budget deliberations. I hope it means that you are taking a personal interest in the Paint Branch High School renovation project. If your response doesn't mean these things, then I would submit that the District 4 residents would NOT be served by your version of the democratic process for the second year in a row.

One of the most important issues surrounding our county today is the disbursement and allocation of budgetary funds. If you proceed with a special election for which you KNOW there will be a turnout of around 10% if that, you are actually DENYING a "seat at the budgetary table" to the residents of District 4 using the excuse that 10% of the populations voice (or less) is more important than the other 90%. I would urge you to reconsider your position and adjust the legislation necessary to appoint a successor to complete Mr. Praisner's term.


Anonymous said...

Dear Montgomery County Council,
I am adamantly opposed to having a Special Election for Don Praisner's vacant seat. I believe that his dying wish should be upheld because it is in the best interest of the taxpayers of District 4. Spending over a million dollars (or any amount of money) on a SECOND special election is a gross waste of our precious money. I understand that the legislation does not allow for someone to be appointed to the Council, however, the Council CAN VOTE to change the legislation to allow for an appointment to the Council. As the leaders I voted TO this Council, that is what I am asking you to do. If we wait for a special election, it means that this is the second time that District 4 isn't represented in the budget meetings. That is a lot less democratic than not holding an election and saving the taxpayers of this county over a million dollars. Some of the potential dates listed for a Special election are during Spring Break and I know that the turnout for an election during that time would be dismal. The other dates would present a hardship to the schools that are used as a polling place.

Enough of us have lost our jobs and the economy is terrible -- we don't want to have to drastically slash the County's budget to make up for an election that doesn't need to be held, and shouldn't be held. If congress could appoint someone to a vacant Senate seat, why can't the Montgomery County Council do the same?

Please, please do what is right for the County taxpayers AND Don Praisner.


williamjacobs said...

Perhaps it's too late for this election, but maybe the law should be rewritten to allow appointees to serve until the next regular election. This extends the potential appointments up to a year but the replacement can be elected during the presidential election if council seats aren't up for election in that year.