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Montgomery County voters say yes to expanding the county council from 9 to 11 members

Ballot questions C an D gave voters a chance to weigh in on the council's structure. Residents decided to keep at-large seats, but add two new members and districts.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Montgomery County voters have spoken and they want to see changes to the structure of the county’s council which will take effect in 2022, according to a Montgomery County councilmember. 

When voters completed their ballots for the 2020 general election, they had a chance to consider two ways that the county council’s structure could change. The options were under Questions C and D on the ballot.

Question C asked voters to vote for or against expanding the council from nine to 11 members, electing seven councilmembers by district and four councilmembers at-large. Council districts would also increase from five to seven.  

Question D, driven by the grassroots movement Nine Districts for MoCo, asked voters to consider an all-district council which would do away with at-large council seats. The group garnered more than 16,000 signatures on a petition to get the amendment on the ballot.

According to early results from Montgomery County’s Board of Elections, 61% of voters voted in favor of question C. Only 39% voted against it.  Forty-three percent voted for question D. Fifty-seven percent voted against it.

RELATED: Montgomery County election results

Kimblyn Persaud is chair of Nine Districts for MoCo. While she hoped for a different outcome, she is happy change is on the way.  

“I feel good,” Persaud said. “It’s not what we wanted, but it’s change and as advocates out here campaigning for what we believe in, it’s about change, and we have done that. “

Proponents of the grassroots movement had concerns about equal representation because of the county’s size and where most councilmembers live. They wanted an all-district council where members would live in the area they represent. Some issues they wanted addressed, especially for residents in the upper part of the county, are  transportation and education.

“The county is too large, and it does not represent everyone equally,” Persaud said. “By having nine districts you would create smaller districts which would allow for more representation.”

At-Large Councilmember Evan Glass was behind question C. He is happy voters decided to expand the council because of the county’s growing population, which stands at 1.1 million people.  

“In the 30 years we’ve had this council structure, our population has increased by 50%,” Glass said. “ What the voters decided to do is to recognize our increased population that will result in more districts here so we can have an even better functioning democracy.”

Right now, the council is made up of nine members, which includes five elected from separate districts and four at-large. 

Glass said a 11-member redistricting commission will be tasked with creating seven new districts based on 2020 census data. 

The application process is open until November 9 at 5 p.m.  Once members are selected, they will get to work in 2021.

Changes are not expected until the council election in 2022. 

You can apply to be part of the redistricting commission here

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