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Montgomery County Ballot: Explaining questions C and D #TheQandA

We’re one week away from the start of early voting in Maryland. Our #TheQandA team has been answering your questions about what’s on the ballot.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — The 2020 election is fast approaching and early voting starts in Maryland on Oct. 26. WUSA9 wants to make sure you’re prepared, so let's breakdown what’s on the ballot in Montgomery County.

As previously discussed, questions A and B address property taxes. Questions C and D on the ballot are regarding seats on the County Council. Voters can decide if they want to add seats or take some away.

Let’s look at what a yes vote on either question would mean for Montgomery County. 

In terms of population, Montgomery County is Maryland’s largest county. It has had nine council members since 1990: five district members and four at-large members.

If passed, Question C would increase the number of council districts from five to seven; and maintain the four at-large seats on the council.

Supporters of Question C argue the county has outgrown its current number of districts.

"This county has doubled in size since the last 30 or 40 years, [but] we have not increased our council size," Will Jawando, Montgomery County Councilmember At-Large, said. "So now the districts are some of the largest in the country where 225,000 people are [in] each councilmanic district. This would lower that number to closer to about 150,000, improving constituent service and allowing council members to respond to more people."

RELATED: Montgomery County ballot: Explaining questions A and B #TheQandA

What is the difference between a district councilmember and an at-large member?

According to Jawando, a district member represents specific needs in the geographic area where their district is located. 

"They advocate for those roads and schools and constituents that are directly responsive and often do a lot of the case work," Jawando said. 

Whereas an at-large member, "[tends] to take a larger view and less parochial view and [isn't] just concerned about the area where our voters are coming from," he added. 

Question D is a contrasting plan to Question C when it comes to the structure of the county council.

If passed, Question D would eliminate all the council’s at-large seats in favor of nine single-member districts.

How would that impact Montgomery County residents? 

Instead of getting to vote for five members of the council, four at-large and one district councilmember, Montgomery County residents would only vote for one councilmember for their specific district. The number of constituents that the district councilmember represents would be smaller than it is now.

Voters also have the option of voting no on both questions C and D. Doing that would mean that Montgomery County would maintain its five district councilmembers and four at-large members. 

RELATED: How a Yes vote on Question 1 of the Maryland ballot would impact state finances

RELATED: Should Maryland vote yes on legalizing sports betting?

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