Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Five Ways to Ensure Your Voting Rights

From the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Contact: Marjorie Roher, 240-777-8525

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2009

Five Ways to Ensure Your Voting Rights

Montgomery County Election Director, Margaret Jurgensen, encourages registered voters to vote and offers assurances that voters’ rights will be protected. To help make the voting process smoother on April 21, 2009, Jurgensen suggests that voters follow instructions and allow enough time to cast a ballot, especially during the peak voting hours immediately before and after the workday.

Jurgensen offers these Election Day reminders:

1. BE ON TIME – Polling hours for all precincts are 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

2. VOTE IN THE CORRECT PRECINCT – It is important for voters to go to the polling site for the precinct in which they are registered to vote. The correct polling location is listed above the mailing address on the sample ballot or you may contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections office at 240-777-VOTE or visit www.777vote.org or www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections (select Polling Place Locator on our home page).

3. ID MAY BE REQUIRED – First-time voters in Montgomery County may be required to show proper identification. A driver’s license or official document including the voter’s name and address are acceptable. It is also helpful to bring voter registration cards, however, it is not required to vote.

4. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE VOTING DEVICE - Citizens are encouraged to visit http://www.mdvotes.org/demo.php for a live demonstration of the Touchscreen Voting machine. Becoming familiar with the voting machine prior to arriving at the polling place will help make the voting experience as seamless as possible.

5. FILL OUT SAMPLE BALLOT AND TAKE TO THE POLLING PLACE – Sample ballots contain important information on which candidates will appear on a ballot, how to operate the voting machines, and where voters are assigned to vote. Voters should read it carefully, make selections, and take it to the polling place to use as a guide – the voting process will be easier as a result.

Voters should not hesitate to ask for assistance. Election officials are trained to assist voters with physical disabilities and answer questions about the voting process. The ballot is available in both English and Spanish. Voters for whom English is a second language are encouraged to bring an interpreter to the polling place to help them with the voting process. In addition, if a mistake is made on a ballot, the voter should notify the election official immediately and corrective measures will be taken.

For clarification of these, or other voting questions, contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 240-777-VOTE.