County Council President Gabe Albornoz said Monday that a delayed primary election date creates logistical problems at Montgomery County recreation centers that are voting sites.

Judy Stiles, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Recreation, said in an interview that the new election dates will affect “Summer Fun Centers” at 13 locations across the county. Those are low-cost summer camps the county offers for families, she said.

Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals moved the primary election date from June 28 to July 19. The filing deadline was also moved back, from March 22 to April 15.

Alysoun McLaughlin, the acting director of the county’s Board of Elections, said in an interview that the early voting period will also be moved, coinciding with the shift in the date of the primary. The new period for early voting is July 7 to 14.

The Court of Appeals moved back the primary date, early voting and filing deadlines with lawsuits over redistricting maps pending.

A Democratic majority in Annapolis drew a new map for the state’s congressional districts and another for state legislative districts, pertaining to state Senate and delegate seats.

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The new dates will affect the schedule for printing ballots, but not the cost, McLaughlin added.

In a news briefing on Monday, Albornoz told reporters that the Board of Elections and the Department of Recreation are assessing how much of an impact the new election dates will have on certain activities, like summer camps.

“The Board of Elections will do their best, as they always do, to minimize the impact on operations within the facilities that they utilize,” said Albornoz, who used to be the county’s recreation director. “But there’s a practical reality that the rooms that are the hosts for early voting, understandably, can’t be utilized for anything else, for security reasons and for logistical reasons.”

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So far, Stiles said the Board of Elections and Department of Recreation have come up with plans to minimize disruption in recreation activity at 10 locations. The three remaining facilities where officials need to form a plan for early voting and Election Day are the Damascus, Germantown and White Oak recreation centers, she said. 

Stiles said the department isn’t worried about sharing space with the Board of Elections at recreation centers for early voting and Election Day. Kids at the summer camps are resilient, she added — as long as they have space to play, they will have fun.

“The elections, of course, are vital and we get that,” Stiles said. “And in addition to being vital, it is also very important those [election] spaces are secured and locked.”

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McLaughlin said her office and the Department of Recreation will work together in the coming months, whether the primary is held July 19 or if it’s moved again.

“We’re all kind of in this boat together,” she said.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com

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