At next week’s meeting (January 31, 2022), the City Council will vote on whether to make the College Park Community Center (CPCC) the only voting site for the November 2023 City election.

Making CPCC the only election site also means that residents will not get an opportunity to vote at Davis Hall in this year’s City election day.

If the Council votes to approve CPCC as the only election site, this will be unfortunate, as Davis Hall has been the most popular site among all election sites in the past. This can be seen from the voter turnout data in the 2019 election when the residents could vote at three elections sites – Davis Hall, Ritchie Colleseum and the UMD Stamp Union. Residents of Districts 1, 2 and 4, overwhelmingly preferred Davis Hall as the election site over the other sites.

For many years, Davis Hall, along with the City Hall, has been one of the two election sites residents could vote. In the 2019 election, the Council decided to add a third site (Stamp Union) to increase voter turnout. It also allowed residents to vote at Ritchie Coliseum as the City Hall was not available for reconstruction.

In 2021, due to the COVID-related social distancing rule, the City decided not to hold an election at Davis Hall. Now that the social distancing rule is already lifted and the public health emergency is about to be ended, allowing residents to vote at Davis Hall only makes sense.

The City recently asked residents to participate in a survey about their preferred polling locations. Though only a small number of residents returned the survey, most residents chose Davis Hall as the first choice (39.9%) . The College Park Community Center and the Davis Hall locations came as two closely preferred sites on overall scores. Please see below.

We had a significant drop in election turnout numbers from the 2019 election to the 2021 election (please see below). Residents could vote at Davis Hall in 2019, but they could not in 2021.  The turnouts in Districts 1, 2 and 4 dropped by 30 to 34% from 2019 to 2021. Interestingly, residents of these three districts preferred Davis Hall more than other election sites. Among other factors, the absence of the Davis Hall site in the 2021 election can not be ruled out for this significant drop in election turnout in 2021.

20192021Change in turnout
District 1851595-30%
District 2358251-30%
District 3564478-15%
District 4319212-34%

Though the City will continue to provide a drop box at Davis Hall and possibly an early voting opportunity at Davis Hall, many residents still prefer to vote on election day in person. In the 2019 election, only 13% of voters voted in the early election. Please see below the breakdown by the district.

.

Please send your thoughts and comments about this year’s election to the Mayor and Council at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov before the 1/31 City Council meeting. Thank you.