With Deadline Extended, Absentee Ballots Roll into Montgomery County Voter Services Department

Some 30,000 Montgomery County voters asked for absentee ballots this presidential election season, about 5,000 more than four years ago.

That amount swamped the county’s Voter Services Department, which two weeks ago expanded its hours of operation leading up to Election Day.

Last week, the county asked a judge to extend the Nov. 4 deadline for receiving absentee ballots. The extension was granted to allow for ballots to arrive through Election Day. Those ballots keep coming, the county said Monday.

As of 3:30 p.m., 21,500 had arrived, county spokeswoman Lorie Slass said. In 2012, 20,900 voters cast absentee ballots.

An issue this year with sending out absentee ballots to voters who applied for them was a delay by the county in finalizing the official ballots because of a state referendum’s wording, officials said.

The Voter Services Department also abruptly lost its top two administrators in September and early October.

County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, chairwoman of the Board of Elections, said she was happy the judge allowed for the extension.

"Based on the rate of absentee ballot returns last week, I made the recommendation that we seek to petition the Courts to extend the absentee ballot deadline,” Arkoosh said. “My Election Board colleagues agreed and we had the full support of both local political parties. I am pleased that the Court agreed and that we are able to continue to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday at 8 p.m."

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