2019 Planning Meeting

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The next full group gathering will be at the Mount Airy library (705 Ridge Road) on  Sunday, December 2nd from 1:30 until 3:30.

With the gubernatorial election behind us, it is time to turn our attention to other issues and initiatives.  Whether it’s continued work on ethics, the municipal elections in the spring, or other initiatives to advocate for good local government through grassroots civic engagement, there is a lot of work to do. No special skills are necessary and every hand, head, and heart makes a difference.

So please join us as we begin planning for our activities in 2019.

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Get Informed

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VOCAL is proud to present the latest addition to our website: The Candidates SpeakWe have collected links to video and opinion pieces so voters can directly compare the Board of Education candidates on the most important issues in the candidate’s own words.

VOCAL is committed to providing as much useful information as possible so that voter’s can make informed decisions about local elections this November. This curated content will be a great follow-up the popular Show Me the Money campaign finance reports – especially for citizens who are finding it difficult to discern the distinctions between the six remaining candidates for three seats on the Carroll County Board of Education.

But we are just getting started…citizens can help crowd source this information too. Just check out the new page on our website to see what has already been researched and learn how you can help!

VOCAL Campaign Finance Report

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VOCAL Unveils Campaign Finance Report for Local Carroll Races

VOCAL Carroll County has issued a report that consolidates publicly available campaign contribution and expense filings for candidates in several Carroll County election contests, including the Board of Commissioners. Show Me the Money: Carroll County Campaign Finance for the 2018 Maryland Gubernatorial Elections was compiled by the grassroots community group to enhance voter access to campaign funding information for county races in this year’s primary and general elections.

In addition to the Commissioners race, the election contests tracked in “Show Me the Money” include the Board of Education, Judge of the Circuit Court and Clerk of the Circuit Court. VOCAL opted to focus on selected local races, consistent with the group’s emphasis on local civic engagement and because county-level elected officials have a direct impact on the day-to- day lives of citizens.

   –see Press Release

Voter Registration Volunteer Training

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VOCAL has arranged for the Carroll County Board of Elections to offer a special voter registration training that will take approximately 30 minutes.

Please RSVP by email to VOCALcarrollcounty@gmail.com to reserve your seat.

The deadline for responding is Tuesday, April 24th at 3:00 pm.

The training will be held at the Board of Elections training room of the Robert Moton Center located at 300 South Center Street in Westminster.

This perfectly aligns with VOCAL’s mission to promote non-partisan civic engagement in our community. Through this training we will be equipped to register our friends, neighbors and other eligible citizens to play a more active role in our community by voting. VOCAL continues our work to enhance the political culture of Carroll County by helping the community to be more informed and engaged in the political process. And there is no better opportunity to achieve these ends than encouraging and assisting citizens to exercise their precious right to vote.

Take the Elections Survey

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Last November VOCAL Carroll County launched our Elected Officials Accountability Campaign. Our first project in that campaign, to pass a strengthened ethics ordinance, will give the public more tools to evaluate candidates and ensure the public interest is upheld by our Board of County Commissioners. VOCAL’s focus is local because that is where our ability to have an impact is strongest.

Some key objectives of our Accountability Campaign include:

  • To make known candidates’ business and financial interests and campaign contributions.
  • To identify candidates’ positions on key issues and highlight contrasts between them.
  • To ensure meaningful debate on key issues important to Carroll County residents before during and after elections.

The 2018 election season is underway with early voting in the Primary elections beginning June 14th. As the Carroll County Times and others have started to gather information on the candidates, VOCAL will seek to play an active role in framing the discussion of issues important to Carroll County citizens.

In 2018 VOCAL will focus on these key county races:

  • Board of County Commissioners
  • Board of Education
  • Republican & Democratic Central Committees

See the full candidate list

Please help us get started on our candidate research by
completing this short survey.

Ethics Ordinance Adopted

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The Carroll Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) took three very important votes at their meeting on March 13, 2018. First and foremost, they passed the revised ethics ordinance as currently published on the public hearings page of the county website. VOCAL celebrates this important step forward! We are hopeful that the State Ethics Commission will approve this at their meeting in April, officially bringing Carroll County into compliance with state law.

Second, the BOCC agreed that all Commissioner candidates will receive a revised financial disclosure form in accordance with this new ordinance that must be completed and returned by April 30, 2018. This will be valuable new information for the voters of Carroll County. 

Finally, the County Ethics Commission has been tasked with working on additional improvements to the code and are to bring recommendations – with additional pubic input – back to the Board within 120 days. We applaud this effort to continually improve the transparency and accountability of our local government.

For more on these decisions, read the article published by the Carroll County Times or watch the archived video of the meeting. 

Many THANKS to all who helped make this happen! If you would like to stay engaged with VOCAL Carroll County, here are several options.

Demystifying Public Education in Carroll County

At its monthly meeting on Sunday,  March 4, 2018 VOCAL welcomed a guest presenter from the grassroots group Carroll Values Education to give an overview of local public education – with particular emphasis on schools – called Carroll County Public Education 101. Carroll County Pubic Schools (CCPS) Superintendent Stephen Guthrie joined the group for a Question and Answer session following the presentation. Board of Education member Bob Lord also attended and offered some perspectives to this productive conversation.