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Legislative Update: Voters have Big Job on Election Day

Many statewide and countywide questions, as well as political races, are to be decided by voters this November.

In less than two months, people from the sixth legislative district will join Americans across the country in exercising one of our most sacred and fundamental rights—the right to vote.

In particular, Maryland has no shortage of very important issues that will be decided at the polls this year. In addition to the usual presidential-year contests (president and vice president of the United States, House of Representatives and United States senator), there are seven statewide questions on the ballot this fall.

Of these seven questions, four are General Assembly-proposed constitutional amendments that were passed by the legislature and must be approved by voters to stand, and the remaining three were placed on the ballot as a result of successful petition drives. 

For comparison, in all of the elections dating back to 2004 combined, there have been a total of nine statewide ballot questions.  Of these, the most notable have been two of the 2008 referendum questions, in which voters opted to approve early voting and slots casinos.  

The constitutional amendments requiring voter approval include two changes to the Orphans Court—the court with limited oversight of wills, estates and property and assets left to minors.

Both amendments require that Orphans Court judges be practicing lawyers (currently not a requirement), and are separate questions as to whether to apply the qualification in Baltimore County as well as in Prince George’s County. 

Another amendment would remove elected officials from office immediately after conviction for certain crimes. Currently, there is a loophole that has allowed some officials to delay removal because they have not been sentenced for crimes of which they were convicted.

The remaining questions are much more debated and will likely see considerable attention through the various forms of media. First, voters will be deciding whether or not to uphold the law allowing for same-sex marriage. If the issue is affirmed at the poll, Maryland would be the first state ever to approve marriage equality by a public vote. 

Another hotly-debated question will be whether or not the state should grant in-state tuition for both documented immigrants unable to establish residency as well as undocumented immigrants. Maryland’s version of the “Dream Act” would grant state resident rates at the state’s colleges after students meet certain criteria.

Finally, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether or not the newly-drawn congressional districts should remain intact.

In addition to the statewide questions, there is a host of borrowing questions related to Baltimore County—from parks and schools to waste and waterway improvements.

Fortunately, all of the questions are structured in a straightforward way.  If you support the respective issue, you should vote “yes.” If you oppose any of the ballot issues, you should cast a “no” vote.

A full review of all questions can be found at the Maryland State Board of Elections’ site: http://www.elections.state.md.us/elections/2012/ballot_questions.html.

I encourage everyone to take the time to review the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot—and then to vote, regardless of your candidate or issue of choice.

DHAMMER September 21, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Vote against in State Tuition for illegals,why should they get it when it's going to take away from a Marylanders Kid who should get it.And if Gays want the same things as a Married couple thats fine,make a law for it but no to Gay Marriage.And vote against the Casino Deal,you know as well as I do the money will not be spent on schools,remember when they said the Lottery was going to the school systems and keep Taxes down? What a big Democratic Lie that was.Read these Questions very slowly because the Democrats have made them very tricky to throw you off.
Steve September 21, 2012 at 02:12 PM
It's not taking anything from any "Marylander's Kid". The 60 or so affected students are "Marylander's Kids" themselves. A vote against the DREAM Act is a vote against Veterans.
John T. September 21, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Wrong. I, like most people support Veterans, but to include illegals in this is simply wrong. For those, such as yourself, that feel this strongly about giving additional aid and support to anyone that is in this country illegally, should support them yourself. It's always easy to support stuff like this nonsense when it doesn't cost you that much to support it. That's the underlying premise of all this liberal BS.
Steve September 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I guess you missed this part; "....and extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates."
John T. September 24, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I didn't miss that part. But I certainly will not vote for something that stinks as bad as this does - even if it has a dash of fabreese in it.

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