Sunday, July 27, 2014

Questions on the MoCo Ballot in November 2014

In even-numbered years there are usually some questions on the ballot in addition to candidate races. Sometimes (often?) these questions are confusing to voters but a little research ahead of time can be useful and even fun.

This year (November 4, 2014) there will be two proposed Maryland Constitutional Amendments on the ballot, and possibly a local question. That's fewer ballot questions than in many previous years. 

Here is some basic information:

The first ballot question asks voters if the Maryland Constitution should be amended to make it more difficult for money in or intended to go into the state's Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to be used for purposes other than transportation. In the past, this money was sometimes used to balance the overall state budget, not for transportation needs. 

If this Constitutional amendment is adopted, in the future any use of this TTF money other than for transportation would first need a formal statement by the Governor that there is a "fiscal emergency" and then 60% of each house of the legislature would have to approve it.

The other proposed Constitutional amendment would allow counties such as MoCo to provide for special elections to fill any vacancies in the office of County Executive, just as now can be done for vacancies on the County Council.

By August 18, 2014, local questions may also be certified for the November ballot. It's possible that MoCo may have an item on the ballot saying that candidates for district seats on the County Council must reside in those districts when running.

The MCDCC (Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee) has a BQAC (Ballot Questions Advisory Committee). This committee does thorough research on all ballot questions and prepares a detailed and objective report on the background of each ballot question. It also gives the best reasons for the Democratic party (and other voters, too) to either support, oppose, or take no position on each one. The BQAC report will be helpful to everyone and it should be ready in September.

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