Two proposed constitutional amendments: Perhaps the most consequential regional issue on Maryland ballots this year is a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize slot-machine gambling in the state. If ratified by voters, the amendment would allow the establishment of 15,000 slot machine at sites across the state: in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Cecil, Worcester and Allegany counties. The more than $1 billion in anticipated revenues would go primarily to public education, gambling operators, the horse-racing industry and local governments.
Most polls have given an edge to the pro-slots camp, but at a West Baltimore rally yesterday, Franchot predicted a "miracle" at the polls. Anderson, also at the rally at New Shiloh Baptist Church, issued a more anguished battle cry. "We are clearly on the verge of something terrible happening," he said.
Another ballot question centers on early voting. The proposal would amend the state Constitution and allow the General Assembly to craft a law permitting voters to cast a ballot before Election Day. More than 30 states allow early voting.
Maryland Democratic leaders argue that early voting could boost participation in elections while reducing lines at polling places, but Republican opponents contend the proposal could lead to voter fraud. Republicans also warn that the Democratic-controlled legislature could craft a law that places more early voting centers in heavily Democratic areas, bolstering their advantage in a state where they outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.
Local bond issues: Voters will be asked to approve hundreds of millions in borrowing to finance construction and renovation projects in their respective counties. Taxpayers must repay the money over time.
City voters, for example, will decide whether to borrow $125 million for 15 projects, including $43 million for new school construction and $16 million for city parks and recreation centers. The ballot in Baltimore County contains $255 million in nine proposed bond issues, such as $105 million for school projects and $30 million for community colleges.
voting in maryland•All eight congressional districts will be decided.
•Two statewide constitutional amendment questions: on slot machine gambling and on early voting.
•Two Court of Special Appeals judges face retention votes.
•Baltimore City: Voters to decide on reorganizing the Department of General Services and on 15 bond questions totaling $125 million. Proposed spending includes $43 million on schools, $30.5 million on community development and $16 million for parks and recreation.
•Baltimore County: Voters to decide on charter amendment related to outside employment by County Council members and on nine borrowing initiatives, including $105 million for schools and $84 million for public works.
• Anne Arundel County: Two school board members to be chosen; two county government questions.
•Carroll County: Two school board members to be selected.
•Howard County: Three school board members to be selected.