Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Referendums only impede will of voters

ElectionsRepublican Party

Maryland's referendum rules need to be changed, as leaders have suggested ("Petition process under scrutiny," Jan. 9), and opponents are quite wrongheaded as demonstrated by the letter from Raymond L. Miles ("Referendum is vital check on government power," Jan. 14).

Conservatives love to tell us America is a republic, not a democracy, by which they mean it has an elected representative government. Yet the Maryland Republicans violate their own conservative republican principles when they petition every law constitutionally passed by the people's elected representatives and signed by the governor elected by the majority of Marylanders to a plebiscite.

The two worst aspects of Maryland's referendum law are that it is an immediate veto of constitutionally passed legislation, holding it hostage until the next general election, which may be two years away, and that this frustration of popular will can be forced by such a tiny sliver of the electorate, only 3 percent of votes in the last gubernatorial election.

Advocates, such as Mr. Miles, justify referendums by the claim that our constitutional, elected government is somehow a usurpation of popular will. This claim is belied by the majority support of all Maryland voters for all three laws petitioned to referendum. Referendums are not a needed shield against tyranny; they are merely a stick in the spokes of constitutional, representative government, nothing more than a temper tantrum by those whom Marylanders have rejected.

James Kelly, Ellicott City

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    ElectionsRepublican Party
    • State leaders contemplate changes to referendum process
      State leaders contemplate changes to referendum process

      O'Malley, Assembly leaders consider altering aspects of petition process

    • Brown's pre-K promises don't add up
      Brown's pre-K promises don't add up

      Throughout the last two months, the Anthony Brown campaign has accused Larry Hogan of being "extreme" and "dangerous" in regard to his views on two volatile issues — a woman's right to choose and the regulation of assault weapons. Time and again, in a variety of...

    • Balto. Co. wrong on animal shelter photos
      Balto. Co. wrong on animal shelter photos

      The response by Don Mohler, chief of staff for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, to the ACLU's lawsuit concerning photography at the Baltimore County animal shelter is disingenuous at best ("ACLU says Balto. Co. has squelched criticism of animal shelter," Oct. 19).

    • Low hiring standards lead to police brutality
      Low hiring standards lead to police brutality

      I've lived in and around Baltimore for all of my 73 years. My opinion on the problems with our police and fire departments lies with recruiting practices ("U.S. Dept. of Justice reveals plans to review Baltimore Police Dept.," Oct. 21). As a young man I never heard of the...

    • Hogan should learn from Connie Morella
      Hogan should learn from Connie Morella

      Tom Schaller's Oct. 20 column, "The Connie Morella effect," was most interesting. I knew Connie Morella well. She was an English professor at Montgomery College when I was teaching Political Science there. We continued our friendship over the years when she was in Congress and...

    • Moms want answers from Hogan on guns
      Moms want answers from Hogan on guns

      Despite gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan's public flip-flopping on guns and the Maryland Firearms Safety Act — he must have some of a stance on guns. He completed a questionnaire for National Rifle Association that earned him an "A-" rating from the Washington gun...

    Comments
    Loading