In addition to casting ballots in federal, state and local races, Anne Arundel residents will also vote on 13 ballot measures, including eight related to county government.
Some questions will make only small changes, such as the names of commissions and making the County Charter more inclusive. Others, such as a question that would increase term limits on the County Council from two consecutive four-year terms to three, would fundamentally change how the county operates, allowing legislators to serve more than a decade at a time.
At the state level, five questions will be put to all Maryland voters, namely the legalization of recreational marijuana use and another that would require candidates for the state legislature to live in the district they hope to represent.
Here is an overview of the questions voters will see on their ballots:
Anne Arundel County questions
Most of the county questions began as recommendations from the county’s Charter Revision Commission, which convenes once a decade to review the county charter, or governing document, and suggest changes based on current practices and how the state and country’s political landscape has changed.
[ VOTER GUIDE 2022: Read the candidates' positions on the issues ]
Once the commission completes its review, it passes along suggestions to the County Council, which may draft legislation based on the recommendation. If a supermajority of the council, or five members, vote in favor, these changes become ballot questions.
While questions B through H came from commission recommendations, Question A started as a resolution drafted by council member Andrew Pruski, a Gambrills Democrat. All seven council members supported putting it on the ballot.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require the Anne Arundel County Veterans Affairs Commission.
While the county does currently have a Veterans Affairs Commission, this amendment would protect that group through the tides of changing administrations. It doesn’t have to exist in the same format it does now, but if the question passes, it would require the county to have such a body at all times.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to provide that no person elected or appointed to the office of County Councilmember may serve more than three full consecutive four-year terms.
Current law sets a limit of two consecutive four-year terms a County Council member can serve. This amendment would provide local lawmakers the option of running for a third term. Commission members recommended this change to better align the county with nearby jurisdictions that have longer term limits and give council members more time to work on longer term projects.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to require that the compensation paid to each member of the county council be paid after consideration of recommendations of the Salary Standard Commission that are approved by ordinance of the County Council.
This amendment would enshrine the process of the county’s Salary Standard Commission, a seven-member committee appointed by the County Council. The group meets every four years to review salary practices of surrounding counties and make recommendations about the compensation for council members for the following four-year term.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to remove the requirement that copies of bills and notices of public hearings be posted on a bulletin board and to require that electronic copies of bills and notice of any public hearing be published to the County Council website and that printed copies of bills be made available to the public and press and that bills receive required publication.
In an attempt to acclimate to a more digital world, the commission suggested a change to require copies of bills and dates of public hearings to be posted online rather than on a physical bulletin board. However physical copies of these documents will still need to be made available to those who would like them. This would, in part, codify current practice as all bills and public hearing dates are posted online now. However, the county would no longer need to post physical copies on the Arundel Center bulletin board.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to clarify the differences between the two types of emergency ordinances allowed under the Charter and the legislative procedure that applies to each.
This amendment would clarify the difference between two kinds of emergency ordinances that come before council. One requires immediate action for public safety or well-being reasons, such as pandemic-related mask mandates. The other is used to meet certain financial deadlines as compared to regular ordinances, which take weeks to go into effect.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to allow the County Council to assign additional functions, duties, and personnel to the county auditor that are related to the finances and financial affairs of the county.
The county auditor’s role is to assess the county’s finances and give officials the tools to make sound financial decisions through research. This amendment would codify the auditor’s role in County Code in a more precise way.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to change the name of the Charter Revision Commission to the Redistricting and Charter Revision Commission and to amend the date by which a decennial Redistricting and Charter Revision Commission must be appointed by the County Council.
This change would, in part, codify current practice by the Charter Revision Commission, which already makes recommendations on councilmanic district boundaries based on updated U.S. Census data. It is their second main duty alongside suggesting changes to the county charter.
Question G would also divorce the timeline of the release of the census data from the timeline of the commission’s work. This year, the group suggested allowing future iterations of the commission to start working on redistricting before census data is released in the event of a late release like the nation’s most recent census. The most recent commission had to work quickly to meet their deadlines due to the late start.
To amend the Anne Arundel County Charter to be gender neutral consistent with changes recommended based on a review by the county attorney.
This question would change male pronouns in the charter to gender-neutral ones for roles that can be held by people of any gender.
Here are the five questions all Maryland voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on. A supermajority vote, or three-fifths of the House of Delegates and Senate, was required to put each of these questions on the ballot, according to the Maryland Constitution.
Changes the names of Maryland’s appellate courts from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and from the Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland. Under the new law, judges serving on the Court of Appeals will be justices of the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals will be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland.
Voters can mark their ballots for or against the name changes which would align the bodies with equivalents in other states and help make state legal processes easier to understand.
Adds to the eligibility requirements to serve as a senator or a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly by requiring a person to have maintained a primary place of abode in the district that the person has been chosen to represent. Under current law, a person must have resided in the district to which the person has been elected for at least six months immediately preceding the date of the person’s election or, if the district has been established for less than six months prior to the date of election, as long as the district has been established. The new law requires, beginning January 1, 2024, a person must have both resided in and maintained a primary place of abode in the district for the same time periods as under current law.
Maryland Policy & Politics
This measure would require Maryland state legislators to primarily reside in the district they represent. Under current law, they must only have lived in the district for six months prior to the election.
Authorizing the General Assembly to enact legislation that limits the right to a jury trial in a civil proceeding to those proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000, excluding attorney’s fees if attorney’s fees are recoverable in the proceeding. Under current law, the amount in controversy must exceed $15,000 before a party to a proceeding may demand a jury trial. In cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed this threshold amount, a judge, rather than a jury, determines the verdict.
This question would allow the General Assembly to legislate a higher threshold for a jury trial in a civil case — a controversy, most likely a lawsuit, involving more than $25,000, rather than the current $15,000. Currently, a person or group can request a jury trial if the money involved is more than $15,000. The change is aimed at being more economic with the state’s legal resources because convening a jury is a more labor-intensive process than assigning the case to a judge.
Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the state of Maryland?
Marylanders will decide on legalizing recreational cannabis for those age 21 and over. In 2014, the state legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug. If this question passes the legislature will then work through the framework for the sale of legal cannabis during the next legislative session.
Repeals county elections of Howard County orphans’ court judges and requires the Howard County Circuit Court judges to sit as the orphans’ court for Howard County. The current law provides for the voters of Howard County to elect three orphans’ court judges. Under the amended law, a party could no longer appeal a final judgment of the Howard County Orphans Court to the Howard County Circuit Court and would instead take an appeal directly to the Court of Special Appeals.
If passed, this question would eliminate Howard County orphans’ court judges as their own entity and instead have the county’s circuit court judges sit as orphans’ court when necessary. Though the issue only involves Howard County, state code requires changes to the Maryland Constitution like this to go through the state’s ballot question process. Every Maryland voter will be eligible to vote on it.