October 26, 2012

For? or Against?: State and Local Ballot Questions and What They Mean

The November election is filled with candidates and issues on all levels that require our focused attention. For example, in Maryland and Montgomery County, alone, there are nine questions that deserve careful scrutiny. But, in many cases, after reading the language on the ballot, we’re left thinking: “What does that really mean?” And, “If I support the question, do I actually cast a For vote, or an Against vote?”

In an effort to clarify the ballot questions, The Paperless Airplane is sharing a document we received that presents the questions -- and an accompanying explanation of a For and Against vote for each  – in the most succinct, easy-to-understand language that we’ve seen.

Take a look and feel free to share it with others who may find it helpful.


1 & 2 – Applies only to Prince George’s County (1) and Baltimore (2) but must be approved statewide.  A vote for supports requiring Orphans' Court Judges to be members of the Maryland Bar in good standing.   Vote against keeps the existing law which does not require Maryland Bar membership.

3 – A vote for means that an elected official is suspended from office immediately upon being convicted of certain crimes and is removed from office when the conviction is final or the official pleads guilty.  A vote against keeps the existing provision that an elected official is suspended and removed from office only when the conviction becomes final.

4 – A vote for would allow certain non-documented students to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland Community Colleges and after meeting certain requirements be eligible for in-state tuition rates at Maryland 4-year public colleges and universities.   A vote against would require they pay out-of-state rates.

5 – A vote for accepts the new Congressional redistricting boundaries. A vote against rejects the new plan and requires a redrafting of the boundaries.

6 – A vote for allows same-sex marriage licenses to be issued in Maryland and provides that religious organizations are not required to sanction this kind of marriage if it is against their beliefs.  A vote against would not allow same-sex civil marriage licenses to be issued in Maryland.

7 – A vote for supports the expansion of table games and slots in the State and slots in Prince George's County.  A vote against opposes any expansion.


A – A vote for would allow the County to hire individuals with severe physical and mental disabilities on a non-competitive basis.  A vote against rejects a non-competitive hiring process and requires the County to use the existing process.

B – A vote for supports the County law that continues traditional collective bargaining with the police union on customary issues (wages, benefits, and working  conditions) but enables police management to exercise other management rights without having to bargain their effects.  A vote against requires every management decision to be bargained with the police employees' union (effects bargaining).