A "GUEST-BLOG" BY EVAN GLASS, CHAIR OF THE SILVER SPRING CITIZENS ADVISORY BOARD
NOTE: Early voting has been extended to 8am-9pm through tomorrow (November 2nd) at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
While the marquee races on the ballot may be president, senator and representative, there are many other contests worthy of our consideration. The five down-ballot elections include three non-partisan races for the Board of Education and judicial decisions for the circuit court and court of special appeals. History has shown that voters tend not to know much about these down-ballot races and decide not to vote for any of the candidates. Let’s try to change history; take a few minutes and educate yourself on these races before you cast your ballot.
Despite what you may be seeing on your television, with aggressive advertising attacking President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the truth is that there isn’t much of a contest for the national offices here in the greater Silver Spring area. According to election results for Montgomery County in 2008, President Obama received 71 percent of the vote and our areas two members of Congress, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, received support from 73 and 70 percent of voters, respectively. It’s clear that residents here are not like the undecided voters of Northern Virginia, to whom all the ads we see are targeting.
But there are items on this year’s ballot with outcomes unknown, even here in Montgomery County. It seems that Maryland is quickly becoming like California – the land of referenda – as we will be voting on seven statewide and two Montgomery County related ballot initiatives. These issues have received various degrees of public attention, but you should spend a few minutes evaluating the benefits and consequences of each. In order as they appear on the ballot, the referenda are:
· Question 1: Should Maryland adopt a constitutional amendment requiring judges of the Orphan’s Court for Prince George’s County to be admitted to practice law and be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar?
· Question 2: Should Maryland adopt a constitutional amendment requiring judges of the Orphan’s Court for Baltimore County to be admitted to practice law and be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar?
· Question 3: Should Maryland adopt of constitutional amendment changing the point at which an elected official charged with certain crimes is automatically suspended or removed from office?
· Question 4: Should Maryland establish in-state tuition for individuals, including undocumented immigrants, who meet certain conditions (aka the DREAM Act)?
· Question 5: Should Maryland adopt the boundaries created for the state’s eight congressional districts?
· Question 6: Should Maryland establish the right for gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, while protecting clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs?
· Question 7: Should Maryland expand commercial gambling into Prince George’s County?
· Question A: Should Montgomery County operate a merit program to recruit and select individuals with severe physical and mental disabilities on a noncompetitive basis?
· Question B: Should Montgomery County modify the scope of collective bargaining with police employees to permit the exercise of certain management rights without first bargaining the effects of those rights on police employees?
You don’t have to wait until November 6 to cast your ballot. Early voting will run from October 27 through November 1 at the Silver Spring Civic Building and four other county facilities. More information about the candidates, the ballot questions and early voting is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections
So whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or vegetarian (to recycle a joke by Senator John McCain), what matters most is that you vote. Save all those opinions you’ve wanted to put on the listserv and make a statement at the ballot box. It’s your duty.
Chair, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board