Guide: Three Referendum Issues On the Ballot
Maryland voters will have the opportunity to overturn Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the Dream Act and the congressional redistricting map on the November ballot.
This fall, Maryland voters will likely have the opportunity to overturn or solidify at least three pieces of controversial legislation. The three state referendum issues voters could see on the ballot in November include congressional redistricting, the Maryland Dream Act and same-sex marriage.
Tell us in comments: How will you vote on these ballot issues this fall? What ballot issue is most important to you?
Congressional Districts: Every 10 years, state government has the opportunity to change congressional districts based on census data. Gov. Martin O'Malley's 2012 redistricting map was passed by the General Assembly in an October special session.
The proposed redistricting would shift the boundaries for Carroll County's 4th district, so that it will include both Carroll and Howard counties.
It also moves the Town of Sykesville into a Howard County district and splits the Eldersburg Census Designated Place boundaries in half along Route 26, putting half of the 26,062 population into a new three-member Carroll County District and half in a Howard County District across the Patapsco River, as previously reported on Patch.
The Maryland DREAM Act: This act will give illegal immigrants in-state tuition to community colleges.
State Bill 167 constitutes that undocumented immigrants would be eligible for in-state tuition if their parents filed to pay state taxes and if they graduated from a Maryland high school they attended for at least three years.
The bill passed the House of Delegates by a 74-65 vote and the Senate by a 27-20 vote in 2011.
Same Sex Marriage: The Maryland legislature passed same-sex marriage this year and O'Malley signed it into law.
Local Officials Respond
Carroll County Delegates Donald Elliott and Justin Ready, both Republicans, said they would like to see all three of the issues overturned by citizens in referendum.
"O'Malley's redistricting map is an awful, gerrymandered mess--the worst in the country in my opinion," Delegate Ready said.
"And I do not believe we should be giving taxpayer-subsidized benefits to illegal immigrants," Ready said. "Our state government has been tightening the squeeze on our citizens and legal residents. There is widespread, bipartisan opposition to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants."
"The Catholic church supports the DREAM Act because we believe that every person, regardless of their legal status is a child of God," said Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, at a UMBC rally supporting the DREAM Act. "As a church and as a community, we flourish when we strive to provide the opportunity for every person to reach their full potential and to develop the unique God-given gifts that they have been given.
"We are convinced that when Marylanders know the facts about the DREAM Act, that they will happily embrace the chance to do the right thing for our young people," Madden said.
Carroll County Delegate Susan Krebs said that she hopes the ballot wording makes it easy for people to understand the issue.
"My one concern is how the referendum issues are going to be worded on the ballot," Krebs said. "The wording needs to be straightforward so that our citizens know what they are voting on and not confused by ambiguous ballot language."