Democracy Wins on the Maryland Ballot

By Emily Scarr
State Director

On Tuesday, voters approved 3 ballot questions backed by Maryland PIRG, each playing an important roll in strengthening our democracy.

Question 2, on the statewide ballot, is an Amendment to the Maryland Constitution to enable Election Day Registation. Once finalized by the Maryland General Assembly eligible voters will be able to register to vote or update their registration and vote on Election Day.  We have supported Election Day registration as an important tool to ensure all eligible voters can participate in our elections. It is particularly important to help 1st time voters, young voters, and folks who move a lot exercise their right to vote. It also helps clean up our voter polls, and reduce provisional ballots and administration. Cheers to Marylanders for supporting this measure! We look forward to working with Delegate Kirill Reznik, Senator Paul Pinsky, all of our legislators in Annapolis, and the Everyone Votes Maryland campaign to finalize the program.

Question H, in Baltimore City, is an Amendment to the City Charter to create the Fair Election Fund and Commission, laying the groundwork for small donor public financing for Baltimore City elections for Mayor, City Council, and City Comptroller. Under a Fair Elections Program candidates who reject all large and corporate contributions can qualify for limited matching funds for small donations from Baltimore residents. This expands opportunity to run for office, encourages more small donor participation, and provides a much needed counterweight to the rise of corporate and large donor funding in City elections. We look forward to working with the Baltimore Fair Elections campaign, City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, Mayor Pugh, and the entire City Council to finalize the program.

Question F, in Baltimore City, is an Amendment to the City Charter to strengthen and expand the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to increase accountability and good governance. This Amendment will strengthen the powers of the Office of the Inspector General by giving the office subpeona power to investigage cases. The Amendment will also make the office independent from the Executive branch so the OIG can fulfill their job without fear of being fired. Cheers to City Councilman Ryan Dorsey for spearheading this effor and the the Baltimore Coalition for Accountability and Transparency for their hard work on the campaign!

These victories have been hard fought. We've worked in the city and state legislatures to move them forward, including lobby days, phonebanks, public education events, public hearings,  email actions and press events. We spent 9 long days at Early Voting and Election Day polling sites talking to voters. We stood in the rain, the heat, and the cold. And we're so glad we did. Thanks to our members, student leaders, interns, staff, coalition partners and elected officials for standing with us along the way!

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