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Maryland Constitutional Convention question gets majority vote; but not so fast (updated)

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November 9, 2010

By Al Ortiz

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland: With most precincts reporting in the state, the Maryland Constitution Convention Question that appeared on the general election ballot showed 55 percent of voters in favor, with well over 1.5 million voting on the question. This would lead some to presume that state leaders are making the preparations necessary to hold the convention, which would be the first in the country since Rhode Island voters approved of one in 1984, and was held in 1986.

However, this is not the case. The measure, according to the state constitution, needs to have the approval of those who turned in an election ballot for the position of Governor and not just the majority of those who simply voted on the measure alone. Reports are saying that the proposal has fallen short and a constitutional convention will not be held. Only 48% voters who voted for the position of Governor voted 'yes' on the question, essentially voting down the measure, according to preliminary figures from the Maryland State Board of Elections.[1][2]

The question, which asked voters whether they want a constitutional convention to be held to consider amendments, appears on the ballot every twenty years. According to reports, the Maryland Constitution is one of the longest constitutions in the nation, with the document containing about 47,000 words.

Details of the state constitution follow:

  • Ratified by the people of the state on September 18, 1867, replacing the short-lived Constitution of 1864.
  • The state's current constitution is the fourth constitution under which the state has been governed.
  • Last amended in 2006.
  • The Maryland Constitution is much longer than the average length of a state constitution in the United States, which is about 26,000 words (the United States Constitution is about 8,700 words long).

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