Maryland Special Elections for County Executive Vacancies Amendment, Question 2 (2014)

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Question 2
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Maryland Constitution
Referred by:Maryland Legislature
Topic:Elections and campaigns on the ballot
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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November 4
Question 1 Approveda
Question 2 Approveda
Endorsements
The Maryland Special Elections for County Executive Vacancies Amendment, Question 2 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Maryland as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure was designed to:[1]
  • Permit a county charter to provide for filling vacancies in county executive offices through special elections;
  • Exempt special elections for county executive officers from the requirement that state and local special elections be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November on even-numbered years; and
  • Allow county executive special elections to be conducted by mail.

The amendment was introduced into the Maryland Legislature by Delegate Anne R. Kaiser (D-14) as House Bill 1415.[1]

Election results

Maryland Amendment 2
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,244,113 80.54%
No300,60719.46%

Election results via: Maryland State Board of Elections

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot text was as follows:[2]

Question 2

Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 261 of the 2014 Legislative Session)
Special Election to fill Vacancy in Office of Chief Executive Officer or County Executive

(Amending Article XI-A, Section 3 and Article XVIII, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution)

Authorizes charter counties to provide for special elections to fill a vacancy in the office of chief executive officer or county executive, and exempts a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of chief executive officer or county executive of a charter county from the constitutional requirement that elections for State and county officers be held on a specified four-year cycle. Under existing law, charter counties may only authorize special elections to fill vacancies on the county council.

For the Constitutional Amendment
Against the Constitutional Amendment[3]

Constitutional changes

See also: Article XI-A and Article XVII, Maryland Constitution

The amendment altered Section 3 of Article XI-A and Section 2 of Article XVII of the Maryland Constitution:

Article XI–A – Local Legislation

3.
Every charter so formed shall provide for an elective legislative body in which shall be vested the law–making power of said City or County. Such legislative body in the City of Baltimore shall be known as the City Council of the City of Baltimore, and in any county shall be known as the County Council of the County. The chief executive officer or county executive, if any such charter shall provide for the election of such executive officer or county executive, or the presiding officer of said legislative body, if such charter shall not provide for the election of a chief executive or county executive, shall be known in the City of Baltimore as Mayor of Baltimore, and in any County as the President or Chairman of the County Council of the County, and all references in the Constitution and laws of this State to the Mayor of Baltimore and City Council of the City of Baltimore or to the County Commissioners of the Counties, shall be construed to refer to the Mayor of Baltimore and City Council of the City of Baltimore and to the President or Chairman and County Council herein provided for whenever such construction would be reasonable. From and after the adoption of a charter by the City of Baltimore, or any County of this State, as hereinbefore provided, the Mayor of Baltimore and City Council of the City of Baltimore or the County Council of said County, subject to the Constitution and Public General Laws of this State, shall have full power to enact local laws of said City or County including the power to repeal or amend local laws of said City or County enacted by the General Assembly, upon all matters covered by the express powers granted as above provided, and, as expressly authorized by statute, to provide for the filling of a vacancy in the County Council officer or in the chief executive officer or county executive by special election; provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize or empower the County Council of any County in this State to enact laws or regulations for any incorporated town, village, or municipality in said County, on any matter covered by the powers granted to said town, village, or municipality by the Act incorporating it, or any subsequent Act or Acts amendatory thereto. Provided, however, that the charters for the various Counties shall specify the number of days, not to exceed forty–five, which may but need not be consecutive, that the County Council of the Counties may sit in each year for the purpose of enacting legislation for such Counties, and all legislation shall be enacted at the times so designated for that purpose in the charter, and the title or a summary of all laws and ordinances proposed shall be published once a week for two successive weeks prior to enactment followed by publication once after enactment in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county, so that the taxpayers and citizens may have notice thereof. The validity of emergency legislation shall not be affected if enacted prior to the completion of advertising thereof. These provisions concerning publication shall not apply to Baltimore City. All such local laws enacted by the Mayor of Baltimore and City Council of the City of Baltimore or the Council of the Counties as hereinbefore provided, shall be subject to the same rules of interpretation as those now applicable to the Public Local Laws of this State, except that in case of any conflict between said local law and any Public General Law now or hereafter enacted the Public General Law shall control.

...

Article XVII – Quadrennial Elections
2.
Except for a special election that may be authorized to fill a vacancy in a County Council or a vacancy in the office of chief executive officer or county executive, under Article XI–A, Section 3 of the Constitution, elections by qualified voters for State and county officers shall be held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday of November, in the year nineteen hundred and twenty–six, and on the same day in every fourth year thereafter.[3]


Fiscal note

The fiscal note developed by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services was as follows:[4]

Fiscal Summary

State Effect: If the constitutional amendment is approved, general fund expenditures may increase by over $100,000 if a special primary election and a special general election to fill a vacancy in the office of county executive are held in a large county.

Local Effect: If the constitutional amendment is approved, county expenditures may increase by over $1 million if a special primary election and a special general election to fill a vacancy in the office of county executive are held in a large county.

Small Business Effect: Minimal.[3]

Background

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On January 28, 2014, the Montgomery County Council sent letters to Delegate Anne R. Kaiser (D-14) and Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20) asking them to propose a change to the Maryland Constitution to allow the county to hold a special election if a county executive office becomes vacant. Prior to Question 2's approval, counties were allowed to hold special elections for county council positions, but not for county executive positions.[5] If a county executive position became vacant, then the county council appointed someone to fill the vacancy.[6]

The letter stated, "Because I believe that the voters of the County should have the same opportunity to fill a vacancy in the position of County Executive as they do for a Councilmember, I ask if there is interest on the part of members of the delegation to pursue the necessary amendments to the Maryland Constitution and Code to make this a possibility."[5]

Support

Supporters

Officials

Question 2 received unanimous support in the Maryland Senate.[7]

Organizations

  • Maryland Association of Counties[8]
  • Montgomery County Democratic Precinct Organization[9]

Arguments

  • Bob Drummer, Montgomery County council attorney, said, “Appointments tend to be criticized by voters. Voters tend to believe the seat belongs to them not to other electeds [sic].”[6]

Opposition

Opponents

Officials

The following elected officials voted against the amendment in the Maryland House of Delegates:[7]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Maryland ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • Southern Maryland Newspapers Online said, "Choosing “yes” for Question 2 will be a step forward giving voters in charter counties a greater say in their county governments in those rare instances when a county executive resigns or dies in office. That makes sense."[10]
  • The Star Democrat said, "We believe voters should choose their representatives, whether during the normal election cycle or in a special election if a position becomes vacant."[11]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Maryland Constitution

A 60 percent majority vote in both chambers of the Maryland State Legislature was required to refer the amendment to the ballot. HB 1415 was approved by the Maryland Senate on April 2, 2014. The amendment was approved by the Maryland House on April 4, 2014. The measure was enrolled as a constitutional referendum on May 5, 2014.[7]

Senate vote

April 2, 2013 Senate vote

Maryland HB 1415 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 47 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

April 4, 2014 House vote

Maryland HB 1415 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 129 95.56%
No64.44%

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

References