Maryland Special Elections for County Executive Vacancies Amendment, Question 2 (2014)
- 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.
- Allow county executive special elections to be conducted by mail.
Text of measure
The official ballot text is as follows:
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 261 of the 2014 Legislative Session)
(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
|Article XI–A – Local Legislation|
Article XVII – Quadrennial Elections
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.
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. Currently, counties are allowed to hold special elections for county council positions, but not for county executive positions. If a county executive position becomes vacant, then the county council appoints someone to fill the vacancy.
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."
- 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].”
Media editorial positions
- 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."
- 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."
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.
April 2, 2013 Senate vote
|Maryland HB 1415 Senate Vote|
April 4, 2014 House vote
|Maryland HB 1415 House Vote|
- General Assembly of Maryland, "House Bill 1415," accessed June 3, 2014
- Maryland Board of Elections, "2014 Statewide Ballot Questions," accessed August 29, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Maryland Department of Legislative Services, "Fiscal and Policy Note," accessed June 17, 2014
- Montgomery County Council, "Montgomery County Council Press Releases & Statements," January 28, 2014
- Gazette.net, "State constitutional amendment has local roots," August 28, 2014
- Capitol Impact, "Maryland Association of Counties in Support of House Bill 1415," accessed June 18, 2014
- Bethesda Magazine, "With Little Debate, County Democrats Endorse Issue Questions On November Ballot," September 18, 2014
- Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, "State ballot questions deserve ‘yes’ votes," October 10, 2014
- The Star Democrat, "Vote FOR Questions 1, 2 on Md. ballot," October 19, 2014
- Maryland Legislature, "HB1415 History," accessed June 17, 2014
State of Maryland
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Comptroller | Treasurer | Superintendent of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation | Chairman of Public Service Commission |