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Capitol Showdown: Which ballot box question do you feel is most beneficial and which is most detrimental to the state?

18 November 2012 No Comments

Viewing ballot questions as things to be compared, to be placed above each other in an order of which is most beneficial or harmful is a useless, even vapid exercise. Each question served a purpose and each question was voted for independently of the rest for a reason.

To talk about which is the “best” question would be to misunderstand how law making works. Why would you even begin to compare Question 6 to Question 7? Or any of the other questions? With the exception of the first two questions on the ballot, none of them have anything to do with each other. I understand, and I imagine everyone else understands as well, that some people are more focused on some questions than others, but this doesn’t mean that questions should be talked about as if they’re the same thing or should be compared.

Do we compare No Child Left Behind to the Patriot Act? Why would you?

This question is a very frustrating example of something I’ve noticed going on with political discussions lately.

People are talking about politics as if it is one thing, one singular activity and all parts play into each other or that our system is set up in such a way that we can only take care of important things and never important things at the same time as necessary, albeit somewhat routine reform (Questions 1-3).

Our system is set up so that things like Questions 1-3 can be taken care of at the same time as big hot button issues like Questions 4, 6 and 7. Making sure that judges are in good standing with the Bar is generally considered a pretty necessary step, but does this make it more or less important than another Question on the ballot?

Consider issues individually, develop personal priorities, but don’t speak about them as if they are fact. I’m not putting my pet issues on display as “being most important of the state of Maryland,” and I think doing so is silly.

This question is a terrible oversimplification of the entire concept of a referendum.

– Geoff Lowry, College Democrats of Towson




Most Beneficial:  Question 6—Civil Marriage Protection Act

Before the 2012 Election, voters have had the chance to express their opinion on same-sex marriage at the ballot box in 32 states—all of which failed to support marriage equality. But this year was different. For the first time ever, Maryland, Washington, and Maine voters redefined marriage by popular vote.

With the increase in states adopting marriage equality, it appears our nation’s laws are finally entering the 21st century.

The freedom to marry is a fundamental right that should not have to be won by a popular vote. No minority should have their rights subjected to the compassions and beliefs of the majority. If the state is going to be in the business of licensing relationships, then it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples that want to be civilly married.

I believe the issue of same-sex marriage is a generational one—a battle that social conservatives have lost. We, as a society, should celebrate when two consenting adults make a lifelong, loving commitment to each other, not forbid it. Maryland is setting the precedent for all states to follow—where all people have equal protection under the law.

Most Detrimental:  Question 5—Congressional Districting Plan

Gerrymandering has been used for 200 years to undermine political competition. Maryland’s 6th congressional district is a prime example of political gerrymandering, where Annapolis Democrats carved the districts in a way that would enable them to pick up another House seat.

If voters had rejected Question 5, it would have sent a message back to O’Malley, that voters have had enough with partisan gerrymandering. However, Question 5 passed.

For the next ten years, Maryland will have unfair and irrational districts, which means the current elected officials will have no competition. The support of Question 5 has left voters disenfranchised, communities broken up along district lines, and the political powers of minority voters are now diluted.

– Alexis Gallagher, College Republicans

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