This is a federal office, representing all of Maryland.
Primary candidates: Joseph Alexander (R)
, Robert Broadus (R)
, William Thomas Capps Jr. (R), Richard Douglas (R)
, Rick Hoover (R), David Jones (R)
, John Kimble (R)
, Brian Vaeth (R), Corrogan R. Vaughn (R), Raymond Levi Blagmon (D), J.P. Cusick (D)
, Chris Garner (D)
, Ralph Jaffe (D), C. Anthony Muse (D), Blaine Taylor (D)
, Ed Tinus (D), Lih Young (D)
Gazette endorsement: Cardin remains best choice for U.S. Senate
This is a federal office. It encompasses parts of Baltimore City and Baltimore, Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.
This is a federal office. The Fourth District covers parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.
This is a federal office. The Fifth District includes parts of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's, Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.
This is a federal office. The Sixth District stretches from Western Maryland through parts of Frederick and Montgomery counties in Central Maryland.
Primary candidates: Kathy Afzali (R), David Brinkley (R), Robert Coblentz (R)
, Robin Ficker (R)
, Peter James (R)
, Joseph Krysztoforski (R)
, Brandon Rippeon (R)
, Charles Bailey (D)
, Robert J. Garagiola (D)
, Ron Little (D)
, Milad Pooran (D)
This is a federal office. The district is made up of portions of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties.
This is for three of the seven seats on the Frederick County school board.
The race is nonpartisan, so voters select three candidates in the general election.
This election is for two of seven elected seats on the Montgomery County school board.
There are two candidates each for the at-large, Dist. 2 and Dist. 4 seats up for election this year. Voters select one candidate each for at-large and for their home district. This race is nonpartisan.
This is for five of nine seats on the county school board.
There are two candidates each in Dist. 1, Dist. 4, Dist. 5, Dist. 7 and Dist. 8. This race is nonpartisan.
There are seven statewide ballot questions. Additionally, there are seven in Prince George's County, two in Montgomery County, one in Montgomery County's District 12 only and one in Frederick County.
Constitutional amendment: Qualifications for Prince George’s County Orphans’ Court judges (Amending Article IV, Section 40 of the Maryland Constitution).
Question language: Requires judges of the Orphans’ Court for Prince George’s County to be admitted to practice law in this State and to be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.
What it means: Under current law, only orphans' court judges in Baltimore city are required to be attorneys. In other jurisdictions - with the exception of Montgomery and Harford Counties, where circuit court judges sit as the orphans' court - judges only need to be residents of the state and the county in which they serve. These amendments, adopted in 2011 and 2012, respectively, would extend the Baltimore city requirement to Prince George's and Baltimore Counties.
Constitutional amendment: Qualifications for Baltimore County Orphans’ Court judges (Amending Article IV, Section 40 of the Maryland Constitution).
Question language: Requires judges of the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore County to be admitted to practice law in this State and to be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.
What it means: Under current law, only orphans' court judges in Baltimore city are required to be attorneys. In other jurisdictions - with the exception of Montgomery and Harford Counties, where circuit court judges sit as the orphans' court - judges only need to be residents of the state and the county in which they serve. These amendments, adopted in 2011 and 2012, respectively, would extend the Baltimore city requirement to Prince George's and Baltimore counties.
Constitutional amendment: Suspension and removal of elected officials (Amending Article XV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution).
Question language: Changes the point at which an elected official charged with certain crimes is automatically suspended or removed from office. Under existing law, an elected official who is convicted or pleads no contest is suspended and is removed only when the conviction becomes final. Under the amended law, an elected official is suspended when found guilty and is removed when the conviction becomes final or when the elected official pleads guilty or no contest.
What it means: If approved, this amendment will close a loophole in state law that allows elected officials accused of felonies and misdemeanors related to their official duties to stay in office even after they are found guilty. Under current law, officials are not required to step down until sentencing, which can be months after a guilty verdict is reached or a guilty plea is entered.
Former Prince George's County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson (D-Dist. 6) of Mitchellville drew fire for staying in office for a month after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges in June 2011.
The amendment calls for officials to be automatically suspended at the finding of guilt and removed at sentencing, when the conviction becomes final. Officials who plead guilty or no contest would be removed at sentencing.
Referendum petition: Public institutions of higher education – tuition rates.
Question language: Establishes that individuals, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges in Maryland, provided the student meets certain conditions relating to attendance and graduation from a Maryland high school, filing of income taxes, intent to apply for permanent residency, and registration with the selective service system (if required); makes such students eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at a four-year public college or university if the student has first completed 60 credit hours or graduated from a community college in Maryland; provides that students qualifying for in-state tuition rates by this method will not be counted as in-state students for purposes of counting undergraduate enrollment; and extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates.
What it means: The Maryland Dream Act, passed in 2011, allows some undocumented immigrants to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Eligible students must be Maryland high school graduates, have filed income taxes, intend to become legal residents and have studied at a community college, among other requirements. They would be considered among out-of-state applicants so as not to take admission slots that would otherwise go to legal state residents.
Supporters argue that the act is fair since eligible students have graduated from high school and their families pay taxes and believe it will help build a strong, educated workforce. Opponents have argued that since the state will lose out on money paid by out-of-state students, taxpayer funds will be paying for immigrants who are here illegally.
Referendum petition: Congressional districting plan.
Question language: Establishes the boundaries for the State’s eight United States Congressional Districts based on recent census figures, as required by the United States Constitution.
What it means: Lawmakers adopted new boundaries for the state's eight congressional districts in 2011. Opponents argue that new districts are convoluted and don't provide fair representation. If the map is overturned, lawmakers will have to redraw the district lines.
You can click on the maps at right to pull up larger versions and take a better look at the proposed districts.
Referendum petition: Civil Marriage Protection Act.
Question language: Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.
What it means: The General Assembly voted this year to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples, but opponents petitioned it to the ballot. The law does not require clergy to perform same-sex marriages and includes protections for religious organizations that don't want to offer goods or services to same-sex couples.
Referendum: Gaming expansion.
Question language: Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education to authorize video lottery operation licensees to operate “table games” as defined by law; to increase from 15,000 to 16,500 the maximum number of video lottery terminals that may be operated in the State; and to increase from 5 to 6 the maximum number of video lottery operation licenses that may be awarded in the State and allow a video lottery facility to operate in Prince George’s County?
What it means: Lawmakers voted in August to expand the state's gambling program by allowing table games, such as blackjack and roulette, at the state's existing slots casinos and allowing a sixth casino license to be located in Prince George's County.
MGM Resorts International has said it wants to build a high-end, destination resort and casino at the waterfront National Harbor development in Oxon Hill; critics, including the owners of the Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County, argue that a new casino would hurt their business.
Adding table games will require statewide approval, but allowing a Prince George's casino will be conditional on the outcome of this question among county voters. If it receives statewide approval but is voted down by Prince George's residents, the casino will not be authorized, according to the bill.
If the new casino is allowed, Maryland Live! and a planned facility in Baltimore city will receive adjustments to their tax rate to compensate them for the additional competition.
Adoption of County Charter.
Question language: Do you approve the adoption of the Charter of Frederick County proposed by the Frederick County Charter Board?
What it means: Frederick County voters will decide in November whether to switch from a board of county commissioners to a charter form of government led by a county executive and county council.
The current proposal would create a county executive and seven-member county council who would take office in December 2014. Five of the council members would be voted on by district, while two would run for at-large seats.
County voters rejected a similar proposal in 1991. If the measure is successful, Frederick would join Baltimore city and 10 other Maryland counties with charter government.
Charter amendment: Merit system - Hiring individuals with disabilities.
Question language: Amend Section 401 of the County Charter to allow the County to operate a program within the merit system to recruit and select qualified individuals with severe physical and mental disabilities on a noncompetitive basis.
What it means: The question would enable the Montgomery County Council to pass legislation that would give the county powers to recruit, select, and hire persons with significant physical or cognitive disabilities.
Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg proposed the system to resemble the federal government's Schedule A, which allows people who are disabled to seek noncompetitive appointments. The amendment would enable the new powers. The council would still have to pass legislation.
Referendum: Effects bargaining for police employees.
Question language: Shall the Act to modify the scope of collective bargaining with police employees to permit the exercise of certain management rights without first bargaining the effects of those rights on police employees become law?
What it means: The question would let pass a County Council ordinance that eliminated the police union's right to effects bargaining, where the union can take most management decisions to contract negotiations.
In July 2011, the County Council eliminated the right of the Montgomery County Police's Fraternal Order of Police to take management decisions to collective bargaining. The police can still bargain over wages, benefits and some working conditions. Police department management can make decisions such as staffing, transfers and new equipment without consulting the union.
Referendum (Dist. 12 only): Alcoholic beverages law for Damascus.
Question language: Repealing the prohibition on issuing licenses for alcoholic beverages in Damascus (12th election district) and authorizing Class H licenses to be issued there to sell for on-site consumption beer and light wine in hotels and restaurants that meet certain conditions.
What it means: Voters in District 12 will be voting to decide if the laws against selling alcohol in Damascus restaurants should be repealed. If the referendum passes, restaurants would be able to receive licenses to sell beer and light wine.
The bill would forbid licenses to be issued to any restaurant that has pool tables, dart boards, video games and other forms of entertainment. Only patrons who are seated would be allowed to be served.
Referendum: Proposed charter amendment.
Question language: To authorize legislative action on the decennial County Council redistricting plan by resolution upon notice and public hearing.
What it means: The amendment performs an administrative tweak to the county's existing rules for redistricting. Every 10 years since 1982, the county has been required to redesign its internal district boundaries. The process to undertake that was performed and completed this year after a series of worksessions and public hearings.
Ordinarily the product of that work goes into effect on the final day of November, barring any further action by the County Council. If County Council opted to tweak or change or go forward with its own initiative it would have to pass a bill to go forward. Passing a bill requires at least three public readings of the measure and can take about six weeks to complete and another 45 days to take effect. The change before voters would allow the council to approve changes with a less complicated resolution that requires only two readings and be completed in a few weeks, said Karen Zavakos, legislative officer for the council. This amendment to the charter would enable the council to approve the redistricting map by a resolution which only requires two public readings and can be passed faster.
Referendum: Proposed charter amendment.
Question language: To amend the procedure for approval of multiyear contracts by resolution of the County Council upon notice and public hearing.
What it means: This amendment alters a county law that deals with multiyear contracts or expenditures at or above $100,000. Under existing law, multiyear contracts that call for the county to pay a contractor $100,000 or a group of contractors $500,000 or more must be approved in most circumstance with a bill by the County Council. Passing a bill requires at least three public readings of the measure and can take about six weeks to complete. Once passed a 45 day period would then have to pass before the contract would go into effect. This change before voters would allow the council to approve such contracts with a less complicated resolution that requires only two readings and be completed in a few weeks and would include the 45 day delay, said Karen Zavakos, legislative officer for the council. Such a change would allow the county council to be more nimble in contract negotiations with area businesses while still maintaining public input, Zavakos said.
Referendum: Library facilities bonds.
Question language: An Act enabling the County to borrow money and issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $45,150,000 to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation or repair of library facilities, as defined therein.
What it means: The measure would allow the county to take out bonds and spend up to $45,150,000 on projects for the Prince George's County Memorial Library System to pay for construction or repairs to library facilities or to purchase additional facilities. The county library system has put forth a range of projects that they aim to put the money towards.
Projects range from any last minute needs that the South Bowie Library, which is planned to open Oct. 22 might need to allowing for the gutting and rebuilding of the Hyattsville Library. The Hyattsville branch is the oldest in the system and is visited by around 650,000 people and has about 600,000 items checked out annually, said Michael Gannon, associate director for administrative services for PGCMLS.
"All branches are really aging," he said. "Most branches were built in the 1960s or 1980s and they either need to be replaced or rebuilt."
Referendum: County buildings bonds.
Question language: An Act enabling the County to borrow money and issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $75,823,000 to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation or repair of county buildings, as defined therein.
What it means: The county hopes to borrow money and issue bonds to fund the construction, renovation or acquisition of county buildings. The county, however, cannot exceed $75,823,000 in bond issuances or borrowing.
Referendum: Public safety facilities bonds.
Question language: An Act enabling the County to borrow money and issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $156,354,000 to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation or repair of public safety facilities (including fire department facilities), as defined therein.
What it means: This act authorizes the Prince George's County government to borrow up to $156,354,000 to finance a variety of projects for the county's first responders, including renovations to existing police stations and facilities used by firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel.
This bond bill would provide funding for a horde of maintinence and repair work at county police and fire and EMS stations across the county. Much of that funding would go toward the county's fire and EMS department which manages around 50 facilities across the county many of which endure the wear and tear of heavy use, said Marc S. Bashoor, the county's fire chief.
"These are buildings that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's rough running," he said. "We have maintence work that has been going on at all facilities."
Referendum: Public works and transportation facilities bond.
Question language: An Act enabling the County to borrow money and issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $193,383,000 to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation or repair of public works and transportation facilities (including roads and bridges, parking lots, and maintenance facilities), as defined therein.
What it means: This referendum would allow the county to borrow a maximum of $193,383,000 to pay for various improvements to things such as roads and bridges, parking lots and maintenance facilities. The money would allow for work such as repaving of roads, fixing area bridges and making areas compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, said Susan Hubbard, spokeswoman for the Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation.
"They're all over the county," she said.
Referendum: Community college facilities bonds.
Question language: An Act enabling the County to borrow money and issue bonds in an amount not exceeding $156,047,000 to finance the design, construction, reconstruction, extension, acquisition, improvement, enlargement, alteration, renovation, relocation, rehabilitation or repair of community college facilities, as defined therein.
What it means: This act enabled the county to take out up to $156,047,000 in bond funding in order to finance a variety of improvements at Prince George's Community College, which serves about 40,000 students for credit and non-credit classes. Work ranges from potentially spending millions $8 million or more repave roads and alter the way traffic circulates on the campus to renovating existing campus facilities and building new ones.
Included under this building request is a plan for the campus to build a Health and Wellness Center in 2019. The facility that would cost probably cost around $45 million would be a multipurpose facility that would include a gym, open space and classroom space, said Thomas Knapp, the college's vice president for administrative services.
The bond bill is needed as the college doesn't have the financial resources on its own to fund such work, Knapp said.
"We don't have the funding on our own to do this," he said. "What you see programmed now should satisfy the needs of the campus over the next 10 years."