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Voters Guide - Ballot questions

October 30, 2006

Three statewide constitutional amendments and a referendum will appear on the 2006 gubernatorial general election ballot. More information about the amendments and the referendum may be found on the League of Women Voters of Maryland Web site at www.lwvmd.org.




Question 1 - Constitutional Amendment

Disposition of Park Lands

The Board of Public Works may not approve the sale, transfer, exchange, grant or other permanent disposition of any state-owned outdoor recreation, open space, conservation, preservation, forest or park land without the express approval of the General Assembly or of a committee that the General Assembly designates by statute, resolution or rule.

A vote "For" means: The procedure, which requires the Board of Public Works to obtain General Assembly approval of the sale of state-owned recreation or open space land, may not be changed without the approval of another Constitutional Amendment by the voters in a General Election.

A vote "Against" means: The procedure, which requires the Board of Public Works to obtain General Assembly approval of the sale of state-owned recreation or open space land, may be changed by an Act of any General Assembly session.

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Question 2 - Constitutional Amendment

Circuit Court in Banc Decisions

Allows appeals to the Court of Special Appeals from a decision by an in banc circuit court.

A vote "For" the Constitutional Amendment would allow an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals to be made when a circuit court in banc review of three judges decides against a case. It would also provide uniform procedures throughout the state because procedures for filing and considering appeals to three-judge panels will be governed by the Maryland Rules.

A vote "Against" the Constitutional Amendment would not allow an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals and each circuit court will continue to make regulations concerning these appeals.




Question 3 - Constitutional Amendment

Civil Jury Trials

Authorizes the enactment of legislation that limits the right to trial by jury in civil proceedings to those proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000.

A vote "For" the Constitutional Amendment would raise the amount of damages entitling the plaintiff to a trial by jury to $10,000.

A vote "Against" the Constitutional Amendment would retain the amount of damages entitling a trial by jury at $5,000.




Referendum - Election Law Revisions

Special Note: Provisions of this legislation would have amended prior legislation providing an early voting option to voters in primary and general elections. The early voting provisions of this legislation have been declared unconstitutional by court action; the remaining provisions of House Bill 1368 that are subject to this referendum are summarized below.

- Requires power and duties assigned to the State Board of Elections to be exercised in accordance with an affirmative vote by a supermajority of the members of the State Board.

- Requires local boards of elections to establish new precincts to serve certain higher educational institutions.

- Requires local boards to adopt regulations concerning voter registration and to allow public notice and comment concerning proposed changes in precinct boundaries.

- Requires local boards of elections to make public reports concerning deletion of individuals from the voter registry and concerning the number of voter registration applications received.

- Authorizes the State Elections administrator to take specified actions to ensure compliance with State elections laws by local election boards and personnel.

- Requires that certain provisions of this legislation apply only to certain jurisdictions and will remain effective until June 30, 2008.

- Requires all polling places to be equipped with computers containing a record of all registered voters in the county.

A vote "For" the referendum would maintain all provisions of the bill.

A vote "Against" the referendum would repeal the provisions of the bill.

Source: League of Women Voters of Maryland

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