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The four ballot questions facing Maryland's voters

November 03, 2006

Next Tuesday, Maryland residents who go to the polls will cast ballots for a variety of candidates. But they will also face four ballot questions.

In years past, some of these questions dealt with matters relevant only to other counties. But in 2006, voters should pay attention to all four and consider their choices carefully.

What follows is a summary of the questions drawn from a report compiled by the League of Women Voters of Maryland (LWV). However, the recommendations are The Herald-Mail's.

Question No. 1 is a proposed amendment to Maryland's constitution that would prohibit the sale of parkland or open space worth more than $100,000 without permission form the General Assembly.

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This seems prudent. In lean times, one of the solutions often considered is the sale of public assets. It should not be done hastily or without oversight.

Question No. 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with the right of a person who appeals his or her case to a three-judge panel of circuit court judges to appeal their decision

Presently, the LWV report says, the three-judge ruling is binding on the person who filed the appeal, while the other side may appeal. It doesn't seem as though the right to appeal should be available to only one side in a case. We back a "yes" vote.

Question No. 3 is a constitutional amendment which would limit civil jury trial to those seeking $10,000 or more. Presently, the amount is $5,000.

The LWV said the change is designed to unclog the courts by forcing plaintiffs in relatively small cases to have a judge decide their case. We favor the change.

Question No. 4 is a statewide referendum on election law revisions. It results from an emergency law passed in the 2006 General Assembly, which Gov. Robert Ehrlich vetoed.

The General Assembly overrode his veto, but a group gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot.

If there is one issue on which there should be bipartisan agreement, it should be election law. After all, the party is power may not always hold that position. We recommend a vote against this proposition, with a strong admonition that Maryland's political parties try again in 2007 to work out their differences.




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Editor's note: If we do not have your election-related letter in hand at this time, it will not run prior to Nov. 7. Though we've added extra space this coming Sunday, Nov. 5, we've filled all of it. Letters in hand that can't be published will be posted to our Web site at www.herald-mail.com as soon as possible.

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