Do we need a new Maryland Constitution?

Well, we have 20 years to think about it. In the election last week, the Maryland State Board of Elections reported that, for Statewide Ballot Question No. 1, the total votes were 868,220 (54 percent) for and 725,534 (46 percent) against. However, the Maryland Constitutional provision requiring this question to be put to the populace every twenty years has a slight quirk— a majority of voters at the election must approve the calling of a Constitutional Convention. That means, if you had no opinion about the question last week and abstained from voting on that one question, you were effectively voting “no.” So, the Maryland State Board of Elections website is misleading. Using this new math, and assuming that every voter placed a vote for the election of governor (I’m sure there some who didn’t, but probably not many) there were 868,220 (48 percent) for and 925,620 (52 percent) against. So the question failed by about 28,701 votes, if my math is right. I have to admit, I struggled with this question more than any other on the ballot.

One comment

  1. I would like to clarify the nature of the $3.5 million Maryland con-con cost estimate from the 1967-8 convention, which has been used and widely cited by opponents of a Maryland con-con to project the cost of the con-con that could have been approved by voters on Nov. 2, 2010. The legislature actually only appropriated $1.2 million for the con-con. To my knowledge, most of the balance was spent on items, such as the election, that need not have been allocated to the con-con. It should be understood that cost numbers tend to be highly politicized and are generally created by public officials strongly opposed to convening a con-con. I think a better cost number to use is the highly successful Montana con-con from 1972. That con-con cost about $600,000, or about $2.5 million in today’s dollars. For a more detailed discussion about costs, see my article co-authored with Alan Tarr, “A Historic Year for State Con-Cons.” This and other related information can be found at http://www.MarylandConCon.org. If anyone wants to join a suit against the state of Maryland for printing highly misleading information on this ballot question, which suppressed the vote, please contact me.

    –J.H. Snider, MarylandConCon.org