HAGERSTOWN — Statewide ballot questions in Maryland can be head-scratchers, not just because of occasionally confusing legal language, but also because they do not always pertain to all voters across the state.
Such is the case with “Question 2” on the Nov. 4 ballot, a proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize, but not require, special elections to fill a vacancy for the office of executive officer or county executive.
The question applies to Maryland counties with a charter home rule form of government. Among those counties to which the proposed amendment does not apply is Washington County, which has a county commissioner form of government.
Charter governments separate the executive and legislative duties, with a county executive performing the former and a county council the latter. Nine counties, soon to be 10 with the addition of Frederick on Dec. 1, operate under this system, according to maryland.gov.
Nine of the state’s charter counties will have elected county executives by the time the amendment takes effect, if it is passed by the state’s voters, according to a summary of the amendment. State law already provides for special elections to fill a vacancy on a county council.
The proposed constitutional amendment that will appear as “Question 1” on the Nov. 4 ballot seeks to ensure that money in the Transportation Trust Fund be used for transportation-related bond payments and for the construction and repair of highways.
If the measure is approved by Maryland voters, it would prevent money from the transportation fund being transferred to the state’s general fund or any non-transportation projects unless the governor declares a fiscal emergency and the Maryland General Assembly passes legislation approving such a transfer by a three-fifths majority in the House and the Senate.
The state’s transportation trust fund primarily is made up of money from the gas tax and the motor vehicle titling tax.
The money is used to fund expenditures of the Maryland Department of Transportation, such as debt service, operating and capital costs, and aid to local governments for road upkeep and repairs.
Registered voters in Washington County can vote early through Thursday at 101 Tandy Drive west of Hagerstown. On Election Day, Nov. 4, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.