League of Women Vot­ers should in­form vot­ers more thor­oughly

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

The League of Women Vot­ers con­ducts a state-wide can­di­dates sur­vey. All that re­ally needs to be known about those seek­ing re-elec­tion — such as Con­gress­men Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cum­mings, etc. — are their vot­ing records.

The proper ques­tion to ask is if they now dis­sent from any of their votes, and why. If the can­di­dates have held of­fice be­fore, their vot­ing record should be dis­played. Only the new can­di­dates — those that have not held that of­fice be­fore — should re­ceive the ques­tions the league is ask­ing, such as www.lwv­calvert.org/re­sources/Doc­u­ments/2016%20VG%20 for%20Pri­mary%20Elec­tion.pdf. The vot­ing records should be ex­plained in an easy-to-un­der­stand for­mat, cit­ing the leg­is­la­tion num­ber, ti­tle and a brief de­scrip­tion of it. They should also be asked if they dis­agreed with any ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, and why not take ac­tion against them?

The league asks far too much of would-be of­fi­cers, of those con­sid­er­ing open­ing chap­ters in their county. It’s sup­pres­sion — sup­pres­sion of those will­ing to take ac­tion to elect those that would serve their com­mu­nity well. It should be suf­fi­cient that of­fi­cers can just re­cuse them­selves from cer­tain func­tions, if, in­deed, it is a con­flict of in­ter­est.

What the vot­ers guide should look like is ques­tions for the new can­di­dates and an easy-to-read vot­ing record, and ex­pla­na­tion of the vot­ing record for other can­di­dates. No, not their whole en­tire record from when they’ve been in of­fice, but say a min­i­mum of five and max­i­mum of 15 sub­jects that are im­por­tant to Mary­lan­ders and how they’ve voted on them and what the vote means, what it does. It should also in­clude a list of leg­is­la­tion they’ve spon­sored plus a lay­out of com­mit­tee votes or votes they’ve taken in com­mit­tee. Why is ask­ing the can­di­dates philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions more im­por­tant than their vot­ing record that im­pacts Mary­lan­ders?

If the league wishes to put this to­gether, as long as it is com­pleted by the mid­dle of Oc­to­ber, it can still be used. Ab­so­lutely, the work the league does is ap­pre­ci­ated and welcome. They make a dili­gent at­tempt to reach all can­di­dates for the sur­vey.

It would be nice if Democrats had min­i­mum qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments for their can­di­dates, above and be­yond what is in elec­tion law, so that as­sump­tions could be made about Demo­cratic can­di­dates, just be­cause they’re Demo­crat. You would think that this could just be changed by hav­ing a change in the Demo­crat Party by­laws, but no, it must be changed through elec­tion law.

On an­other note, go ahead and re­quest an ab­sen­tee bal­lot, even if you in­tend to vote early or on Elec­tion Day. The bal­lot can be a backup in case you can’t make it to the polls, but it must be mailed or turned in on time. Please make sure to have the street ad­dress of the Elec­tion Board if not us­ing the postal ser­vice.

Happy Con­sti­tu­tion Day. Melissa Davis, La Plata

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