Council of Governments pushes for straw poll
CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Council of Governments continues to push for by-district voting, which is a question on the upcoming election ballot.
At its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 14, representatives from towns throughout Queen Anne’s County voted in favor of the by-district straw poll. In attendance were representatives from town governments in Sudlersville, Barclay, Church Hill, Queen Anne, Centreville and Queenstown.
The issue will appear as a non-binding question on the next election’s ballot, asking if the four county commissioners should be elected only by the voters of the district in which the candidate resides. The fifth commissioner will remain elected at large.
If enacted, the voter would have two county commissioner representatives, one from the district in which the voter lives and the atlarge commissioner.
County Commissioner Jim Moran, who also attended the meeting, spoke in favor of the proposal. He said people can find candidates to run and win by spending large amounts of money. “The process is right now you can buy these seats,” Moran said.
He also argued that, by keeping the same
commissioners though different elections, it provides a continuity to the process. Also, having five independent commissioners forces them to work with each other, he said.
Moran and others at the meeting encouraged people to join the Facebook site called Citizens for Equal Representation which promotes by-district voting. The Facebook site takes the place of a flyer, Moran said.
As for citizens who don’t have the internet, people at the meeting suggested getting funding for putting up signs and handing out flyers.
George “Smokey” Sigler, president of the County Council of Governments, held up a giant poster board, which encouraged people to vote in favor of the proposal. The poster had an X on it to show in favor, but one person at the meeting suggested putting a check mark there instead. Also, some members noticed several typos in the poster.
Another member had an example flyer to hand out.
This isn’t the first time the Council of Governments discussed this issue and ways to get spread the word. At the meeting in June, the members had a similar discussion.
At the meeting on Sept. 14, Sigler announced that the League of Women Voters of Queen Anne’s County will hold two forums in October where the issue will be discussed.
The organization has scheduled a public informational forum at 6:30 p.m. at Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Sudersville Senior Center and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Queen Anne’s County Public Library on Kent Island.
There will be a moderator and panelists, pro and con, at the forums, and the public can ask questions, said Barbara Sharkey, president of the county’s League of Women Voters organization. The group prefers that members of the public not give an opinion, but rather ask questions, and no lobbying is permitted inside the place where the forums are held, she said.
Sigler encouraged members of the County Council on Governments to attend the forums and ask questions.
The issue will appear as Question A on the ballot during the next election. It asks, For or Against, for the following question: “Do you favor changing the method of selection of four of the five members of the Queen Anne’s County Board of County Commissioners from the current method of being elected at large by the voters of Queen Anne’s County, with one member residing in each of the four election districts, to a new method where each of the four members is elected by only the voters of the district in which the member resides and the fifth member is elected at large and may reside in any district of the County?”
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8, but early voting is from Thursday, Oct. 27, through Thursday, Nov. 3.
George “Smokey” Sigler, president of the Queen Anne’s County Council of Governments, holds up a mock poster advocating passage of the straw poll this coming election.