Vot­ers to de­cide on two statewide bal­lot ques­tions

The Avenue News - - NEWS - By HAR­RI­SON CANN

AN­NAPO­LIS — Com­mer­cial gam­ing and voter reg­is­tra­tion may not be hot top­ics in the Mary­land gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion, but vot­ers will have a say in their fu­ture.

Across the state, vot­ers will have the op­por­tu­nity to de­cide on two bal­lot ques­tions — both amend­ments to the Mary­land Con­sti­tu­tion — in the gen­eral elec­tion.

One amend­ment would re­quire the gov­er­nor to bud­get com­mer­cial gam­ing rev­enues for sup­ple­men­tal pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, and the other would al­low same-day voter reg­is­tra­tion on Elec­tion Day.

The first ques­tion spec­i­fies that, start­ing in 2020, the ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing from gam­ing rev­enues must be sup­ple­men­tal, and can­not be used as a sub­sti­tute for other schools fund­ing that is al­ready re­quired by law.

If the con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment is ap­proved, the gov­er­nor must al­lo­cate at least $125 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2020, $250 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2021, and $375 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2022.

The amend­ment states that the gov­er­nor iden­tify where the sup­ple­men­tal fund­ing be used within cer­tain pa­ram­e­ters, in­clud­ing early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams and school con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tions.

The sec­ond ques­tion would amend the state con­sti­tu­tion to al­low qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als to reg­is­ter and vote on the same day.

Cur­rent law al­lows same-day reg­is­tra­tion and vot­ing dur­ing the early vot­ing pe­riod, the sec­ond Thurs­day be­fore the elec­tion through the Thurs­day be­fore the elec­tion. This amend­ment would ex­pand that to in­clude Elec­tion Day, ac­cord­ing to the Board of Elec­tions.

Bal­lot ques­tions have a his­tory of be­ing passed in Mary­land. Ac­cord­ing to the Board of Elec­tions, about 90 per­cent of bal­lot ques­tions have been ap­proved since the turn of the cen­tury, with an av­er­age of about three ques­tions per bal­lot in midterm years.

Mar yland’s lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions can also prof­fer their own lo­cal bal­lot ques­tions.

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