Maryland Voters to Decide on Two Statewide Ballot Questions

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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.

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

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