Why you should vote for State Question 1

Sure there are a few places that have been talking about Question 1 for a few years now, but only recently has Question 1 been getting even a moderate amount of press, and most voters probably have no idea that it is even on the ballot.

What is Question 1? It’s a Constitutional required provision that requires every twenty years that we be asked if we want to hold a Constitutional Convention:

Question 1
Constitutional Question
(Senate Bill 26, Chapter 9 of the 2010 Legislative Session)
Maryland Constitutional Convention

Should a constitutional convention be called for the purpose of changing the Maryland Constitution?

Under Article XIV, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution the General Assembly is required to ask the voters every 20 years whether a constitutional convention should be called for the purpose of altering the Maryland Constitution.

If a majority of voters support a Constitutional Convention, we will go to the polls and elect 188 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in a non-partisan election. Those Delegates will go to Annapolis and literally have the opportunity to write a new constitution to put before the people of Maryland.

Now there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily think this is such a great idea. Kevin Dayhoff is concerned, for example, that this would turn into a liberal field day. However, I tend to disagree with that assessment. A Constitutional Convention would elect Delegates, as I previously mentioned, would elect Delegates in a non-partisan manner. In the last Constitutional Convention in 1967, fewer than a quarter of the elected Delegates were in fact elected officials. That means instead of getting entrenched liberal politicians with an ax to grind, we are going to get more real people than we would otherwise. That means something.

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The second reason to hold such a convention is the opportunity that conservatives would have to publicly discuss and debate conservative ideas. As it stands, a lot of conservative ideas don’t get fair hearings in the State Senate and the House of Delegates due to the leadership structure and the fact that Mike Miller and Mike Busch make sure that those ideas get put in a drawer somewhere. Miller and Busch would not be the controlling legal authority of such a Constitutional Convention. That means Delegates can have real discussions about real issues. Things like term limits, nonpartisan redistricting commissions and a score of other issues can be get a fair public hearing. That’s important in a state like ours.

Even if the Constitutional Convention produces a document, there’s a good chance that the voters will reject it; the last Constitutional Convention produced a document that was rejected by a two-to-one margin. But as it stands, Marylanders have few ways to directly impact the way we are governed. The lack of influence with entrenched legislators and the lack of the initiative process means that we can only do so much. A Constitutional Convention is something that we can do in order to try and give Maryland the government structure we need to prosper.

I voted early yesterday, and I voted for Question 1. I hope you do to.

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