The right to vote is the defining characteristic of our democracy, so I must inform the people of St. Mary's about HB447, introduced by Delegate Crosby. This bill, if passed, would have a significant impact on how local commissioners are elected.
Unity is at the heart of St. Mary's county, and it is in all our best interests that the entire county prospers. That's why each person who resides here votes to select all five Commissioners that govern our county. By casting a vote for all five commissioners, we will ensure that each region of the county is considered when determining how to allocate our resources and tax money.
Unfortunately, Delegate Crosby's bill will significantly diminish your voting power in St. Mary's County local elections by decreasing the number of commissioners you can select. You currently have the right to vote for all commissioner candidates on your ballot. However, suppose this new bill becomes law; that freedom will be limited to only voting for two commissioner candidates.
Backers of this bill will tout its value in providing direct representation; however, in my opinion, this is just a smokescreen for the local Democratic Party to get the election outcome they want. Instead of recruiting better candidates that support policies that align with your values, the local Democratic Party has chosen to game the next election by forcing a change from Annapolis without consulting you.
As you can imagine, I have to disagree with this. The current system is fair and equitable and has served St. Mary's County well for over 180 years. However, it is unfair and almost unconscionable to take away citizens' voting power without allowing them first to share their opinions at the ballot box.
As a result, I have proposed a bill for the St. Mary's Delegation to bring this matter up for a public vote in the 2024 General Election. Instead of having our voting rights decided by politicians in Annapolis, I firmly believe that the citizens of St. Mary's County should be given a chance to resolve this issue for themselves.
Thank you for your attention to this critical matter. Together, we can make sure everyone continues to have a voice in their local government.
Link to the proposed legislation. https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/hb0597 Legislative language was based on a ballot question in Queen Anne's County from 2016. That ballot question resulted in Queen Anne's County keeping its current election form similar to St. Mary's County.