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Voters Weigh in on Referendum Questions

Voters wonder if the volume of referendum questions was slowing balloting, or if more people were coming out to vote because of the questions.

The number of referendum questions on the Maryland ballot this year certainly didn’t deter people from voting. In fact, lines at polling stations around Severna Park and Pasadena were the longest some had ever seen.

Voters wondered whether the questions are drawing more voters, or if it is taking voters longer to get through the ballot because of the questions, thus creating longer wait times.

There are seven statewide ballot questions including petition referendums on in-state college tuition and gay marriage, and expanded gaming. And some counties have specific ballot issues that voters must address. In Anne Arundel County, there are 15 Charter Amendments on the ballot.

“I think it is a little of both,” said Pasadena resident Jerry Shandrowsky. “I think the questions are a lot, but the problem is if people are getting to the polls, and trying to re-read them and figure them out—that takes longer.”

However, Shandrowsky said he thought it was more than just the questions that were drawing record numbers.

“I think there is a more polarized electorate this year, more so than in 2008 and 2004,” he said. “People are more passionate about the presidential vote this year than any time in recent history. I have been at my polling place for most of my life and I’ve never had a line ever. And today it has been constant.”

Alex Yarema, a Pasadena resident and a volunteer for the Dan Bongino and Faith Loudon campaigns, was outside Severna Park Middle School Tuesday afternoon.

Yarema has a vested interest in the questions and said he worked on the recalls related to referendum questions on instate college tuition, Congressional redistricting and gay marriage. However, personally, he was interested in Question 7, expanded gaming that would add live table games to the state's casinos and allow a sixth casino in Prince George's County.

“Personally, I think Question 7 was badly done with the secret sessions and the way it was handled,” Yarema said. “Although I am not against gambling, I think it hurts Anne Arundel County tax-wise.”

Shandrowsky echoed Yarema’s views when it came to Question 7.

“I definitely think Question 7 is a big one; it got the most publicity this time,” Shandrowsky said. “You notice Anne Arundel County has more opposition to Question 7 than any other county and that’s because we have the most to lose because of Maryland Live! If you are traveling to National Harbor, it will kill Maryland Live!”

While Question 7 may be a big issue for Anne Arundel County, when it comes to Question 6 that would affirm or reverse state's Civil Marriage Protection Act, otherwise known as the law allowing for gay marriage, one Severna Park resident feels “very strongly.”

“This is strictly a religious item. It should never have been brought up,” Ken Hoffman said. “There is a religious belief that tells us we shouldn’t have gay marriage and that is fine. This law does not force anyone to perform religious ceremony if they don’t wish to. The law gives people rights more to do with economic rights and medical rights.”

What question are you most eager to see the results for? Tell us in the comments.

Sandra Valenti November 07, 2012 at 09:27 PM
The charter amendment regarding frequency of audits for Anne Arundel County offices poses the question of the additional cost to perform these audits. Will annual audits cost the tax payers more money that one every four years? Does the benefit outweigh the cost?

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