Ballot question in Maryland

By and large the material for this blog originates in and revolves around happenings in the District, where yours truly lives, works, and plays. That being said, as an alumna of UMD who was raised in the greater Annapolis area, events in our neighboring state might make a guest appearance from time to time. This is one of those times.

If you have followed Maryland politics at all over the last six years or so, you are probably familiar with the slots debate. Honestly, it isn’t an issue that I’ve ever been passionate about either way, but the amount of time, energy, and political capital expended on both sides of the aisle over the years has been unmatched on any other single issue. The slots debate is rearing its head again in another (potentially final?) form this election day — a referendum to amend the state constitution. On this point, I am extremely, passionately, vehemently opposed.

Having failed to pass and sign a bill after all these years, it was thought putting the idea to voters could end this once and for all. Leaving aside the question of the place of policy-related referenda in a representative democracy, the notion that language pertaining to slots would be written into the constitution is mind-boggling. Even if you are an ardent supporter of slots, a state constitution is not the place for narrow policy prescriptions. This doesn’t belong in there any more than verbiage upholding the traffic law that permits a right turn on a red light. The sheer volume and ubiquitous nature of the slots debate doesn’t elevate it to the level of constitutional question and I sincerely hope everyone considers that, and not just the pros and cons of having slots, when voting on this.


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