Maryland Forward Party

Maryland Forward Party Advocates at the General Assembly

22 February, 2024

On February 6, Vice Chair PJ Benenati attended the Maryland General Assembly’s Ways & Means Committee to provide in person testimony in support of Delegate Qi’s Bill, HB 0257.

The bill aims to authorize unaffiliated voters to request to affiliate with a political party at an early voting center during a primary election and vote a provisional ballot for the voter’s preferred political party. Additionally, the Maryland Forward Party submitted written testimony in support of the following bills:

1. Supporting w/ amendments HB 0423 - Authorizing the Montgomery County Council to adopt, by law, a ranked choice voting method or an approval voting method for elections in certain election offices; and authorizing the council to provide for the format of ballots to be used in an election conducted by ranked choice voting or approval voting.

2. Supporting HB 0347 - Establishing requirements for the filling of a vacancy in the office of a Senator or Delegate in the General Assembly by a central committee of a political party under the Maryland Constitution relating applications, public notice, public meetings, and voting; and requiring a member of the central committee who has applied to fill the vacancy to recuse themselves from voting on the individual to fill the vacancy.

3. Supporting HB 0412 - Proposing a constitutional amendment to require that a special election be held at the same time as the regular statewide primary and general elections that are held in the second year of the term to fill a vacancy in the office of Delegate or Senator in the General Assembly if the vacancy occurs on or before the date that is 55 days before the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy for the regular statewide election; and requiring the amendment to be submitted to the qualified voters of the State for adoption or rejection.

The latter two house bills touch on the topics of filling vacant legislative seats. The common methods employed throughout the U.S are either appointments or special elections. Appointments are quicker and cost effective, but are inherently undemocratic, as appointees are unelected. Special elections allow voters to choose who fills the vacant seat, but they are time-consuming due to a variety of factors in efficiently organizing them, leaving the seat vacant for an extended period and constituents in that district unrepresented.

So, which one is better? Well, perhaps there is a third option that is not mentioned as much. Check out this blog post from Pete Olivier-Krueger, Chair of the Priorities and Policies Committee, where he discusses an alternative to appointments and special elections.

Appointments or Special Elections? There Is a 3rd Option


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