Maryland Forward Party

MD FWD Chair Testifies at Frederick Charter Workgroup

07 March, 2024


On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, our chair took some time off work to go testify at the working session of the Frederick County Board of Alderman about the Charter Review Committee Recommendations. There are 19 separate recommendations to the Board of Alderman by the Charter Review Committee, however, two were singled out for the testimony.

Here is the text of the testimony:

Good afternoon - My name is Matthew Beyers and I am a citizen of Frederick County and represent the Maryland Forward Party. While I live just outside the city limits, I am paying close attention to the City Charter Review as it relates to democracy and the way we do politics in Maryland.

In general, I support the recommendations of the Commission, however, I’d like to highlight my support for 2 of these recommendations.

First: Recommendation 9 - Ranked Choice Voting.

As a member of the Maryland Forward party, this is one of our core principles and I highly support this change to promote fairness, civility, and majority in elections. This will ensure that every elected office has a majority elected candidate. It will also encourage candidates to appeal to 2nd and 3rd choice voters beyond their base and thus increases civility in politics. And lastly, it increases fairness because all voters get to vote their conscience while still having their vote count if their preferred candidate is not the first choice. RCV currently works in Takoma Park MD and is being supported by HB 0423 to be available in Montgomery County. My team is currently supporting and promoting RCV in several other municipalities specifically New Carrolton, Laurel, Bowie, Rockville, and Annapolis. If Frederick adopts RCV, it will be a leader in a growing effort to reform elections across the state. We encourage your support for this recommendation.

Second: Recommendation 10 - Primaries.

Non-partisan primaries, where all candidates for an office run in a single primary regardless of party affiliation, is a core principle of the Maryland Forward Party. We would prefer to see the idea of a top-4/top-5 candidate selection from this single primary. The recommendation for semi-open primaries, while not my ideal solution, is a step in the right direction because it involves non-affiliated voters in the primary process and does not require them to switch party affiliation to vote. This is critical because the majority of our voting process is done in the primary system, resulting in a winnowing down of a sea of candidates to a few to run in the general election. Unfortunately, the current primary system is only attended by about 13% of registered voters selecting those candidates and those voters tend to be the most polarized voters and this results in polarized candidates. Involving independent voters in the primary process should result in more moderate candidates with more general appeal to all voters and should lower the tribalism of our current political system. HB 0257 is currently supporting this concept as well and we encourage your support for this recommendation.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my thoughts on these issues.

The Board of Alderman thanked Matt for his time and thoughts and four of them spoke to him afterwards expressing interest in the idea of this new political party dedicated to Grace and Tolerance.

What are your thoughts? Comment below or email us at: [email protected].

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.