Sunday, October 07, 2012

Answers to the Big Questions

There are three big ballot questions for Maryland voters to weigh in on November 6th, the expansion of gambling, in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants and gay marriage. After a series of conversations I've had with a cross section of voters over the past few weeks, I’m ready to make the following predictions:

Question 7. This is also being referred to as proposition 7 in the multi-million ad campaigns designed to sway voters to either vote yes or no to expanding gambling in the state. Voting yes would allow table games in all existing casinos and would permit the establishment of sixth casino in Prince Georges county, most likely in National Harbor. Most of the folks I've spoken with are disgusted with the process that put this question on the ballot. I think the voters will deliver a decisive “No” if only to send a message to their state legislators.

Question 6. This is the Civil Marriage Protection Act. A yes vote on this question will allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a Maryland marriage license. The general consensus I’m getting from people is that this is a non-issue. If people want to get to married, let ‘em. Everyone should be entitled to the same joys and miseries of being legally married and the same consequences of divorce. I believe the voters will give this a yes, though probably not as decisively as Question 7.

Question 4. This question seems to be the most divisive. Question 4, also referred to as the “Dream Act,” would allow children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges and four-year institutions. In speaking to voters I've found that many people have a misconception of what this question is really about. I've had people tell me it will deprive children of legal residents scholarships and that will it will make it more difficult for the children of legal residents to get into the University of Maryland. Here is the official ballot language:

“Establishes that individuals, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at community colleges in Maryland, provided the student meets certain conditions relating to attendance and graduation from a Maryland high school, filing of income taxes, intent to apply for permanent residency, and registration with the selective service system (if required); makes such students eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at a four-year public college or university if the student has first completed 60 credit hours or graduated from a community college in Maryland; provides that students qualifying for in-state tuition rates by this method will not be counted as in-state students for purposes of counting undergraduate enrollment; and extends the time in which honorably discharged veterans may qualify for in-state tuition rates.”

I think this will be close but that it will pass, by a squeaker.

You can find the complete sample ballot for HoCo voters here.
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