Vote YES on Question 2
It shouldn't take a Constitutional Amendment to require General Assembly members to live in their district. But it does and we should support that.
If there is one thing that we know to be certain in politics it’s that politicians will create systems and then immediately abuse them.
Article III, Section 9 of the Maryland Constitution reads:
A person is eligible to serve as a Senator or Delegate, who on the date of his election, (1) is a citizen of the State of Maryland, (2) has resided therein for at least one year next preceding that date, and (3) if the district which he has been chosen to represent has been established for at least six months prior to the date of his election, has resided in that district for six months next preceding that date.
There is ambiguity regarding “resided therein” because just because you reside someplace doesn’t mean you have to live there. That’s at least in the mind of lawyers and certain members of the General Assembly (almost always Democrats) who live in a district that is different than the one they represent but maintain a residence in their district to maintain their eligibility.
Normal people don’t do this, but politicians will try to get away with anything.
Question 2 seeks to change that.
This Amendment would add an additional requirement to the qualifications of members of the General Assembly. Instead of just being required to maintain a residence in their District for six months immediately prior to an election. This would also require the Senator or Delegate to maintain their “place of abode” within the District.
Unfortunately “place of abode” is not defined in the Constitution. Hopefully, it will be further defined by other additional statutes since definitions vary. Those definitions will be necessary since the current definitions have been so abused by several Delegates and Senators.
They’ve done it once. They’ll do it again if “place of abode” remains undefined.
Either way, this is a rare common-sense ballot question. It is sad that it has to be defined, but politicians always abuse systems. This closes one such avenue for abuse.
Vote YES on Question 2.