Maryland’s fiscal 2023 budget was enacted on May 16, that authorizes spending from all funds at $61.04 billion, a decrease of 2.6 percent from the prior year, due in part to an approximately $8.0
billion decrease in federal funds. Health receives 32%, Higher Education 13 %, Elementary & Secondary 17% and Public Safety at 5 %. But concerns over public school exist from their involvement in Critical Race Theory, Critical Gender Theory, 1619 Project and low academic achievement. Why should we continue to pour money into what seems like a failed system. Could we not lower the educational budget in favor of Public Safety funding and demand an educational system that gets results? As an
alternative we need to support charter schools, private schools, or religious schools.
Charter schools are independently operated tuition-free public schools that have the freedom to design classrooms that meet their students’ needs. All charter schools operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer – usually a nonprofit organization, government agency, or university – that holds them accountable to the high standards outlined in their “charter.” Generally speaking, charters receive state and local money based on the number of students they enroll, as well as money from the federal government to provide special education services, just like traditional district schools. The federal government also gives grants to expand charter schools.
Private schools and religious schools charge tuition. Tax payers, who normally fund public schools, should have an option to cater to alternative educational systems.
Let me ask you a question. Does your vote count?
We are a one-party state. Districts are gerrymandered to favor the Democrats. We need to make sure your vote counts by passing a
voter photo ID law, eliminating mail-in voting, the most corruptible scheme out there, and returning to one day elections.
1. Gerrymandering has rendered key republican voting blocs ineffective. By diluting these blocks with out of area democratic voting blocs citizen representation in the general assembly is slanted toward one party.
2. With no photo ID requirement for casting a vote, the ease of fraudulent activity increases. Irregular voting goes unchecked.
This was a result of the 2000 election drama of President Bush. The returns showed that Bush had won Florida by such a close margin that state law required a recount. A month-long series of legal battles led to the highly controversial 5–4 Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore, which ended the recount. The recount having been ended, Bush won Florida by 537 votes, a margin of 0.009%. The Help America Vote Act was drafted (at least in part) in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election, when almost two million ballots were disqualified because they registered multiple votes or no votes when run through vote-counting machines. The Help America Vote Act establishes minimum standards for voting systems. With the implementation of Maryland’s current voting system in all 24 counties, Maryland met the minimum voting system standards required by the Act. This evolved into the elimination of voter photo IDs. Voter-Id law is a law that requires some form of identification in order to vote or receive a ballot for an election. It is enacted to protect election and prevent voter frauds. Voter ID laws go back to 1950, when South Carolina became the first state to start requesting identification from voters at the polls. The identification document did not have to include a picture; any document with the name of the voter sufficed. In 1970, Hawaii joined in requiring ID and Texas a year later. Thirty-four states have identification requirements at the polls. Seven states have strict photo ID laws, under which voters must present one of a limited set of forms of government-issued photo ID in order to cast a regular ballot – no exceptions. In Maryland, 2013, Republican sponsored a House Bill requiring a Photo ID but it was another failed attempt to alter voting policies. Ballot security concerns are heightened in so-called sanctuary states, where undocumented aliens are encouraged to live and work and vote. The simple task of producing reliable photo identification at the polls should be a no-brainer. Every illegal vote cast and counted degrades our democracy. Lax immigration enforcement only magnifies the problem and it makes the realization of free and fair elections far more difficult.
3. With this we also need to ban mail-in-voting and vote harvesting.
4. Finally we need to return to one day elections. The more days allotted to early voting gives more time and cover to run an illicit voting scam.
With the Democrat’s super majority in the General Assembly, we can’t expect any change to current voting practices. But as citizens we need to demand change through referendums or ballot initiatives. This process allows citizens to place petitions on a ballot for a popular vote.
Let’s look at voting fraud potential with gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when a political group tries to change a voting district to create a result that helps them or hurts the group who is against them. (The term gerrymandering is named
after American politician Elbridge Gerry, 1744-1814, Vice President of the United States at the time of his death, who, as Governor of Massachusetts in 1812, signed a bill that created a partisan district in the Boston area that was compared to the shape of a mythological salamander.) Maryland gerrymandering has consistently favored Democrats voters over Republicans. Redrawing legislative districts to optimize democratic votes is politicians selecting voters not voters selecting politicians.
On 12 January 2021 Governor Hogan signed an Executive order to create Citizens Redistricting Commission to address equitable redistricting as a result of the 2020 census. The commission included three members appointed by the
Governor, one each of a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent. These three will then appoint six additional citizen members, two from each of the same groups. It will conduct public hearings and create draft maps to submit to the
Legislature. The three co-chairs, were:
Dr. Kathleen Hetherington (I) - President, Howard Community College
Walter Olson (R) - Senior Fellow, Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center
for Constitutional Studies
Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. (D) - Retired Judge, U.S. District Court for
the District of Maryland
The six additional members were selected from the hundreds of applications that were submitted, and consist of two Republicans, two Democrats, and two individuals not affiliated with either of the two major political parties. The six
additional members of the Commission were:
Kimberly Rose Cummings (R)
Mary G. Clawson (R)
Cheryl R. Brooks (D)
William Tipper Thomas, III (D)
Jay V. Amin (I)
Jonathan Fusfield (I)
The governor’s executive order charged the Commission with producing fair maps for both state legislative and congressional districts that comply with a set of criteria, including:
- Compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and compliance with applicable judicial direction, rulings, judgments, and orders.
- Respect for natural boundaries and geographic integrity and continuity of political subdivisions, to the extent practicable.
- Geographic compactness, to the extent practicable; and
- Does not take into account citizens’ party affiliation or the address of an incumbent office holder or a candidate for office
The Commission conducted regional meetings allowing citizens to comment on the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts, along with multiple public meetings, prior to the drawing of the maps. Final report dated January 2022.
However, the Democrat supermajority general assembly produced their own version of redistricting which passed over the Governor’s veto. But Senior Judge Lynne A. Battaglia ruled on March 25 2022 that this new map violated the Maryland constitution’s requirement that legislative districts be compact and respect natural and political boundaries.
Ten days later Democratic leaders unveiled a revised map which received approval from both the Senate and House of Delegates. The Governor copulated and signed the redrawn map into law. Although it was an improvement it still relegated key republican voting areas to be disbursed over democrat voting strongholds.
This is not a new occurrence for Maryland. Back in 2011 Democrats drew a congressional gerrymandered map to take the Sixth Congressional District from Republicans. This was the subject of a high-profile test case in court. There were many additional cases brought in both state and federal courts, citing violations of compactness, failure to respect communities of interest, unequal population, and partisan and racial gerrymandering. All challenges to legislative and congressional districts were ultimately dismissed or rejected.
As long as we do not outlaw gerrymandering and conform redistricting in accordance to under the State Constitution we will continue to have fraudulent elections where not all voters are represented and voting districts are diluted with
out of area populations.
CONSTITUTION OF MARYLAND
SEC. 4. Each legislative district shall consist of adjoining territory, be compact in form, and of substantially equal population. Due regard shall be given to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions (amended by Chapter 432, Acts of 1900, ratified Nov. 5, 1901; Chapter 20, Acts of 1922, ratified Nov. 7, 1922; Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, ratified Nov. 6, 1956; Chapter 785, Acts of 1969, ratified Nov. 3, 1970; Chapter 363, Acts of 1972, ratified Nov. 7, 1972).