A candid conversation with a constitutional conservative
If you moved to Maryland expecting to benefit from the liberal policies passed by the state's democratically controlled legislature, such as gay marriage rights and subsidized college tuition for illegal immigrants; you may be in for a real shock when you get your next phone bill laced with taxes, or go to fill up your tank at the local gas station? In fact, if you have an issue with a bill the legislature has passed or are looking to get your third party candidate on the ballot, well you may just as well move to another state, because Maryland's democratic officials aren't having any of that.
Patrolling some of the less sexy, yet equally vital, bills in Annapolis; I came across quite a few that make even the most liberal lobbyist cringe, not to mention the reaction from some of the most sensible conservatives that make up a small minority in the Maryland General Assembly. However, that small group of 'fiscal fighting budget brawlers' are the reason we have the opportunity to know exactly what is being proposed by a democratic majority that doesn't seem to get it?
And one of those leading figures in Annapolis is none other than a freshman legislator, Delegate Neil Parrott; founder of the successful online ballot software and website (MdPetitions.com), and a common sense Republican that understands even the plight of those in urban areas.
The Washington County representative, who was named Republican of the Year last year, is a no nonsense constitutional conservative that believes in the rule of law before that of partisan politics. However, while citizens who are conservative in nature, both black and white, Democrat and Republican alike; signed on to three ballot initiatives in two years to have their say on legislation effecting their everyday lives at the polls; Democrats have since aimed at taking that right away from the electorate through ridiculous restrictions – including a poll tax.
This tax comes in the form of a test that voters need to pass in order to have the right to get other like-minded voters to sign on to such efforts.
This level of hypocrisy from a party who is quick to point the finger at Republican efforts to 'suppress the black vote' in other states, should be ashamed of their current efforts to deny the people the right to petition and get candidates, not affiliated with either party, on the ballot. The improperly named “Referendum Integrity Act”, seeks to include a voter's birth date on the form, while making their information public to the world, as well as implementing a 'training course' and 'test' (i.e. poll tax) that circulaters of the petitions will have to complete before being allowed to gather signatures on important issues like the Death Penalty Repeal, gun control measures or any number of bills likely to be subject to this process in the next year or two?
This process, which the voters of Maryland approved at the polls in 1914, are not even being allowed to vote on this legislation, as it seeks to backdoor voter approval through more bureaucracy and oversight, instead of challenging the process itself – because Democrats know they would lose that fight in 2014. Yet, this isn't the only idiotic thing being proposed as it relates to the electoral process.
Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley has introduced a plan to “empower voters at the polls” by increasing the number of Early Voting days, the number of polling places during these days and even allowing for same day voter registration during the days before Election Day. However, what legislators refuse to address, which the governor's own mathematical formula outlines, is that localities like Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City – two of the Big 5 in Maryland – lose out in this legislation, because their delegations are too weak-kneed to stand up for what's right.
According to information provided to this Examiner by the NAACP State Chapter's political action chair and lobbyist, Marvin 'Doc' Cheatham; the governor's original formula when coming up with which jurisdictions should gain extra polling locations in their areas, shows a mathematical breakdown of one polling location per 62,000 registered voters.
In that formula, with Baltimore City having 398,227 voters and Anne Arundel County at 356,429 voters, both would qualify to have an added location required to the five they currently have. Unfortunately, the bill that passed through the Senate only allows for three of the top five jurisdictions to gain an extra polling place; Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore Counties.
But of course, when this information was provided to the committee members from these two regions, including the Chair of the Senate Committee the bill came before, Baltimore City Senator Joan Carter Conway (D-43); they blew it off as just another site that they didn't seem concerned about?
Yet if you were at any five of the Early Voting locations in Baltimore City during the 2012 Presidential Election, both Primary and General Elections, then you know how long the lines were and how frustrating it was getting to a booth to cast your ballot; not to mention if you had to drive or take mass transit over an hour to get to one of those five locations? So why wouldn't legislators want to ensure the best possible electoral system for the one right that almost every American holds sacred?
“They are shortchanging the people with this bill,” says Cheatham, the former head of the NAACP, SCLC and National Action Network Baltimore Branches. “We have to look at what's best for the people, regardless of petty party politics, and do what's in their best interests – not the Governor's?”
However, it doesn't seem to work that way in a town filled with Democrats, black and white, who won't even hold their Party Leader (Governor) accountable for his inaction on issues like equitable funding for Maryland's four HBCUs or the school construction plan for Baltimore City schools – the jurisdiction that helped him get to the Governor's Mansion via his tenure as Mayor.
“When these democratic officials, especially our black caucus, learn that their bloc of votes can get them any damn thing they want – especially if they caucused with the GOP every now and again – then maybe the people of their districts may benefit; but until then, just having a handful of fighters, like Anthony Muse and Jill Carter, won't cut it in a class full of 188-morons – give or take fifty or so,” says independent political analyst Shaun Louis, whose leadership in the Independent Movement of Maryland came up with an amendment to the Governor's bill to allow for same day party-affiliation change.
“If you can register to vote the day of, current voters should also be able to change their party affiliation as well? What's good for the goose...”
And with a gas tax looming, along with a hike in people's BGE bills if the Governor's wind energy bill passes, now is the time for the Republicans and conservative, like-minded and sensible Democrats, to stand up for interest of the People, and not that of their Party!
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