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Election 2020

Frederick Ballot Questions ― On Special Elections, Borrowing Limit ― Explained

Winchester Hall, the seat of Frederick County government. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Although Election Day isn’t until Nov. 3, many Marylanders will be voting early or submitting their ballots by mail for the upcoming General Election. In many of the state’s largest jurisdictions, voters will be met with lengthy ballots and multiple local initiatives to consider. In Frederick County, there are four charter amendments to be decided by voters.

If you’re still trying to request a mail-in ballot, or want to know how to register to vote, you can check out our guide for voters here.

If you want to find out where to drop off your ballot, or where you can vote in-person this November, you can take a look at our interactive voting center maps here.

Want to see a sample ballot for your county? The State Board of Elections has a list of every approved ballot for the November election on its website.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the ballot questions in Frederick County:

Question A

This amendment would allow county council members to more easily request information from the county executive or executive branch staff. The amendment would require the county executive to provide any information that is requested by an individual county council member for the purpose of introducing or evaluating legislation, or to review or monitor government programs and policy implementation. Such a request currently requires a majority vote of the council.

Question B

This amendment would lower the county’s borrowing limit to an amount equal to 3% of assessable real property (down from 5%), and from 15% to 9% of assessable personal property.

Question C

This amendment would establish a process for holding a special election to fill vacancies on the county council. If a vacancy were to occur within the first year of a council member’s term, voters would decide on a replacement at the next presidential election.

If the vacancy occurs after the candidate filing deadline for the presidential election, the position would be filled by appointment.

The amendment also lays out the process for appointment. If the vacating member was affiliated with a political party at the time of election, that party’s central committee would create a list of nominees. If the vacating member was unaffiliated at the time of their election, the council would appoint a person “it deems best qualified to hold office.”

Question D

This amendment would establish the process for holding a special election to fill a vacancy of the county executive. If a vacancy occurs in the executive’s first year, a special election would be held at the time of the presidential election.

If the vacancy occurs later in the term, the council would choose a new executive from a list of nominees from the outgoing executive’s party central committee. If the executive was unaffiliated, the council would appoint a person “it deems best qualified to hold office.”

If the council cannot reach a decision on an appointment, the county’s chief administrative officer would become executive.

Bennett Leckrone contributed to this report. 

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