Thursday, August 30, 2012

MoCo Dems' Committee Recommends Marriage Equality & Dream Act // But Party May Diss Redistricting, Gambling & More

UPDATE: A few politicos are reporting that some Montgomery Democratic elected officials are withholding donations to the sample ballot effort unless some of the recommendations below are reversed. This means we are likely to see some electeds campaigning for precinct officials' support on some of the more controversial referenda.

A reader and member of the MoCo Dems' committee that made the recommendations below also clarifies some of the details: "We're called the Ballot Question Advisory Committee. We make recommendations, but the precinct captain community takes the final vote. Marriage and the DREAM Act were both unanimous votes. The effects bargaining was a draw: 6-7. It's not fair to say it was voted down." Additionally, we now have an accounting of the vote totals for each recommendation. The votes on marriage equality and the Dream Act were unanimously in support, but the opposition to the Congressional districts was also nearly unanimous. See below:
MCDCC Ballot Question Advisory Committee Recommendations 2012

MOCO DEMS ENDORSE ISSUES FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT: Maryland Juice is receiving word that last night that members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee's Ballot Question  Advisory Committee sample ballot committee (aka an arm of the MCDCC, the official Dem Party in MoCo) voted to make a series of recommendations for this November's Presidential Election ballot:
  • Vote for marriage equality
  • Vote for Dream Act
  • Vote against redistricting plan
  • Vote against gambling expansion
  • Vote against limiting police bargaining rights
The issues above were debated by members of the MCDCC's Ballot Question  Advisory Committee, who will now pass their recommendations on to the numerous Democratic Precinct Officials in Montgomery County. Barring a movement against the recommendations, on September 16th, I hear that we can potentially expect the precinct officials to ratify the recommendations of the sample ballot committee members (no guarantees).

Why is this important? - In 2008, MCDCC member Marc Korman explained the process on the Maryland Politics Watch blog: "...the recommendation of the Central Committee is what gets printed on the Party’s sample ballot, which is mailed to the approximately 250,000 registered Democrats in Montgomery County."

Korman's post explained what happens next:
MARC KORMAN: The Ballot Advisory Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Montgomery County Democratic Precinct organization, which consists of a chair and vice chair for each of the approximately 250 electoral precincts in Montgomery County. Later in September, the precinct officials will take a position on each of the ballot questions by vote.

Following the precinct officials’ meeting, MCDCC votes on each of the ballot questions. If MCDCC’s position on a question is the same as the precinct officials, that is the position of the party. If MCDCC disagrees, then the party takes no position by default, meaning they are neutral. I have been told that since MCDCC adopted that policy a decade ago, they have never disagreed with the recommendations of the precinct officials.

The MCDCC sample ballot mailing provides a partisan boost for issues in heavily Democratic Montgomery County. As a result, Maryland Juice is aware of several individuals who testified before the sample ballot committee on various issues. See, for example, the testimony submitted by Delegate Tom Hucker regarding the various referenda, and the police bargaining referendum in particular:
MCDCC 2012 Sample Ballot Testimony - Del. Tom Hucker

We'll update readers when the MCDCC makes its final recommendations for voters.

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