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Morning Read: A Last Minute DMV Ballot Round-Up

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10 Philadelphia
    Friday, November 2nd, 2012

    Set your clocks, there are fewer than 24 hours until Election Day. If you haven't voted early like tens of thousands in Maryland and D.C., Morning Read has compiled a summary of the major elections and ballot measures facing voters in the DMV area.

    Maryland

    Democrats President Barack Obama and Senator Ben Cardin may glide to victory in Maryland, but there’s still a number of important state-wide ballot initiatives that remain toss-ups. Here are some of the big ones:

    Question 3: This amendment would suspend elected officials found guilty of a crime and immediately remove them from office when they plead guilty or no-contest.

    Question 4: The Maryland Dream Act would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition provided that they went to high school in the state and their parents pay state taxes. Supporters of the law say it will be an economic boon for the state, while opponents argue it will encourage more illegal immigration.

    Question 5: Maryland’s new Congressional map redrawn by state Democrats has received a lot of heat for its alleged gerrymandering. This question asks voters whether they want to uphold Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new map, or reject it. (Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a 10-term Maryland incumbent, could lose his seat come Tuesday because of the new map. His longtime Republican district has been redrawn to be majority Democrat.)

    Question 6: This ballot measure to uphold Gov. O’Malley’s law to legalize same-sex marriages in the state is arguably the most high-profile of the bunch. Opponents of this law gathered enough signatures to trigger a referendum and leave the decision up to voters. Voting yes for this question would allow gay couples to marry in Maryland. Polling suggests that Maryland is on track to become the first state where voters will uphold same-sex marriage.

    Question 7: The question of whether or not to expand gambling in the state of Maryland has been the center of a costly campaign these last few months. This measure asks voters whether they want to add a sixth casino site in the state in Prince George’s County and allow table games in already existing casinos.

    In Montgomery County, voters will be asked whether they would like to amend the county charter to allow the local government to more easily recruit employees with disabilities. A second question will ask voters whether they want to approve limits on police unions.

    Virginia

    All eyes are on the presidential and Senate races, which recent polling shows to still be deadlocked or close to it.

    But there are other questions on the Virginia ballot that have been overshadowed by these two big races. Question 1 on Virginia’s ballot would put limits on the state’s power of eminent domain -- restricting property seizure to public use only.

    Question 2 would allow the state’s General Assembly to delay the start of a veto session for up to one week. Currently, the veto session must begin on the sixth Wednesday following the end of each session.

    In Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, longtime Democratic Congressman Jim Moran faces challenger Patrick Murray. Murray, a Republican, lost to Moran by 45,000 votes in 2010, but this time the two are facing off in a newly redrawn district that Murray is hoping will give him a better showing.

    In the 10th Congressional District, Republican incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf is the heavy favorite. He faces Democrat Kristin Cabral, a prosecutor from Fairfax County, and independent Kevin Chisholm, an engineer.

    Democrat Gerry Connolly faces five challengers in his race to keep his Congressional seat in Virginia’s 11th District. His most threatening opponent is Republican Chris Perkins, a retired Army colonel who now works as a national security consultant.

    District of Columbia

    Like Maryland, the presidential race in D.C. will be a blowout. But there are other competitive races in the District.

    While Vincent Orange is expected to easily keep his at-large council seat, the election between at-large incumbent Michael Brown and his main challenger, David Grosso, will likely be one of the most competitive races on Tuesday. Grosso, an independent, has raised more than $150,000 and has outraised Brown more by 2-1 in the final weeks of the election.

    D.C. Congressional Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton is facing challenges from Libertarian Bruce Majors and Statehood Green Natalie Stracuzzi. Norton has held the seat for 22 years and has not received less than 88 percent of the votes in the last 18 years.

    There will be a special election for chairman of the D.C. Council on Tuesday to replace Kwame Brown. Current Chairman Phil Mendelson, who was appointed by his fellow council members to replace Brown, is running against Democratic challenger Calvin Gurley. The winner will finish out the remaining two years of Brown’s term,

    Councilman Jack Evans is running unopposed in Ward 2 and this reelection will make him the longest serving member on the council. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser is also running unopposed.

    In Ward 7, incumbent Democrat Yvette Alexander faces Republican Ron Moten. Moten has been trying to make the race competitive, but he’s running in a District that’s 84 percent Democrat.

    Mayor-for-life Marion Barry’s Ward 8 council seat is being challenged by independent Jauhar Abraham, the co-founder of the anti-youth violence group Peacoholics.

    There also are three questions addressing the ethics of elected on the D.C. ballot. Question 5 would allow voters to expel a member of the council for “gross misconduct” with 11 of the 13 councilmembers voting in favor of the expulsion. Questions 6 and 7 would make anyone (councilmembers and mayor) convicted of a felony while in office ineligible to hold that position again.

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