Davenport Voter’s Guide, 2020 Maryland General Election

Voting day, November 3rd. Although you can vote in person, you should vote absentee.

  • Download the sample ballot PDF, which includes a list of drop-off locations. It has the text for the ballot questions.
  • All your Board of Election questions answered.
  • You can search for your vote status, which will tell you if it has been mailed to you yet. We expect to get them at the end of September, but you can request a mail-in ballot as late as October 20th.
  • You must mail your ballot in by November 3rd. But don’t wait that long. Or you can drop it off.
  • You can vote in person. I’ll be working at one of the few precincts. You could go to any of them, even mine. It would be fun, but I won’t have time to chat. It will be a busy day.

Voting Absentee: As you may know, your absentee ballot goes into a special envelope that the Board of Elections provides. As the instructions say, you must sign this envelope. The Board will receive your ballot, look your name up to make sure it’s the only ballot you’ve sent or voted, make sure it’s signed, and then they will take your ballot out and count it. Do not put your name or anything but your votes onto your ballot.

Endorsements and Guides of Interest

Contests

President: Americans need to decide what kind of country we are. If you think we are a nation of white supremacists and you want to be ruled by an autocratic strong man, vote for the current president. If you think we are a multicultural nation that mostly gets along and helps each other, vote for Joe Biden.

Representative, District 3: (this is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation, and probably none of you are in it) Reelect John Sarbanes.

Representative, District 6: (northern Montgomery County and the panhandle) Reelect David Trone.

Representative, District 8: (most of Montgomery County) Reelect Jamie Raskin.

Judge of the Circuit Court, Circuit 6: pick 4. I find Marylin Pierre to be a refreshing and capable challenger, and I encourage you to vote just for her and none of the others. The incumbents are Berry, Boynton, Foleman, and McAuliffe, and they mainly got their jobs by knowing the people that appoint judges, not by being voted in or by merit.

Judge, Court of Appeals, Circuit 7: Mary Ellen Barbera was the first female chief justice in Maryland, and has done a good job. Vote yes to continue her in office. It’s still weird that we vote to keep judges in.

Judge, Court of Special Appeals at Large: E. Gregory Wells is considered a capable judge by many attorneys. Vote yes to continue him in office.

Judge, Court of Special Appeals, Circuit 7: Steven B. Gould was a personal injury lawyer appointed by Hogan. I cannot find anything interesting about him. No lawyers have weighed in on him good or bad, no rulings of interest. The Democrats recommend yes, so vote yes.

Board of Education At Large: Dasgupta has been working with the schools as a teacher, PTA leader, and planning advisor. He understands the Montgomery County schools and its challenges well, and there are many challenges coming. His list of endorsements is long, and I recommend you vote for him.

Board of Education District 2: Smondrowski is the incumbent. I like both candidates. Smondrowski was endorsed by the Post for a prior election, so I recommend sticking with her for now.

Board of Education District 4: Evans is the incumbent, and should be reelected.

Ballot Questions

Question 1: Right now the governor of Maryland is entirely responsible for the budget. This allows the Maryland legislature to change the budget, but they may not spend more than the governor decrees. While I don’t like this second limitation, this is a move in the right direction. Vote for.

Question 2: Commercial Gaming Expansion lets our casinos take bets on sports. People already bet on sports and will do so outside Maryland. Let’s keep the money here. Vote for.

Question A: Property Tax Limit. This limits the rate at which property taxes go up and also removes some existing exemptions. It’s an attempt to simplify the existing opaque property tax process, which is the main reason I like it. It is endorsed by most everyone, but not the Post nor Morella. Vote for.

Question B: The Ficker Amendment. Will that guy just get a new hobby? He wants to make it really hard for the council to change property taxes at all. Vote against.

Question C: Add two more county council members because the county has grown in population. Endorsed by most council members, but not me and not the Washington Post. Vote against.

Question D: Gets rid of the at-large council members. The idea of at-large members is that they must represent the entire county and not have a smaller district focus. It’s a nice balance to the district based members. Vote against.