Maryland, USA, regional Popular or citizen-initiated referendum [PCR] - The Referendum

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizen-initiated referendum [PCR]
Location
Maryland, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
The Referendum
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI
Section 1
(a) The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor
[...]
Section 2
[...] If [...] there shall have been filed with the Secretary of the State a petition to refer to a vote of the people any law or part of a law capable of referendum, as in this Article provided, the same shall be referred by the Secretary of State to such vote, and shall not become a law or take effect until thirty days after its approval by a majority of the electors voting thereon [...]

Source: Constitution of Maryland (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Subject Matter:

Repealing laws via popular referendum

Actors

Author:
Citizen
Initiator:
Electorate : Requires signatures of 3% of the number of votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election and that not more than half be residents of the same county.
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
3% of the number of votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election
Available Time:
Signatures may be collected after the act being referred has been passed and the petition must be submitted by June 1 (exceptions apply, see other formal requirements)
Turnout Quorum:
Legal source does not mention turnout quorum
Approval Quorum:
Legal source does not mention approval quorum
Geographical Quorum:
Legal source does not mention geographical quorum for success of a referendum, however not more than half of the signatures on a petition may come from the same county or the city of Baltimore. Source: Constitution of Maryland, Article XVI, Section 3 (retrieved 22 June 2017)
Excluded Issues:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI
Section 2
[...] No law making any appropriation for maintaining the State Government, or for maintaining or aiding any public institution, not exceeding the next previous appropriation for the same purpose, shall be subject to rejection or repeal under this Section. [...]

Section 6

No law, licensing, regulating, prohibiting, or submitting to local option, the manufacture or sale of malt or spirituous liquors, shall be referred or repealed under the provisions of this Article.

Source: Constitution of Maryland (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Other Formal Requirements:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI, Section 3
[...]
(b) If more than one-third, but less than the full number of signatures required to complete any referendum petition against any law passed by the General Assembly, be filed with the Secretary of State before the first day of June, the time for the law to take effect and for filing the remainder of signatures to complete the petition shall be extended to the thirtieth day of the same month, with like effect.
If an Act is passed less than 45 days prior to June 1, it may not become effective sooner than 31 days after its passage. To bring this Act to referendum, the first one-third of the required number of signatures to a petition shall be submitted within 30 days after its passage. If the first one-third of the required number of signatures is submitted to the Secretary of State within 30 days after its passage, the time for the Act to take effect and for filing the remainder of the signatures to complete the petition shall be extended for an additional 30 days.
[...]

Source: Constitution of Maryland (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI, Section 4
A petition may consist of several papers, but each paper shall contain the full text, or an accurate summary approved by the Attorney General, of the Act or part of Act petitioned. There shall be attached to each paper of signatures filed with a petition an affidavit of the person procuring those signatures that the signatures were affixed in his presence and that, based upon the person's best knowledge and belief, every signature on the paper is genuine and bona fide and that the signers are registered voters at the address set opposite or below their names. The General Assembly shall prescribe by law the form of the petition, the manner for verifying its authenticity, and other administrative procedures which facilitate the petition process and which are not in conflict with this Article.

Election Code § 6-201
(a) In general. -- A petition shall contain:
(1) an information page; and
(2) signature pages containing not less than the total number of signatures required by law to be filed.
[(specific requirements for the content of these pages follows) ...]

§ 6-204
(a) In general. -- Each signature page shall contain an affidavit made and executed by the individual in whose presence all of the signatures on that page were affixed and who observed each of those signatures being affixed.
(b) Requirements. -- The affidavit shall contain the statements, required by regulation, designed to assure the validity of the signatures and the fairness of the petition process.
(c) Age of circulator. -- A circulator must be at least 18 years old at the time any of the signatures covered by the affidavit are affixed.

Source: Constitution of Maryland (current through 6 November 2012) and Maryland Election Law Code (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Wording Of Ballot Question:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI, Section 5
[...]
(b) All laws referred under the provisions of this Article shall be submitted separately on the ballots to the voters of the people, but if containing more than two hundred words, the full text shall not be printed on the official ballots, but the Secretary of State shall prepare and submit a ballot title of each such measure in such form as to present the purpose of said measure concisely and intelligently. [...] Upon each of the ballots, following the ballot title or text, as the case may be, of each such measure, there shall be printed the words "For the referred law" and "Against the referred law," as the case may be. [...]

Election Code, § 7-103
[...]
(b) General guidelines. -- Each question shall appear on the ballot containing the following information:
(1) a question number or letter as determined under subsection (d) of this section;
(2) a brief designation of the type or source of the question;
(3) a brief descriptive title in boldface type;
(4) a condensed statement of the purpose of the question; and
(5) the voting choices that the voter has.
(c) Duty to prepare question. --
(1) The Secretary of State shall prepare and certify to the State Board, not later than the third Monday in August, the information required under subsection (b) of this section, for all statewide ballot questions and all questions relating to an enactment of the General Assembly which is petitioned to referendum.
[...]

Source: Constitution of Maryland (retrieved 22 June 2017) and Maryland Election Law Code (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Interaction With Authorities:

Election Code § 6-202
(a) In general. -- The format of the petition prepared by a sponsor may be submitted to the chief election official of the appropriate election authority, in advance of filing the petition, for a determination of its sufficiency.
[...]

§ 6-208. Certification
(a) In general. -- At the conclusion of the verification and counting processes, the chief election official of the election authority shall:
(1) determine whether the validated signatures contained in the petition are sufficient to satisfy all requirements established by law relating to the number and geographical distribution of signatures; and
(2) if it has not done so previously, determine whether the petition has satisfied all other requirements established by law for that petition and immediately notify the sponsor of that determination, including any specific deficiencies found.
(b) Certification. -- If the chief election official determines that a petition has satisfied all requirements established by law relating to that petition, the chief election official shall certify that the petition process has been completed and shall:
(1) with respect to a petition seeking to place the name of an individual or a question on the ballot, certify that the name or question has qualified to be placed on the ballot;
[...]

Source: Maryland Election Law Code (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Supervision And Support:

Maryland Constitution, Article XVI, Section 5
(a) The General Assembly shall provide for furnishing the voters of the State the text of all measures to be voted upon by the people; provided, that until otherwise provided by law the same shall be published in the manner prescribed by Article XIV of the Constitution for the publication of proposed Constitutional Amendments.
[...]

Article XIV, Section 1
[...] The bill or bills proposing amendment or amendments shall be publicized, either by publishing, by order of the Governor, in at least two newspapers, in each County, where so many may be published, and where not more than one may be published, then in that newspaper, and in three newspapers published in the City of Baltimore, once a week for four weeks, or as otherwise ordered by the Governor in a manner provided by law, immediately preceding the next ensuing general election, at which the proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted [...]

Election Code § 7-105
[...]
(b) Questions submitted under Article XIV or XVI, Maryland Constitution. --
(1) For any question submitted under Article XIV or Article XVI of the Maryland Constitution, the notice required by subsection (a) of this section shall contain the information specified in § 7-103(b) of this title and a brief statement, prepared in clear and concise language, devoid of technical and legal terms to the extent practicable, summarizing the question.
(2) The statement required under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be:
(i) prepared by the Department of Legislative Services;
(ii) approved by the Attorney General; and
(iii) submitted to the State Board by the fourth Monday in August.
[...]

§ 6-207
[...]
(c) Random sample verification
[...]
(3) Verification under this subsection shall require the random selection and verification of 500 signatures or 5% of the total signatures on the petition, whichever number is greater, to determine what percentage of the random sample is composed of signatures that are authorized by law to be counted. That percentage shall be applied to the total number of signatures in the petition to establish the number of valid signatures for the petition.
(4) (i) If the random sample verification establishes that the total number of valid signatures does not equal 95% or more of the total number required, the petition shall be deemed to have an insufficient number of signatures.
(ii) If the random sample verification establishes that the total number of valid signatures exceeds 105% of the total number required, the petition shall be deemed to have a sufficient number of signatures.
(iii) If the random sample verification establishes that the total number of valid signatures is at least 95% but not more than 105% of the total number required, a verification of all the signatures in the petition shall be conducted.


Source: Constitution of Maryland (retrieved 22 June 2017) and Maryland Election Law Code (retrieved 22 June 2017)

Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: