THOUGH SEVERAL of the Maryland state constitutional amendments proposed on the ballot tomorrow may not directly affect voters in Montgomery or Prince George's counties, all five ballot questions involve important government processes.
Question 1 -- Anne Arundel County Elections: This would add Anne Arundel as the fourth county in Maryland to be given the authority to elect its county council members by districts, county wide or both ways. The choice would be up to the county's voters if this amendment is ratified. In particular, voters in Prince George's, Howard and Baltimore counties, which now enjoy such a local option, should sympathize and vote FOR this reasonable change.
Questions 2 and 3 -- Judiciary Department Changes: These are both sensible and interrelated measures affecting court procedures, and each deserves a vote FOR. Question 2 would consolidate the six courts of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City, eliminating confusion about where cases should be filed and how they are handled; and it should result in fiscal economies. Question 3 would eliminate what is now a litigant's automatic right to have a civil case, or a criminal case that does not involve a capital offense, removed from one court to another (change of venue); the litigant would have to show cause that a fair and impartial trial was not possible. Since this question is contingent on ratification of Question 2, both proposals should be supported as a package.
Question 4 -- Baltimore City Building Loans: This would give the mayor and city council in Baltimore more flexibility in making, guaranteeing and insuring low-interest loans for improvement and residential purposes, and it merits a vote FOR.
Question 5 -- Wicomico County Condemnation Powers: This would add Wicomico to the jurisdictions that have the power of immediate taking of land without buildings, which is needed for public use (known as "quick-take"). There would be procedural requirements to be met before any such decisions could be made. It is a reasonable and accepted method that can be supported with a vote FOR.