Maryland

State Balloting Process

Article XIV
Sec. 1.
The General Assembly may propose amendments to this Constitution;
provided that each amendment shall be embraced in a separate bill,
embodying the Article or Section, as the same will stand when amended
and passed by three-fifths of all the members elected to each of the two
Houses, by yeas and nays, to be entered on the Journals with the
proposed amendment. The requirement in this section that an
amendment proposed by the General Assembly shall be embraced in a
separate bill shall not be construed or applied to prevent the General
Assembly from (1) proposing in one bill a series of amendments to the
Constitution of Maryland for the general purpose of removing or
correcting constitutional provisions which are obsolete, inaccurate,
invalid, unconstitutional, or duplicative; or (2) embodying in a single
Constitutional amendment one or more Articles of the Constitution so long
as that Constitutional amendment embraces only a single subject. 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, in a form
to be prescribed by the General Assembly, to the qualified voters of the
State for adoption or rejection. The votes cast for and against said
proposed amendment or amendments, severally, shall be returned to the
Governor, in the manner prescribed in other cases, and if it shall appear
to the Governor that a majority of the votes cast at said election on said
amendment or amendments, severally, were cast in favor thereof, the
Governor shall, by his proclamation, declare the said amendment or
amendments having received said majority of votes, to have been
adopted by the people of Maryland as part of the Constitution thereof,
and thenceforth said amendment or amendments shall be part of the
said Constitution. If the General Assembly determines that a proposed
Constitutional amendment affects only one county or the City of
Baltimore, the proposed amendment shall be part of the Constitution if it
receives a majority of the votes cast in the State and in the affected
county or City of Baltimore, as the case may be. When two or more
amendments shall be submitted to the voters of this State at the same
election, they shall be so submitted as that each amendment shall be
voted on separately (amended by Chapter 476, Acts of 1943, ratified Nov.
7, 1944; Chapter 367, Acts of 1972, ratified Nov. 7, 1972; Chapter 679, Acts
of 1977, and Chapter 975, Acts of 1978, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Sec. 1A.
A proposed Constitutional amendment which, by provisions that are of
limited duration, provides for a period of transition, or a unique schedule
under which the terms of the amendment are to become effective, shall
set forth those provisions in the amendment as a section or sections of a
separate article, to be known as “provisions of limited duration”, and state
the date upon which or the circumstances under which those provisions
shall expire. If the Constitutional amendment is adopted, those provisions
of limited duration shall have the same force and effect as any other part
of the Constitution, except that they shall remain a part of the Constitution
only so long as their terms require. Each new section of the article known
as “provisions of limited duration” shall refer to the title and section of the
other article of the Constitution of which it, temporarily, is a part (added
by Chapter 680, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Sec. 2.
It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by Law for taking,
at the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and
seventy, and every twenty years thereafter, the sense of the People in
regard to calling a Convention for altering this Constitution; and if a
majority of voters at such election or elections shall vote for a Convention,
the General Assembly, at its next session, shall provide by Law for the
assembling of such convention, and for the election of Delegates thereto.
Each County, and Legislative District of the City of Baltimore, shall have in
such Convention a number of Delegates equal to its representation in
both Houses at the time at which the Convention is called. But any
Constitution, or change, or amendment of the existing Constitution, which
may be adopted by such Convention, shall be submitted to the voters of
this State, and shall have no effect unless the same shall have been
adopted by a majority of the voters voting thereon (amended by
Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, ratified Nov. 6, 1956).

Article XVI
(added by Chapter 673, Acts of 1914, ratified Nov. 2, 1915)

Sec. 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;
(b) The provisions of this Article shall be self-executing; provided that
additional legislation in furtherance thereof and not in conflict therewith
may be enacted.

Sec. 2.
No law enacted by the General Assembly shall take effect until the first
day of June next after the session at which it may be passed, unless it
contains a Section declaring such law an emergency law and necessary
for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety and is
passed upon a yea and nay vote supported by three-fifths of all the
members elected to each of the two Houses of the General Assembly.
The effective date of a law other than an emergency law may be
extended as provided in Section 3 (b) hereof. If before said first day of
June 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 at the next ensuing election held throughout the State for
Members of the House of Representatives of the United States. An
emergency law shall remain in force notwithstanding such petition, but
shall stand repealed thirty days after having been rejected by a majority
of the qualified electors voting thereon. No measure creating or
abolishing any office, or changing the salary, term or duty of any officer,
or granting any franchise or special privilege, or creating any vested right
or interest, shall be enacted as an emergency law. 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. The increase in any such appropriation for maintaining
or aiding any public institution shall only take effect as in the case of other
laws, and such increase or any part thereof specified in the petition, may
be referred to a vote of the people upon petition (amended by Chapter
681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Sec. 3.
(a) The referendum petition against an Act or part of an Act passed by
the General Assembly, shall be sufficient if signed by three percent of the
qualified voters of the State of Maryland, calculated upon the whole
number of votes cast for Governor at the last preceding Gubernatorial
election, of whom not more than half are residents of Baltimore City, or of
any one County. However, any Public Local Law for any one County or
the City of Baltimore, shall be referred by the Secretary of State only to the
people of the County or City of Baltimore, upon a referendum petition of
ten percent of the qualified voters of the County or City of Baltimore, as
the case may be, calculated upon the whole number of votes cast
respectively for Governor at the last preceding Gubernatorial election.
(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 onethird
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.
(c) In this Article, “pass” or “passed” means any final action upon any Act
or part of an Act by both Houses of the General Assembly; and “enact” or
“enacted” means approval of an Act or part of an Act by the Governor.
(d) Signatures on a petition for referendum on an Act or part of an Act
may be signed at any time after the Act or part of an Act is passed
(amended by Chapter 548, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 2, 1976. Sec. 3(a)
previously amended by Chapter 6, Acts of 1962, ratified Nov. 6, 1962).

Sec. 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 (amended
by Chapter 548, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 2, 1976; Chapter 849, Acts of
1982, ratified Nov. 2, 1982).

Sec. 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.
(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. The ballot title may be distinct from
the legislative title, but in any case the legislative title shall be sufficient.
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. The
votes cast for and against any such referred law shall be returned to the
Governor in the manner prescribed with respect to proposed
amendments to the Constitution under Article XIV of this Constitution, and
the Governor shall proclaim the result of the election, and, if it shall
appear that the majority of the votes cast on any such measure were cast
in favor thereof, the Governor shall by his proclamation declare the same
having received a majority of the votes to have been adopted by the
people of Maryland as a part of the laws of the State, to take effect thirty
days after such election, and in like manner and with like effect the
Governor shall proclaim the result of the local election as to any Public
Local Law which shall have been submitted to the voters of any County or
of the City of Baltimore.

Sec. 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 (amended by Chapter 681,
Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.

Click here to view a copy of the state constitution.

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