State Roundup, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012 at 7:45 am

VOTING GLITCHES: Nearly 300 Maryland residents who thought they had successfully registered to vote using the state’s new online system actually had not, and the glitch will force them to file provisional ballots on Election Day, reports the Post’s Aaron Davis.

Meanwhile, the state Board of Elections has acknowledged sending out some incomplete absentee ballots and some with incorrect address information, but officials say both problems were limited to a handful of voters in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and have been resolved, write Alison Knezevich and Annie Linskey for the Sun.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said yesterday that the board has confirmed that less than 20 absentee voters are missing a second page, according to the Post.

‘VICIOUSLY ANTI-GAY:’ The leader of the group trying to defeat Maryland’s same-sex marriage law yesterday downplayed the significance of comments made by a pastor at a recent town-hall meeting that gay rights activists have called “viciously anti-gay,” writes John Wagner in the Post.

Annie Linskey reports the story for the Sun. You can view the video of the pastor making his comments at the top of the page

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes about that controversy, asking how Jesus would have handled gays and gay marriage. You can read reader comments on the Rodricks’ column at the bottom.

GAMBLING GETS PERSONAL: The referendum campaign to expand gambling in Maryland is deeply felt and intensely personal for some voters. “Bo” Vogt, a union construction worker, believes the effort would create jobs in a field in which work has been scarce. But attorney Tamara Davis Brown thinks it would tarnish the economic future of the county she has called home since 1988, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

$65 MILLION GAMBLED: The Post’s John Wagner is reporting that companies with a stake in Maryland’s ballot measure on expanded gambling have now shelled out more than $65 million for dueling campaigns, according to the latest disclosure reports

MGM Resorts International Inc., which wants to build a Las Vegas-style casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s, deposited a check for $7.7 million into the ballot issue committee For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc., Alexander Pyles reports in the Daily Record. That brought MGM’s spending on its pro-expansion campaign to $29.5 million.

COMMON CAUSE ON REDISTRICTING: Common Cause Maryland, the bipartisan watchdog group that usually remains above the political fray, is wading into one of the most bitterly partisan fights of this election year by registering as an independent expenditure committee to fight to overturn the congressional redistricting map crafted by Gov. Martin O’Malley, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

BARTLETT’S NEW DISTRICT: Two years ago, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s 6th Congressional District was 47% Republican and 36% Democrat. After the state redrew the congressional map in a once-a-decade redistricting process, the district lost Carroll and much of Frederick counties and gained part of liberal Montgomery County, becoming 44% Democrat and 33% Republican, Rachel Baye reports in the Washington Examiner.

FOR & AGAINST: You can read the Laurel Leader’s editorial stands on marriage equality and the expansion of gambling.

GUN LAW APPEAL: On a roll in recent years, a gun-rights group pressed its advantage in a federal appeals court yesterday, seeking to extend Second Amendment rights through a challenge to Maryland’s handgun permit laws. Instead of challenging the licensing, writes Ian Duncan in the Sun, the group is arguing that Maryland unnecessarily restricts the right to carry firearms.

Attorneys for Maryland argued that a law requiring residents to provide a “good and substantial reason” for seeking handgun permits is a reasonable restriction that promotes safety without violating the Second Amendment, reports David Hill of the Post.

FRACKING MORATORIUM: Sens. Brian Frosh and Jamie Raskin, both of Montgomery County, are adding their voices to the call for a moratorium on natural gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing in Maryland, reports Holly Nunn in the Gazette.

Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record reports that Frosh said that a majority of the state Senate would support a legislative moratorium on hydraulic fracturing if such a bill is released from committee.

SENATE LINEUP: In their very first forum of the U.S. Senate campaign, the four candidates offered varying views on three of the state’s most controversial ballot questions Wednesday on Larry Young’s Morning Show on WOLB radio in Baltimore, reports Sam Smith for MarylandReporter.com.

The Sun’s John Fritze details how the Senate candidates differed on other issues.

RUPPERSBERGER-JACOBS DEBATE: In Monday’s debate between U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger and his Republican challenger for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, Sen. Nancy Jacobs, Ruppersberger questioned why the safe room in the Benghazi compound where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens died of asphyxiation did not have an air supply, Sam Smith reports for MarylandReporter.com.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: Maryland Juice posts video of the current crop of 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidates, interviewed during the Maryland’s teachers union an annual convention. Compare and contrast Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Delegate Heather Mizeur, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

CECIL FORUM: Cheryl Mattix of the Cecil Whig writes about the candidates forum of the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce, where candidates for county executive and county council fielded rehearsed questions from the chamber and a few impromptu ones from citizens.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: Kaustuv Basu of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that the Washington County Commissioners are considering asking the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly for permission to borrow $60 million in bond money to fund the county’s Capital Improvement Plan through 2018.

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