By Special Report

OWINGS MILLS, MD. – The 4MORE! 4BALTIMORECOUNTY Ballot Issue Committee invites the media to cover a press conference Thursday, March 3 at 10 a.m. at the Randallstown Community Center, 3505 Resource Drive Randallstown, MD. 21133 to mark the introduction of a nonpartisan effort to increase the size of the Baltimore County Council through a public petition to add a referendum question to the Nov. 8 election ballot.

Ordinary citizens and advocacy organizations are leading an effort in Baltimore County to gather up to 12,000 in-person signatures between March 4 and Aug. 31 to amend the Baltimore County Charter to expand the Council size by four more Council districts. This would increase the number of county districts from seven to eleven. There would be commensurate enlargement of the Board of Appeals, Planning, and other boards.

Since the original County Charter was written in 1955, the county’s population has grown from 350,000 to nearly 860,000 residents. Adding 4MORE! districts, as proposed, would reduce district sizes from 123,000 to 78,000 residents per council member. This would update the 67-year-old seven district structure, allowing more minorities, women, and young adults who want a voice in local government to have an opportunity for a seat at the decision table. Both Montgomery and Prince Georges County Councils voluntarily introduced referendums to amend their charters to enlarge their council size recently. They will elect additional council members this November. That was not done by the Baltimore County Council, thereby necessitating a public petition to add a ballot question.

Also known as VOTE4MORE!, the ballot initiative would require that district maps be redrawn with equitable representation on the Redistricting Commission, and more citizen input. Smaller districts would allow greater access to council members, increased accountability, productivity, and provide more opportunities for the election of women, minorities, young adults, and other underrepresented groups. If passed, the effective date of the amendment will be 12/8/22. Four more Council members would be elected in 2026.

The following organizations are part of this historic effort: New Horizons Group, Baltimore County League of Women Voters, Baltimore County West Democratic Club, Randallstown NAACP, Allies for Democracy, Indivisible Towson, Greater Baltimore Muslim Council, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority of Turner Station, ACLU-MD, Baltimore County Young Democrats, Amigos Baltimore County, Turner Station Conservation Teams, Progressive Democrats of Baltimore County, Southwest Baltimore County Democratic Club, Baltimore County Progressive Democrats, Hunt Valley Indian Association, Hawthorne Civic Association, Fair Maps, Northeast Towson Improvement Association. and Combined Communities Advisory Council of Greater Randallstown.

Media interested in attending should R.S.V.P. to Linda Dorsey-Walker, Chair by email at LRDWALK4@AOL.COM no later than Tuesday, March 1 by 5 p.m.

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!