Maryland offered no surprises in the big-ticket races: Barack Obama easily defeated Mitt Romney with 61.2% of the vote compared to Romney’s 37%. Undoubtedly Maryland’s large African American population contributed to an Obama victory, and the state’s 10 electoral votes were called almost immediately after polls closed. The Maryland Senate race was also called quite early. Exit polls showed incumbent Senator Ben Cardin (D) beating out his two competitors, Republican Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent, and Independent Rob Sobhani, a businessman who poured millions of his own personal wealth into his campaign.
Finally, seven of Maryland’s eight incumbents (six Democrats and one Republican) were re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Predictions came true for Roscoe Bartlett of District 6 as he lost his re-election campaign to challenger financier John Delaney, a Democrat. Maryland’s state legislature redrew the congressional district lines earlier this year, and District 6 was altered to heavily favor Democrats.
Now, on to the more controversial topics — Maryland ballot Questions 4, 6, and 7.
Question 4, Maryland’s version of the DREAM Act, would extend in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in Maryland. To qualify for in-state tuition, students have to have been brought to the United States as children, have attended at least three years of high school in Maryland, and come from families that have filed state tax returns, among other requirements. Marylanders favored this measure by an almost 2-1 margin. Maryland is the first state to pass legislation similar to the DREAM Act by a citizen vote.
On Tuesday, Maryland also became one of the only two states to pass marriage equality rights by popular vote for gay couples. Question 6 passed by only a narrow margin, 51.9%. Starting January 1, 2013, "civil marriage laws [will] allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license." However, the measure also explicitly mentions the right for a member of the clergy to refuse to wed gay and lesbian couples if it goes against their religious convictions.
Finally, Marylanders approved a gambling expansion in Prince George’s county under Question 7, which would legalize table games and build a casino at Maryland’s National Harbor. The ballot question passed by a 52% to 48% margin statewide and by a larger 59% to 41% margin in Prince George's County. It needed to be passed both by state voters and by voters in Prince George's County. Many supporters of the measure want to keep the money spent gambling in places like West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania in Maryland so it can go to schools and education initiatives. Opponents fear that instead of funneling the money to education, school budgets will be cut and money will go elsewhere.
By passing three crucial ballot initiatives on hot issues, Maryland certainly has a lot of change coming in the near future.