But only three people testified at Tuesday's hearing.
While only three people testified Tuesday night on the Frederick County Commissioners' 2013 Legislative Package, each one had something to say about the Voter Identification Bill. The measure would require citizens who want to vote in the 2014 elections in Frederick County to present proof of identification when they show up at the polls. "Such a requirement is more of a solution in search of a problem, than a problem in search of a solution," said Claire Condig, President of the League of Women Voters in Frederick County.
She went on to say that there's little evidence that voter impersonation at the polls is a big problem across the country. "In fact, a comprehensive Carnegie-Knight investigative report unearthed ten cases of alleged fraud of this nature since 2000, an average of one case per year in the entire country," she said.
Commissioners' President Blaine Young is proposing it as an experiment during the 2014 election. He acknowledges he's seen no proof that voter impersonation is a problem locally. It would not cover this year's election.
Another speaker, Annette Breiling, said such requirements could deny some citizens of their right to vote. "I feel this is starting a slippery slope on voter suppression, which takes advantage of the underprivileged, underserved individuals, minorities," Breiling says.
And Jeannette Bartelt said it could affect her everytime she votes. "It's just so happens that I'm getting old. 65 years old. What if I don't have anything to show," she said. "I've been voting since I was of age. And all of sudden, I'm going to be told that I can't vote because I have no proof of who I am."
The Commissioners' 2013 Legislative Package also contains bills to permit video lottery terminals or slots at local charitable organizations, remove the census cap on the number of liquor licenses in Frederick County, repeal the requirement that motors scooter or moped riders wear helmets and a request for county authority to ban synthetic drugs such as "spice."
The "wish list" also has 16 position statements; one would support a bill to ban partial birth abortion in Maryland. Bartelt also spoke out against that. At one time, Bartelt said, she had what was once known as a therapeutic abortion at five months. "If you decide you're going to ban abortions, what would people like me do," she asked. "We'd have to go out of state, or out of the United States." And she continued: "Women have been discriminated against for too many years. It's time for it stop. Men, you need to listen, and not take your insecurities out on women."
Following the testimony, Commissioners' Vice President Paul Smith said he would like to see some changes added to any law in Maryland prohibiting partial birth abortions. "I don't know if the legislation we are proposing includes exceptions for the case of rape or incest, or there's undue risk to the mother's life. But I would like such exceptions," he said.
Another position statements in the Commissioners' "Wish List" includes a mandate that Frederick County Public Schools account and report on undocumented students, which was once proposed as a bill in past legislative packages. There's also statements requiring Maryland to be a "shall carry" state when it comes to handguns, reinstatement of Highway User revenues to the counties, a US Constitutional Convention to address citizenship and immigration issues, a constitutional amendment to prohibit "economic development" takings, opposition to a gas tax increase and opposition to PlanMaryland.
The Commissioners will finalize their Legislative Package during their October 25th and November 1st worksessions.