Baltimore County Voters Appear to Endorse Public Financing Option for Local Offices

Unofficial results from the Maryland State Board of Elections show that 55.5% of voters in Baltimore County approved a Charter Amendment to make public funds available to candidates for local offices.

By a 5-2 vote, the Baltimore County Council last year approved a proposal from County Executive Johnny Olszewski to put the Charter Amendment on the 2020 ballot to establish a public financing program that would match small donations for County Council and County Executive candidates. The Charter Amendment also would establish a commission to establish rules and regulations and provide for funding of the program.

Under Maryland Election Law, Section 13-505, counties may establish their own system of public campaign financing. Similar to systems adopted by Montgomery County, Howard County, and Prince George’s County, the public financing Charter Amendment aims to reduce the role of large private contributions and encourage individual small donor donations.

The program, if approved by voters, would be voluntary, with candidates having the ability to opt-in beginning in 2026.

Vote totals and percentages in this article are based on unofficial results of the Maryland State Board of Elections as of 2:00 pm Thursday, November 5, 2020. Official results will follow. Readers are advised that unofficial results are subject to realignment in the days ahead and official results will follow after a full accounting of pending ballots. To view the most up-to-date unofficial results, visit the State Board of Elections website.