Democratizing Prince George's County: for the citizens, by the citizens

Congratulations Everyone! We defeated question J!

The people have spoken!

Poll Results:
For- 48.64%-90,273

Now since the 2014 election is officially over, we are shutting down this website, thank you to all who have supported this grassroots movement! Let's continue to be active citizens and engage with the issues of our County.


Prince George's County Facts

Prince George's County is the only municipality in the Washington metro are that limits the number of years elected officials can hold office, however throughout the years, the debate of term limits always had a way of showing up on the ballot.

In 1992, Prince George's County had a referendum about term limits: 52% (105,973) of the vote was in favor of term limits and 48% (97,640) was against it. Later, in 2000 Delegate Rushern Baker III (at the time) helped reintroduce it on the ballot but this time the referendum was asking to abolish term limits. For the county council's term, 63% of the vote was against abolishing term limits and 36% was in favor of abolishing term limits. For the county executive's term, 64% of the vote was against abolishing term limits and only 35% was in favor of it.



  • Wider range of perspectives/ emergence of fresh ideas & leadership-
  • Automatic check on consolidation of power.
  • Lessened risk of control of political elite (prevents one or a couple of people with obtaining a disproportionate share of power over the community)
  • Change of behavior of elected officials- a common perception of a politician portrays constant logrolling and jockeying for advantage and support as opposed to voting on their real beliefs. Term limits will define an individuals time for them to focus on accomplishing the goals on their platform.


  • Prevents the retention of qualified people for the job
  • Shorten Careers
  • People who have no history of corruption or political gamesmanship would be forced to leave along with the bad apples, regardless of performance or merit


Why No Three Terms?

There are a total of 510,012 voters in Prince George's County. Out of that, 442,639 are registered Democrats.

Elections Stats County Executive:

Wayne Curry (1994)- received 8% of Democratic vote and 7% of general (total) vote

Jack Johnson (2002)- received 9% of Democratic vote and 8% of general (total) vote

Rushern Baker III- (2010)- received 9% of Democratic vote and 8% of general (total) vote

County Council District 4:

Douglass J.J Peters (2002): received 11% of total vote

Ingrid Turner (2006): received 8% of total vote

The election results shown above represent the small fraction of voters who have maintained an amplified control over who get's elected. Due to Maryland's closed primary system, primary results are almost equivalent to the general election. Not to mention, 37% of our state legislative candidates will automatically win because they are unopposed or are running in multimember districts without a full slate of opponents.

Therefore not only are our political officials being selected by a very thin segment of the population, but due to the nature of Maryland's Primary System, this can create political polarization causing candidates to reflect the interests of their party and supporting special interests as opposed to their own beliefs and those held by their constituents.  If we as a county really wanted to abolish term limits and it have a fair impact on election results without having a disproportionate amount of voter influence, a possible compromise would be to establish an open primary system.As a result, politicians elected this way will have the support of more than just 10% of the vote and the results would be evident, indicating that the candidate is an accurate representation of the constituents who have entrusted them to their respective positions.

In 2000, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (a Delegate at the time) said in support of abolishing term limits: "This is a new era in Prince George's County.  We're just beginning to build up a cadre of African American elected officials who know the ins and outs of county government.  Their leadership and their ability to implement policies and secure resources [for blacks] that are critical to progress in the African American community should not be held hostage to" a simple, logical law like term limits.

If the system by which candidates were elected was more indicative of the total voting population, if candidates were receiving more than 10% of the vote, if Democratic nominees were not as dependent on labor unions, minority groups, or the support of former officials more so than grassroots constituent support, and if maintaining candidates for longer periods of time had shown an apparent improvement in our communities and institutions such as the school system, then I would be in support of abolishing term limits. But such is not the case with Prince George's County.

Adding another term to the County Council and County Executive will not alleviate many of the challenges lawmakers have to deal with nor will it retain the "best people" due to the political nature of the county. After all, even with all of the red tape and bureaucracy that makes up government, 8 years is still a long time. If one has faced difficulty in accomplishing certain tasks or initiating improvement, is 12 years going to make a difference? Even the president of the United States is most effective early in his first term. There are many other ways to serve for those advocating that good leaders are forced to leave because of term limits, but typically those individuals who remain for a given period and leave with a good rapport are the ones who wish to serve only for a given amount of time and move on to serve in other ways while climbing the ladder of leadership.

As active and concerned citizens, we want to say with pride that we live in Prince George's County. We all want to live in a county where schools are thriving, streets are safe, and people feel heard. One thing we must ask ourselves is, will adding another term for our Council Members and County Executive really help us accomplish this mission of making a good county great? Expanding term limits should be for the sole reason of maintaining the best leaders in office, but how can we maintain the best leaders when there are so many obstacleslike the incumbent advantage and the political establishment's groupthink influencethat hinder and obstruct the voices of voters already?

We do not believe that establishing a third term for these elected officials will maintain the best leaders in office but rather feed the political system. It should be known that this referendum is self-serving. Those individuals who serve in office should know that true public service never has a limit; history shows that if an individual really wanted to serve, they would find a way.

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