The 1992 Term Limit Referendum
In 1992, led by the Prince George’s County Civic Federation, Inc., citizens spent six months collecting over 15,000 signatures to place the term limit issue (“Question C”) on the ballot. Federation President Judy Robinson led the way, collecting over 3,000 signatures personally. Robinson toured the County attending civic association meetings, fighting for media coverage, and standing in shopping center parking lots. Carmen Anderson, a long-time Brandywine civic activist, also spent the summer of 1992 standing in shopping center parking lots to collect over 3,000 signatures.* Dozens of other civic activists supported the effort to collect the needed signatures.
The The County government put up a big fight against term limits, some of it in violation of State election law. Judy Robinson filed a complaint with the Maryland State Prosecutor, Stephen Montanarelli. In a finding just days before the November 3, 1992 election Montanarelli issued a letter stating that Prince George’s County government officials violated state election law by organizing County employees against the Charter Amendment during work hours. The Washington Post passed off the violations as “technical”.
In spite of the efforts of government officials, Prince George’s County voters approved the citizen-driven initiative to limit the County Council and Executive to two terms in office.
The term limit amendment specifically applied to terms already served, so in 1994, 7 of the 9 Council members were ineligible to run for re-election. This opened up the Council to new, fresh perspectives.
Unfortunately, all but one of these new Council members got too settled in Council life and its trappings, so in 2000 they got then-State Delegate Rushern Baker led a movement for outright repeal of the 1992 Charter Amendment.
Novermber 3, 1992 General Election
Question C - Limitation County Council Terms YES . . . . . 105,973 ( 52.0%)
NO . . . . . . . 97,640 ( 47.9%)
(171 OF 171 Precincts Reporting) (258,966 of 318,524 Voter For 81.3%)