For Immediate Release: November 9, 2022

Ballot referenda passes in Baltimore City – winning local control of Baltimore Police Department – and Howard County – re-affirming the prohibition of collecting and sharing immigration information about residents after largest local referenda campaigns in their respective jurisdictions in history

BALTIMORE, MD – Black, brown, and immigrant voters celebrate in Baltimore City and Howard County on the passage of Question H and Question A, respectively. The referenda campaigns to vote for Question H and vote for Question A were the largest local referenda campaigns in their respective jurisdictions in history.

After over 10 years of advocacy, and grassroots people powered efforts, Baltimoreans won a historic effort for the City to gain local authority of its police department. The referendum, presented as “Question H” on the ballot for Baltimore City, passed with a resounding majority of Baltimore voters voting “for the amendment” in the 2022 Midterm Elections. While some policing referendums have failed in other parts of the country, Baltimoreans voting for Question H is a major victory for Black and immigrant communities in the Baltimore area.

“The resounding “yes!” from Baltimore City on Question H shows that despite ‘tough on crime’ being the Republican party’s top talking point and Governor Hogan’s relentless attacks on the City’s capacity to do anything, voters trust our community and we will control our police,” said LeAnna Harrison, CASA’s Research and Policy Analyst, who led the field effort. 

CASA ran the local referendum campaign to ensure Baltimore City gained local authority over its police department. 39,456 voters were contacted mostly through door to door outreach augmented by texts and phone calls, centering their reality as Black and brown youth fighting for the future of their City. Through the Committee for Local Control, CASA in partnership with CPP, and the Campaign for Justice, Safety & Jobs, a Baltimore based coalition of over 30 organizations fighting for police accountability, engaged in a strong popular education and weekly community program to get out the vote for Question H. The program was paired with a community canvass team of Black and Brown community members, youth, and allies who engaged in a 9-week canvass program, focusing field efforts in southeast, west, and south Baltimore. The Campaign for Question H won with 82.68% of the vote or more than 90,000 voters.

“This victory simply would not have been possible without the years of grassroots organizing and advocacy from the Black and immigrant communities of Baltimore,” said Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, Chief of Organizing and Leadership for CASA. “The voices and actions of mothers, neighbors, friends, and those who could imagine a better future for Baltimore City were the ones who changed history after over 160 years.”  

“I want to thank all the canvass efforts and the many volunteers that shouldered the task of going door to door, and educating voters on this final push. Baltimore residents are stepping up and demanding Maryland rectifies its mistakes of the past,” said Ray Kelly, Executive Director of Citizens Policing Project “Though this is a historical moment, the work must continue, this is just the beginning of undoing years of inequity in policing. CPP, CASA, and the Campaign for Justice, Safety and Jobs are committed to centering and uplifting the voices of mothers and families impacted by police misconduct to becoming the majority influencers in what the Administration of the Baltimore City Police Department will look like”

In Howard County, voters re-affirmed that Howard County was a safe and welcoming place by voting for Question A to uphold the Liberty Act which prohibited collecting and sharing information about residents. Howard County makes history as the second time in U.S. history that trust legislation is defended in a ballot referendum. Oregon did the same in 2018.

The Liberty Act is a Howard County law that was passed 4-1 by the County Council and signed into law by County Executive Calvin Ball in December 2020. This people-powered legislative victory outlawed collaboration between government and ICE, also known as trust legislation. But an effort to overturn the law was led by a minority of residents who met the minimal signature collection requirement to put an issue up for referendum. That effort was soundly rejected when 61,626 votes were cast in favor of Question A, winning 61.7% of votes in defense of a civil right and privacy protection.

For people like William Garcia Trejo, the double-affirmation of the Liberty Act will allow him and all others to live with dignity and not fear. In September 2020, William Garcia Trejo was pulled over for speaking on his cell phone. The police officer arrested him for a warrant for failure to appear in District Court for driving without a license and transferred him to the Howard County Detention Center. Despite having no record with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), someone at the jail profiled Mr. Trejo. They told ICE to come and take him away, which they did. And, they nearly deported him to El Salvador, a place he had fled.

Howard County said it was and will remain a safe and welcoming place to live. Protecting the privacy of immigrants and all other residents was affirmed not once, but twice. 

From mid-July to Election Day, a team of 12 vote promoters canvassed more than 27,000 voters to defend the Liberty Act. The door-to-door work was augmented by a relational organizing program with Howard residents that produced poll coverage, texts, and postcards to County residents.

“These two overwhelming victories in support of immigrant rights and police accountability should illustrate to legislators in Annapolis that voters are ready to take aggressive action to protect our communities and elected officials should follow,” said Cathryn Paul, Public Policy Director CASA


With over 122,000 lifetime Latino, immigrant, and working-class members across 46 US states, CASA is the foremost immigrant organization in the mid-Atlantic region and a national leader in supporting immigrant families and ensuring that all individuals have the core support necessary for full participation in society. Now a national immigrant powerhouse, CASA creates change with its powerbuilding model blending human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter at @CASAforall.