Tuesday, May 09, 2006

 

Maryland - seeking to become the Chicago of the East

Whenever I despair of the banality of the rhetoric coming from my side of the aisle, I just have to tune into what the other side is saying to remind myself why I am not with them. Here in Maryland, we’ve adopted a new election law (among several) which allows for up to five days of early voting. The Governor had vetoed the bill but the legislature overrode it and come September, you’ll be able to vote a few days early should you so desire.

In response, the Governor is supporting a petition drive to put the matter on the ballot and let the voters decide if, in fact, they want to vote early. Predictably, the early voting proponents are aghast and are questioning the Governor’s motives…or at least that’s how the Post’s Matthew Mosk breathlessly reported on this matter today: Democrats Question Ehrlich's Objection

“A group of Democratic state lawmakers yesterday called Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s opposition to early voting a thinly veiled attempt to suppress election turnout among minorities and middle-class voters.”

And in case we don’t get the point early in the article, Martin O’Malley’s running mate reiterates later:

“"Any step taken to curtail people's ability to vote will disproportionately impact low-income families, seniors and minorities," said Del. Anthony G. Brown (D-Prince George's), who is running for lieutenant governor on Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's ticket.”


How maintaining a single-day election format “suppresses” minority and middle-class voters while simultaneously not inhibiting non-minority lower and upper class voters is not described in the article. Remember, using the present-day system, Democrats, despite the supposed disproportionate impact of such a vote-suppressing system, managed to eke out over 30 years in the governor’s mansion (before 2002) and have had non-stop veto-proof control of the legislature for even longer.

Not to be totally one-sided, the Post does helpfully include the Governor’s rationale:

“"Laws like this allow for multiple votes to dilute the valid votes of everyone," said Bo Harmon, the manager of Ehrlich's reelection campaign. "This effort is entirely focused on preventing voter fraud and ensuring fair and accurate elections."

But unlike Mr. Mosk’s unquestioning acceptance of the Democrats’ claims on this matter, he counters Mr. Harmon’s comments with this tidbit:

“Ehrlich has not cited any instances of fraud in the 35 other states that use some form of early voting.”

Well, those other states aren’t Maryland, nor do they have Maryland’s long history of, shall we say, possible electoral mischief. OpinionJournal - Voting Early and Often
And I don’t recall the Post, in all their championing of so-called campaign finance reform, ever answer the call to name current elected officials who were elected because of the supposed corruption rampant in the system.

Full disclosure: This weekend, I signed – gladly – several petitions to put some of Maryland’s new election laws up for a vote on the ballot, including the provision for early voting.

Comments:
BTW, the Washington Post's editors don't think that the Dems are playing fair with this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/04/AR2006040401755.html
 
Regarding the "Chicago of the East" -- at least the Orioles seem to be bent on becoming the Cubs of the East.
 
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