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September 1, 2010

Murphy, O'Malley hit Ehrlich on early voting

* Updated below *

Maryland's gubernatorial candidates want you to vote early. But two of them, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and Republican underdog challenger Brian Murphy also want to remind you that Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Republican former governor and current contender, once vetoed early voting.

"Ehrlich's change of heart on early voting [is] nothing more than an opportunistic about-face by a career politician," Murphy said in a release late Tuesday, some of his strongest criticism to date of his primary challenger.

O'Malley's campaign spokesman said in a message to supporters Tuesday that early voting was a "no-brainer for public officials on both sides of the aisle, but if Bob Ehrlich had had his way early voting would never have been possible."

Anticipating such criticism, Ehrlich composed a YouTube message in which he attempts to reconcile his opposition to early voting with his desire for you to vote early for him.

In the video, released Friday, Ehrlich says he has been critical of early voting because it is a "solution in search of a problem." Still, he says his campaign hopes to take "full advantage" of what is now state law.

Murphy, in his release last night, says Ehrlich's push on early voting is meant to counteract his challenger's momentum. A little-known Montgomery County investor, Murphy attracted national attention when former Alaska governor and Tea Party fixture Sarah Palin endorsed him.

On early voting, Murphy said of Ehrlich, "Before he was opposed to it, but now that our campaign is gaining ground, he supports it."

Here's a timeline on early voting's legislative history, compiled by colleague Annie Linskey:

Winter 2005 -- General Assembly passed early voting law

May 2005 -- Ehrlich vetoes early voting

Winter 2006 -- Maryland General Assembly overrides Ehrlich's veto

Spring 2006 -- Board of Elections prepare for early voting in 2006 elections

August 2006 -- Maryland Court of Appeals rules early voting unconstitutional, noting that the voting schedule is clearly laid out in the state's constitution. Changing it requires voter approval. 

Winter 2007 -- General Assembly approves constitutional referendum on early voting

November 2008 -- Voters overwhelmingly approve early voting

Early voting begins Friday, and primary election day is Sept. 14. Check out this state web site for details on early voting locations.

Update: The Maryland Democratic Party and Maryland Republican Party are to hold a joint press conference tomorrow morning to promote early voting.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Turnbull and Republican Party Chairwoman Audrey Scott both will give remarks in just outside the State House in Annapolis. The parties are billing it as an educational event.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 12:07 PM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Early voting


whatever, yawn... if the politicians want to be critical of each let it be about real everyday issues...this is just about making noise

Check your dates. There was not a state-wide election in November, 2007.

Early voting is the strangest fiasco I have ever heard of in my entire lifetime. I want to know why early voting is OK, yet our military Dads, Moms, Husbands, Wives, Daughter and Son's vote will not be counted, in Maryland, under the MOVE act. Why? If Marylander's can vote early, why can't the absentee ballots of those, who fight for these rights, be given the same air of bustling importance?

If I am wrong, someone out there please set me straight.

Amen, Joe.

Early voting was ruled Unconstitutional by the MD Court of Appeals, so even if Ehrlich signed it, it would have been overruled anyhow. The timeline above shows the Bully Pulpit that Bush/Miller had at the time. The public approved the change to the MD Constitution for early voting (be it right or wrong, the public spoke).

The public also approved Constitution changes for specific slot palor locations. THAT should not have happened. locations should NOT have been placed in the Constitutional ammendment, leaving flexibility for those locations.

Ehrlich should be critical of the first day of early voting falling on one of O'Malley's furlough days! Ehrlich never furloughed state workers, even when he was fixing the budget deficits. Will the State Board of Elections workers be paid? Will they work the furlough, excuse me work hour reduction, day? Where is the press' coverage of this?

Maryland had early voting BEFORE all of this because we had no-excuse absentee voting. This means any registered voting could request an absentee ballot even earlier than today's early voting. So early voting is just letting someone cast their ballot in person and costs the state more money.

Yes, yawn. Both the leading contenders have proven mediocre at best in the job, and neither should be sent back.

Wow, another groundbreaking article from the Sunpapers. I can't imagine the amount of time and effort the Sun staff had to put into uncovering this earth shattering news. When will this rag stop trying to do anything possible to keep Ehrlich out of office? So I guess your logic now is that because of this we should all run out and vote for O'Malley? yeah right!

Let me set you straight, carol:
Military personnel are entitled to vote via absentee ballots and have more than a single day to do so.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the rest of you yawning naysayers are healthy wealthy and mobile. Not everyone has an easy time getting to the polls as you lucky ones.

@Max power
Why the nastyness? I'm just curious as to why all the hoopla la over early voting. Press conferences, speeches, etc.
Sure our military can vote. But will those votes be counted in time to make a difference between the primary and general election? As I understand it, Maryland filed for an exemption from this law. It's called the Move act. Google it.


The Board of Elections has devised an online system where military personnel and families can get ballots over the Internet very quickly and then mail it in well before the deadline.

Early voting gives people more chances to vote. I work during the day and now I can go to any polling location in my county to vote for 6 days. Love it! No wonder it is so popular

I hope the State employees that get furloughed and no pay raises rememebr when Martin Said " BGE rates will not go up on my watch". what a lie they went up over 200%. Also he has a tendency to forget all the waivers and special permission he gives to his Family and friends. a special admendment to ;let his wife a judge live outside her area was rushed through the house. He has failed to sign the death penalty bill and protect us from illeagals who are driving drunk and killing innocent people. Rememeber the Marine that was home tpo get married was killed by a illeagal drunken driver. I hope we vote himne out of office . he is just using us.

In a year that is incredibly anti-incumbent, Murphy is the only non-incumbent

Why is there no early voting center in Northern Baltimore County? There are 5 Baltimore County centers located around the beltway but none in the northern section of the county.

This certainly sounds like people in the rural areas aren't being given an equal opportunity to vote early.

Early voting was ruled unconstitutional by the MD Court of Appeals,and who was the AG who's legal opinion was that the legislation would pass legal muster? Why MOM's daddy-in-law! How the heck did that happen? Boy, we sure are stuuuuuuuuipd........

Interesting how O'Malley and Murphy agree on so many issues. How long will it take before Murphy reveals he is not only a "former" democrat, but also an O'Malley operative. Everyone knows that Murphy is O'Malley's plant and I expect to see Murphy officially join the O'Malley campaign Sept. 15.

Steve H.-There are no early voting centers in the more northern parts of Baltimore County because those voters tend to support Republican candidates. The Democrats in Annapolis choose locations that would most benefit their agenda. I'm not sure what "push" Brian Murphy is referring to regarding the Ehrlich campaign. Early voting is here so it must be dealt with.
Joe-ball-I believe the furloughed State Workers heard you, MCEA has endorsed Governor Ehrlich!

The issue at hand is the opportunity for fraud. I can go to an early voting center and say my name is Carly and vote. Then Carly can go and vote again on election day.yet there are limited controls and presentation of IDs is not relevant.And how easy is it to recreate a voters card?Meanwhile, I can't afford my BGE bill but Motor Mouth O'Malley is slamming without presenting plans again.

Early voting was and is designed to benefit Democratic strongholds throughout the state. Why do you think Annapolis passed this?

i believe early voting is good because it gives ppl more then one chance to vote also now that they r doin erly voting the voting percentage might go up ehrlich is just using the method "if u cant beat them join them" because like they said he doesnt want to fall to far behind n the polls i think its a good idea though personally the early voting that is

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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