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December 14, 2011

Cardin cites '06 race in support of voter fraud bill

Sen. Ben Cardin argued Wednesday that the nation’s election laws should be more uniform so prosecutors across the country could pursue political operatives who take part in election shenanigans such as Maryland’s recent robo-call case.

“What we’re trying to do is make this a national policy,” said Cardin, who unveiled a new iteration of his voter fraud bill Wednesday. “We want to see this uniform around the nation.”

The bill would subject those found guilty of using deceptive practices to suppress voter turnout to a fine or a possible five-year prison sentence.

The effort comes days after Paul Schurick, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign manager, was found guilty of election fraud for attempting to suppress turnout with a last-minute robo-call. The proposal was not drafted in response to that case.

In a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Cardin noted his own run-in with a last-minute electoral sneak attack: A 2006 flier distributed in black neighborhoods incorrectly suggesting that several prominent African-American leaders had endorsed his Republican opponent. 

“That type of fraudulent information should have no place in American politics,” Cardin said. Shortly after his election to the Senate, Cardin introduced a similar bill with Barack Obama, then a senator.

Cardin's legislation, which so far has no Republican co-sponsors, would apply to communications that occur in the last 90 of an election with federal candidates on the ballot. Literature listing the wrong date or time for an election, giving inaccurate information about voter eligibility, or promoting false endorsements of candidates would be covered under the bill.

Posted by John Fritze at 1:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Washington

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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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