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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Voting Early--and Often
Democratic legislators then passed three election-related bills and again mustered the necessary three-fifths votes to overturn his vetoes. Together the election laws would so weaken safeguards against voter fraud as to make Maryland the nation's prime example of Election Day irresponsibility.
The most troublesome bill undermines the concept of local polling places by allowing all voters to vote anywhere in Maryland using a provisional ballot. Gilles Burger, chairman of the state's Board of Elections, flatly says the bill invites fraud. His testimony prompted the Beall commission to warn that it would mean "a provisional ballot could be cast successfully in multiple counties and not be detected until after the votes were certified."

Another bill would allow any voter to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. The state's League of Women Voters noted that the bill undermines Election Day as the foundational day when votes are by law supposed to be cast. The league points out that absentee voting increases risks to "privacy, accuracy, security" and creates opportunities for "intimidation." Evidence also shows that absentee ballots are the most susceptible to fraud--and do not increase voter turnout.

A third bill imposes an unfunded mandate requiring all of Maryland's counties to let voters cast ballots during the five days before Election Day. Linda Lamore, the state's election administrator, warned legislators of her concerns about ballot security as well as her doubts the counties could comply by November.
A fair election is too important to the stability of our nation to allow uncertainty about fraud. Election rules should be written to minimize the potential for fraud. These laws do the exact opposite. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that it's intentional.

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