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"No Excuse" Voting


The Republican National Committee joined the crowd encouraging Maryland voters to cast their ballots absentee with an e-mail sent today complete with sites linking GOP voters to ballot applications.

"Maryland has made it easy for you to make your voice heard," the RNC declares. "Cross this important item off your fall to-do list now by voting."

Ironically, it was the Republicans in Annapolis, led by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who strenously opposed legislation that allowed absentee voting for any reason. (Previously voters had to provide a reason such as service in the armed forces, illness, disability or absence on Election Day).

In fact, Ehrlich vetoed the 2005 bill , declaring that "no excuse" absentee voting would be an "invitation for greater voter fraud," unless implemented with more stringent requirements for identification. Several other states use the same system but require more verification, he argued.

He called for setting up a committee to study the absentee proposal and other voting bills. The General Assembly overrode his veto in January.

Now Ehrlich is aggressively urging people to make use of the new provision. His strategy counts on loyal Republicans to cast their ballots early. And it allows the governor's campaign aides to check those voters off their list and concentrate on bringing others out to the polls on Nov. 7.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 24, 2006; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Ehrlich also had the opportunity to do something about the unverifiable electronic voting machines during his 4 years in office. Instead of fixing the problem in the time he had, he's urging voters to vote absentee with two weeks left before the election.

And we should reelect him after he sat on his hands for 4 years? I don't think so.

Posted by: John Hamilton | October 24, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

John is absolutely right. Bobby Hairspray conveniently flip flops on issues whenever they serve HIS best interests. This guy has to go. Typical, cynical Republican office holder who assumes the electorate is too stupid to remember his previous positions on issues. Bobby, We're not all that dumb. Oh, and you can forget about that senate run you're planning against Babs Mikulski. She would eat your lunch

Posted by: jmsbh | October 24, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey John-the-Ehrlich-Hater, almost every state has the same problem, it's not as easy as you seem to think.

Posted by: JD | October 24, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

What happened to accountablility? As Governor, he's responsible for ensuring that our MD elections are safe and accurate. Instead of accepting that responsiblity and guaranteeing a fair and legal election, he cuts and runs and tells his supporters to vote another way. What a cynical ploy. Republicans and Democrats will stand in line together on election day, share the joy of the right to vote, and vote these unaccountable politicians out of office.
Governor Ehrlich - why don't you spend your time now fixing any existing problems before election day. Who needs a Governor that cuts and runs from a crisis and a challenge and only concerns himself with how the outcome might affect him. Selfish.

Posted by: Election Day for all Voters | October 24, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't have a problem with electronic voting if the Democrats hadn't whined so much about how "complicated" voting was in 2000 (complicated because they lost, that is). Now they're whining about the opposite. Jeez.

Posted by: KFC Commando | October 24, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

he thought it was a bad bill and vetoed it. It passed anyway, so you play the cards you are dealt. It amazes me that the Dems push for all these changes to absentee ballots, etc.. and then when the Gov does a better job taking advantage of the laws that they themselves passed, they whine about it.

Posted by: huh? | October 24, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There really _are_ two Bob Ehrlichs after all.

Posted by: Stephanie Dray | October 24, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Do we really want to wait a week for election results? I don't think so.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Independent for Montgomery County Executive | October 24, 2006 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Do we want a fast result or an accurate result? I say people Vote how they like, personally I think a paper trail is better then no paper trail. But I want to use the machine to make sure that everyones on the ballot. We don't want a repeat of what happened with Mikulski in Baltimore Co. 2004 where she was missing from some machines. (covered up btw, thanks Linda Lamone)

Posted by: Alex Zeese | October 28, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

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