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Campaign Demands


It's that time a year when the campaigns get a little demanding.

Democrats yesterday were demanding that Republican tear up their 13-page handbook that describes how to challenge voters whom GOP poll workers suspect of fraud.

"I don't think they're going to be challenging voters in areas that are traditional strongholds for the Republican Party," said Senate candidate Benjamin L. Cardin. "I think they're going to be in Prince George's County, aggressively trying to intimidate the vote in this county."

And the state Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., was demanding that Democrat Martin O'Malley cough up his Maryland State Bar application to prove whether he listed his 19-year-old drunk driving arrest and acquittal as required.

"Although his arrest and acquittal twenty years ago on a driving under the influence charge may be irrelevant to his ability to serve as governor, his ability to tell the truth completely and without qualification is extremely relevant," the police union said in a statement yesterday.

O'Malley hasn't released the application and seemed unmoved by the FOP plea. "I have nothing more to say on that," he said yesterday. "That was last week's distraction."

On the voting guide, Democrats' concerns stem from a series of passages that fall under the heading "Challenging Voters."

"Your most important duty as a poll watcher is to challenge people who present themselves to vote but who are not authorized to vote," it states.

After that are guidelines for determining whether a voter might be lying about his or her identity and intervening at the check-in table if the voter can't smoothly recite a home address or date of birth.

Advocacy groups including the National Campaign for Fair Elections, Common Cause, the ACLU and the NAACP, as well as a George Washington University professor who is an expert on voter suppression, reviewed the manual and concluded that it raises concerns.

State GOP chairman John Kane defended the guide, saying: "If you're entitled to vote, we're going to do anything we can to let you vote. If you're not, we're going to stand in front of you and play hardball."

A spokesman for Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele said the candidate "encourages each and everyMarylander eligible to vote to get to the polls on November 7th and exercise their most important right as an American citizen. He alsostressed that all poll workers-- Republican and Democrat -- should follow the law to the letter."

Matt Mosk and John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  November 3, 2006; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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