The Gov.'s "Emotional Reaction" = Defying the Law

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Gov.'s "Emotional Reaction" = Defying the Law

Over the veto of Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich, the Maryland legislature voted to join dozens of other states in sanctioning "early voting." Yesterday, the governor, facing a tough re-election campaign, openly began his effort to obstruct the law. According to the Wash Post:
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. opened a new front yesterday in his war against early voting, threatening to use his position on the Board of Public Works to block funds needed to implement it.

... Ehrlich has cited no instances of fraud in the 35 states that use early voting but said it could allow voters to cast ballots more than once. Democrats say objections are political because extended balloting could increase voter turnout, and Maryland has two times as many registered Democrats as Republicans.

... "My emotional reaction is not to let any of this go though," Ehrlich said.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) called Ehrlich's comments "reckless." "The governor, as head of the Republican Party, is engaged in voter suppression, and that's wrong," he said.
I'm sure that most of Maryland's Democratic legislators supported this early-voting law primarily because they felt it would help the party's candidates in November. Likewise, I'm sure GOP legislators opposed it not because of any genuine concern about voter fraud, but because they felt it would hurt Republican candidates.

But it is the law.

In the other states that permit it, early-voting hasn't been associated with voter fraud. In fact, Maryland's law allows only a week of early voting -- far less than Iowa, Texas and several other early-voting states.

It's outrageous that a governor would so publicly declare his readiness to obstruct a law.

One individual's "emotional reaction" does not trump the law. Not even the governor's. Especially not the governor's.

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