|MARYLAND||10 Electoral Votes|
The election of Bob Ehrlich as governor in 2002 showed Republicans can win statewide in Maryland despite their significant registration disadvantage. However, this outcome did not extend into 2004 as both Kerry and Sen. Barbara Mikulski won comfortably.
According to Maryland Democratic Party executive director Josh White the 2004 results show that, "There is not a political realignment in Maryland. The Democrats are still the dominant party in Maryland."
Meanwhile Maryland Republican Party chairman John M. Kane described the outcome as "a solid building block for the Maryland Republican Party.” In a statement Kane said, “We improved on the 17-point disappointment from 2000, with George Bush garnering at least 43 percent of the vote and winning 19 [sic] of the state’s 23 counties. For a President regarded as a conservative to have such solid numbers in a state that hung so firmly in the blue column four years ago is truly momentous."
There was some controversy in Maryland
over the voting machines. Starting in October 2003 and continuing
throughout 2004 the Campaign for Verifiable Voting in Maryland (TrueVoteMD.org)
waged a well-organized challenge to the Diebold AccuVote-TS electronic
voting machines purchased by the state, charging the system was "insecure
and error prone" and seeking a verifiable paper audit trail. TrueVoteMD
took the matter as far as the Maryland Court of Appeals, but that effort
ended on Sept. 14, 2004. It its post-election report "When the Right
to Vote Goes Wrong," TrueVoteMD said that on Election Day it had "403 trained
pollwatchers at 108 precincts in 14 counties and Baltimore City." [This
amounted to about 6% of the 1,787 precincts statewide.] The report claimed
over 500 incidents of problems.
Third Party and Independent
Nader: Supporters created a new Populist Party, which required 10,000 petition signatures by Aug. 2, 2004. (If instead of creating a new party, Nader had sought to run as a petition candidate he would have needed signatures of 1% of the registered voters eligible to vote--almost three times as many signatures). They submitted a total of 15,090 signatures; State Board of Elections officials determined 5,627 were invalid, leaving 9,463 valid, or 537 short of the required number. The campaign filed suit on Aug. 27, 2004 in Anne Arundel Circuit Court charging that it was unconstitutional to invalidate signatures of more than 600 voters simply because they were listed under the wrong county. Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Philip Caroom upheld the Board of Elections in a Sept. 14 ruling. The Court of Appeals agreed to hear an appeal on Sept. 16 and on Sept. 20 reversed the Circuit Court ruling. Maryland State Coordinator for the campaign is Virginia Rodino of Baltimore.
Copyright © 2004,
2005 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.