Below you see an article that tells you the entire election system is captured and dysfunctional. I talked recently about how MD media black out of all media coverage in primaries of challengers against MD's incumbents for life which makes free and fair elections impossible. MD League of Women Voters says MD media will not even link to their debates of ALL CANDIDATES and definitely will not air them. That would open the election to many different platforms and balanced election coverage.
No, say the media. Let's pretend that voter suppression at the polls....which very little evidence of this exists.....is the headline!
The problem is indeed incumbents for life and this involves the messy issue of political machines and captured media. Everyone who reads my blog knows I went crazy last election to see that MUSE, a challenger to Ben Cardin get election coverage....exposing how arcane the election system is in Maryland. I went to the Federal Election Commission and they said-----no law requiring media coverage of elections. So, we have campaigning paid for by hundreds of millions of dollars buying campaign ads as the driver of free and fair elections. This is the election financing debate but the problems are much deeper. It involves a candidates ability to be included in all of the political discourse in the state or city and in Maryland the only way to do that is to be a member of the machine! So, you have the neo-liberals vs conservative republicans and the crony is bipartisan. Republican voters hate their choices as much as democratic voters.
I want to show you who in Maryland is allowing all of this crony and capture in elections exist. Let's start with the Maryland Assembly election committee that makes election law, go to the Maryland State Board of Election to see who enforces election law, and then look at the state of the Federal Election Commission tasked with making all these laws work.
Please note that it is Obama, O'Malley, and Rawlings-Blake having control of these agencies and they are all neo-liberal. This is not a republican problem!
Maryland Assembly House of Delegates
ELECTION LAW SUBCOMMITTEE
JON S. CARDIN CHAIR OF ELECTION COMMITTEE
Democrat, District 11, Baltimore County
KATHRYN L. AFZALI
Republican, District 4A, Frederick County
KUMAR P. BARVE
Democrat, District 17, Montgomery County
Democrat, District 45, Baltimore City
Republican, District 30, Anne Arundel County
Democrat, District 47, Prince George's County
MICHAEL G. SUMMERS
Democrat, District 47, Prince George's County
What we need is election law that caps campaign contributions by the wealthy and corporations and we need law that requires media to provide as a public service time for all candidates in a campaign to have air time. Back in the day you did not need a law for that because free and fair elections were a given! But you say-----HOW CAN WE MAKE MEDIA LOSE MONEY BY PROVIDING FREE ELECTION COVERAGE?
The U.S. Department of State.
Government Authority Derives from the Will of the People Free and fair elections are a fundamental element of a healthy democracy. To be truly free and fair, however, elections require not only transparent and well-managed election day polling, but also a society that encourages full citizen participation, political parties to operate freely, independent media to flourish, and which builds a judiciary system capable of exercising independent and impartial authority.
When I ask people why voter turnout is low in Maryland and almost absent in Baltimore I am told NO ONE IS RUNNING FOR WHICH I WOULD VOTE! Political machines and incumbents have killed democracy in Maryland. So, what is an election committee to do? Does having all kinds of voting opportunities matter if no one feels a challenger has a chance? A common complaint in Baltimore and around the state----THE CANDIDATE DOES NOT EVEN LIVE IN MY DISTRICT....that's what happens with incumbents for life----they move and their political machine stays!
'Maryland's highest court has taken a liberal view of residency for elected officials. In 1998, it allowed State Sen. Clarence Blount to continue to represent Baltimore even though he lived in Pikesville while keeping a barebones apartment in the city. From a legal standpoint, home is where an elected official says it is, the court ruled'.
When I ask candidates what are the roadblocks? THE ORGANIZATIONS PRESENTING DEBATES ARE ALLOWED TO EXCLUDE.
Does this look like full citizen participation?
September 16, 2010
Primary turnout hits historic low
For all the talk of an energized electorate, and even with the new opportunity to vote early, turnout in Tuesday’s primaries was the lowest in for a gubernatorial election year in Maryland going back at least to 1982, the earliest year for which records were available.
Of Maryland’s 3,167,846 eligible voters, 761,413 cast ballots in the primaries, for a turnout of 24.04 percent, according to unofficial counts released Thursday by the State Board of Elections. The numbers do not yet include provisional or absentee ballots, but judging from previous elections, these are unlikely to be enough to push the total over the state’s previous low of 28.64 percent in in 1998.
This year, 2.44 percent of the electorate took advantage of early voting, offered for six days at central locations in each county; 21.6 percent voted on Tuesday, the traditional primary day, when local polling places were open.
In spite of a competitive Democratic primary for state's attorney, Baltimore saw a lower-than-average turnout of 21.49 percent. Baltimore County, venue for a comeptitive race for county executive, had a turnout of 29.45 percent.
Two of Maryland's least populous counties, meanwhile, distinguished themselves in electoral enthusiasm: Garrett County led the state with 39.59 percent turnout, including 35.09 percent on Tuesday. Talbot county led in early voting participation with 6.78 percent.
Statewide turnout in 2006, the last gubernatorial election, was 29.6 percent. That might have been driven in part by a competitive Democratic primary race between Benjamin L. Cardin and Kweisi Mfume for the open Senate seat vacated that year by retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.
WHERE IS THE LAW IN MARYLAND THAT STATES PUBLIC AIR WAVES = PUBLIC INTEREST COVERAGE!
Michael Wolff: Give campaign ads free TV time
Michael Wolff, USA TODAY 2:48 p.m. EDT October 22, 2012
Why do campaigns continue to buy, almost to the exclusion of all other media, local broadcast television?
The solution is easy, and does not involve spending limits, free speech issues, or even banning Super PACs. Broadcast television is a regulated utility. It is perfectly legal, reasonable and, at least from the public's view, uncontroversial to require broadcast television to provide free air time to qualified candidates.
The major effect, beyond saving money, of free and equitable broadcast media would be to neutralize swing voters. Since each side would have the same opportunity to convince them, the seesaw effect, and its attendant raising of the ante, goes away.
The cacophony would subside. A more creative use of media and more complex messaging would be needed to appeal to the most resistant voters. In marketing terms, each party and candidate would need to rely on longer-term branding solutions instead of quick-hit direct-sell commercials (more then 73,000 of them in Las Vegas alone this season, The New York Times reports). The meaning of the message would be more important than the number of messages. You would no longer be able to quickly buy message superiority — and no longer need to indulge Sheldon Adelson's motives to do it.
Brains, or at least cleverness, in American politics would be the higher-value currency.
In Baltimore one does not hear a thing about candidates for election in the media. Below you see that the one debate scheduled for a local election was with League of Women Voters and when it was cancelled....there was nothing. Keep in mind that no media outlet would have shared this debate anyway.
September 12, 2011
Candidates protest lack of debate, media coverage Sun colleague Liz Kay reports:
Four primary challengers for president of the Baltimore City Council gathered outside City Hall Monday afternoon to protest the lack of media attention to their race.
Everyone in the media world understands that the only elections that matter in Maryland are in Montgomery County---the richest county manages to have an active democratic primary that is actually covered. In Baltimore, we hear the Montgomery County primary coverage and nothing of our own.
Posted at 05:50 PM ET, 11/14/2011
Post Roast: Where was the coverage of Maryland’s municipal elections?
By Patrick B. Pexton
Seven cities within 22 miles of The Post’s newsroom on 15th Street NW held elections for mayor and council last Tuesday. Together, their population totals 268,000 people.
Not a word about any of these cities appeared in the Nov. 9 or Nov. 10 print editions of The Washington Post. And very little appeared online on election night or the next day. The cities are all in Maryland, four of them in the jurisdiction that complains almost constantly of being ignored by The Post: Prince George’s County.
'elections require not only transparent and well-managed election day polling'
There is a great deal of concern about the policy of voting online as the fear of election fraud in Maryland would be high. Here you see the minority party calling foul and claims of election return irregularities. I had a small media outlet claim that votes for Cardin in Prince Georges County did not add up.
If you look at all the rules and laws voted into place that look progressive, you see a great deal of discontent with the process!
U.S. Senate Candidate in MD Charges Electoral Failures, Misinformation by Board of Elections, Diebold
Kevin Zeese Issues Open Letter to Maryland Media via BRAD BLOG, Calls for Independent Review of Diebold in State Says MD Election Administrator Linda Lamone Failed to Report Electoral System Facts Accurately in Diebold's 'Showcase' State, Calls for New Voting Equipment in State in Light of Unreported Details, Contradicting Information and Stunning Letter from Republican Governor...
By Kevin Zeese on 2/18/2006, 3:27pm PT Guest Blogged by Kevin Zeese
EDITOR'S NOTE: Kevin Zeese is an independent candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. His following "Open Letter to the Maryland Media" comes on the heels of Thursday's news of Republican MD Governor Robert Ehrlich's letter announcing, amongst other things, that he "no longer [has] confidence in the State Board of Elections' ability to conduct fair and accurate elections in 2006." In the letter, Ehrlich expressly singles out Democratic Election Administrator Linda Lamone, charging that she and the SBE have been "working primarily on behalf of partisan legislators and their interests" and questions her claims that Diebold's paperless touch-screen voting machines --- deployed across the state in 2002 as part of Diebold's "showcase" roll-out of their new system --- could not be replaced by voting devices with voter-verified paper trails in time for the 2006 election. Ehrlich called for paper ballots in his letter.
It was also revealed on Thursday, that Lamone had allowed uncertified Diebold voting machines to be used in elections in Maryland in both 2002 and 2004. Diebold's election equipment has since been show to be hackable, prone to massive failure, and has lost votes in recent elections according to a recently released non-partisan GAO Report, a recent "hack test" in Leon County, FL, and scores of other confirmed reports, studies and analysis from around the country. Lamone is also the curent President of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).
Given the national implications of this matter and the media's general lack of coverage of these important matters, we're happy to honor Zeese's request to run the letter in full here at BRAD BLOG.
'political parties to operate freely'
Maryland is killing participatory democracyJune 01, 2011
As The Sun's recent editorial noted, the right to petition almost no longer exists in Maryland ("Technicalities kill another petition," May 23). The Frederick petition is only the latest in a very long line of petition drives that have failed to qualify for the ballot in recent years.
And this problem affects small political parties as well as ballot questions — currently, all three of Maryland's small parties have lost their status as recognized political parties and are no longer able to nominate candidates for public office. In particular, the Green Party, which has been getting more and more votes in every Baltimore City election, will be unable to nominate candidates for this year's election unless its ballot access is restored by July 1.
But fortunately, political parties are more permanent organizations than referendum and initiative groups, and we have decades of experience with ballot access law. So Maryland's Libertarian and Green Parties have joined together as co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit attempting to reestablish the fundamental right to petition that Maryland voters once enjoyed. The rule in Maryland has always been that whatever our policy differences, we're all in the same boat on ballot access.
Each party submitted about 15,000 petition signatures to regain its political party status to the Maryland State Board of Elections, but election officials will not recertify either party — even though they admit that more than the required 10,000 registered voters have signed each of our petitions. We argue that they are seriously misinterpreting the case law and applying a signature verification standard that is much more strict than is legally justified.
Do we really want only the Democratic and Republican parties to be able to run candidates for public office? No minor party or independent candidates, no initiatives or referenda — and no participatory democracy? We think not.
Doug McNeil, Baltimore
Tim Willard, Gaithersburg
The writers are the plaintiff's representatives for the Maryland Libertarian Party and Green Party, respectively.
Baltimore has a democratic party farm team ready to join enter the elective process and do what Baltimore Development tells them to. OH, YOU THOUGHT MARYLAND POLS WORK FOR THE PUBLIC??!!!
If you are part of this crony system it is assumed you will do just that and your campaign will get noticed.
FROM WATCHDOG WIRE - MARYLAND Crony Capitalism and Maryland’s Political Machine
The machine will brook no opposition
August 16, 2013 by Mark Newgent
Crony capitalism is the grease that oils Maryland’s political machine. And, at last Monday’s Baltimore City Council meeting, we saw a brazen example of how the machine uses political thuggery in pursuit of crony capitalism.
According to the Baltimore Brew:
Following Monday’s City Council meeting where Carl Stokes stood out as the only councilman vocally opposed to a $107 million TIF financing subsidy for Harbor Point, the developer’s public relations consultant marched up to the councilman with a blunt message.
“You’re done,” Steve Kearney told Stokes, according to two witnesses. “I’ll make sure you’re through in politics in Baltimore.”
According to the witnesses, Stokes replied, “You don’t determine that.” Kearney then told Stokes he better hope that his “dinosaurs” come through with political support in the next election because “I’m going after you….”
Harbor Point developer, Michael Beatty, hired Kearney’s firm KO Public Affairs, and according to the Brew article, Kearney has been active in pushing the City Council to approve the $107 million subsidy.
Kearney was Governor Martin O’Malley’s communications director, and also served in that capacity when O’Malley was mayor of Baltimore. Kearney’s partner Damian O’Doherty was a top advisor to former Baltimore County Executive, and now Secretary of Transportation, Jim Smith. O’Doherty’s brother, Ryan was top aide to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, until he resigned late last month. Kearney and O’Doherty organized high dollar fund raising events for O’Malley’s 2010 reelection campaign.
That Kearney would threaten Stokes shows how much the city (and state’s) ruling political machine will brook no opposition. KO Public Affairs is key cog in the wheels of the machine.
KO Public affairs was instrumental in the approval of Maryland’s speed camera program, created an astroturf organization to pressure the General Assembly to adopt O’Malley’s gas tax, acted as unregistered lobbyists for MGM Resorts during the 2012 special session to expand gambling, and acted as consultants for the developers for the State Center project, which was a judge ultimately found to have violated state procurement law.
Kearney and O’Doherty’s business model is based influencing their friends in government to take money from taxpayers to give to their clients.
The total amount of taxpayer subsidies proposed for Harbor Point is $400 million, and Kearney and the machine will brook no opposition.
Kearney and O’Doherty even have their own media outlet, Center Maryland, which, bills itself as “the news you need straight down the middle.” However, Center Maryland features pro-O’Malley propaganda, and content that advocates for the agenda of their clients.
Welcome to the Banana Republic of Maryland.
Please attend these State Board Meetings and shout loudly to enact election law that will give free air time for campaigns in all media, that have the state and city sponsor many forums and debates of all candidates, to keep political parties on the ballots each year so candidates can effectively choose how to market their candidacy, and take seriously efforts to intimidate and control the elective futures of candidates.
State Board Meeting
January 23, 2014 at 2:00pm
State Board of Elections
Street Address (Directions and Maps) 151 West Street,
Annapolis, MD 21401
What is the State Board of Elections?
The State Administrative Board of Election Laws was created in 1969 to ensure compliance with the requirements of Maryland and federal election laws by all persons involved in the election process. Thirty years later, under its new name of State Board of Elections (SBE) it continues its mission in collaboration with the County Boards of Election.
Board Members The State Board of Elections is made up of five members who serve four-year terms and represent both principal political parties — three of the majority and two of the minority party. The members are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate of Maryland.
The current board members are:
- Bobbie S. Mack (D), Chairman
- David J. McManus, Jr. (R), Vice Chairman
- Rachel T. McGuckian (D)
- Patrick H. Murray (D)
- Charles E. Thomann (R)
These bylaws, adopted by the members of the Maryland State Board of Elections, provide the rules of governance for the board during the conduct of all duties assigned under State and federal laws and regulations. Further, these bylaws set a standard of personal conduct for members of the board requiring them to conduct themselves in accordance with high ethical standards in order to ensure the public that members are independent of partisan pressures and conflicting interests.
IF YOU THINK THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION HAS YOUR ELECTORAL BACK......FORGET ABOUT IT. IT CANNOT PROVIDE OVERSIGHT OUTSIDE THEIR OFFICE DOORS!
The Center for Public Integrity
Just after the federal government shut down Oct. 1, and one of the government’s more dysfunctional agencies stopped functioning altogether, Chinese hackers picked their moment to attack.
They waylaid the Federal Election Commission’s networks. They crashed computer systems that publicly disclose how billions of dollars are raised and spent each election cycle by candidates, parties and political action committees.
Carl Hiaasen: Florida governor's continuing crusade to shrink the vote
- By Carl Hiaasen 6:00 a.m. EST, December 19, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Gov. Rick Scott's latest purge of Florida's voter rolls is lurching forward, despite the skepticism and outright opposition of many county elections supervisors.
True to his "tea party" roots, Mr. Scott dreams of the days when most voters were cranky, middle-aged white people, his core constituency. Up for re-election next year, the governor fears a high voter turnout, because that would mean lots of Hispanics and African-Americans standing in line to cast their ballots.
They tend to vote Democrat, grim prospects for a Republican who isn't exactly beloved in his own party.
Mr. Scott's first voter purge was a debacle. Initiated ahead of the 2012 elections, the idea was to thwart President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates by reducing the number of Hispanic, Haitian and other foreign-born voters.
Screening drivers' licenses, the Division of Elections produced a list of about 182,000 possible non-citizens who were registered to vote. Unfortunately, the list proved worthless because the data was outdated or flat-out wrong.
County officials were left exasperated and angry.
Mr. Scott's vote-whitening hit squad then reduced the list of targets to 2,600, and finally to a measly 198 before bagging the whole project.
To the dismay of Scott and Republican leaders, Mr. Obama carried Florida. This information wasn't available on Election Day, or for several days afterwards, because Florida was the last state in the country to count all its votes.
Thank God it no longer mattered.
More than 8.4 million Floridians went to the polls, and long lines overwhelmed some election offices late into the night. These delays could have been avoided if Mr. Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature had agreed in advance to increase the number of early-voting sites, as many county supervisors had requested.
But Republicans don't like early voting because it raises the total turnout. They prefer a smaller, more manageable electorate.
The new Florida purge will use a data program from U.S. Department of Homeland Security called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE. Election officials are supposed to compare voter rolls to a list of legal non-citizens who are qualified to receive certain benefits.
A federal court ruled that Florida was allowed to use the SAVE list, even though Homeland Security officials raised doubts about its reliability as a means of identifying non-citizens.
The point man for the Voter Purge II is once again Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Mr. Scott appointee, who calls it "Project Integrity." Seriously.
Mr. Detzner recently finished a short statewide tour of county elections offices, where he tried to stir up enthusiasm for the purge. There was none.
The most intense grilling came from Susan Bucher, supervisor of elections for Palm Beach County, the site of repeated ballot fiascos going back to Bush-Gore in 2000. A Democrat serving in a nonpartisan position, Ms. Bucher questioned Mr. Detzner and his staff about the accuracy of the SAVE list.
"Where does that data come from; how often is it updated -- every 10 years or every 10 minutes?" she asked, adding: "I have a lot of concern that the people we got the database from are saying this is not comprehensive and definitive."
Picky, picky, picky.
Mr. Detzner replied that SAVE was the best database available, and the voter screening "will be done correctly."
He said he didn't know how often the information was updated to show changes in immigration status. When asked how soon counties would be supplied with lists of potential non-citizens on the rolls, he said he didn't know.