WashPost Shapes Story on Md. Court Ruling Into Vehicle for Democratic Talking Points
On August 11, a state judge struck down an early voter law passed by the liberal Democratic legislature over Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich's veto. In his August 12 story covering the decision, Washington Post staff writer Matthew Mosk relayed fiery, class warfare-centered talking points from liberal Democrats incensed at the ruling.
Yet Mosk curiously omitted an early voting option that costs Marylanders $0.78 (two first-class postage stamps): an absentee ballot.
"Sheet metal workers and crane operators and people who have to leave the house at 5 in the morning to get to their jobs at the Pentagon, they're the ones who are helped by this," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said earlier this year.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he, too, "strongly disagrees" with the ruling.
"Marylanders should see the lawsuit that resulted in today's ruling for exactly what it is: an effort spearheaded by supporters of Governor Ehrlich and Lieutenant Governor Steele to make it difficult for voters to exercise the franchise," he said.
Of course, despite Maryland's 2-to-1 Democratic registration advantage, in 2002 Ehrlich did well among Miller's suburban and rural southern Maryland constituency and among blue collar workers and white women in general. Besides, Miller didn't explain how busy people with a hellish daily commute in Capital Beltway traffic would have it in them to drive to an outside-of-precinct early voting location the week before the election.
Nonetheless, Miller and Hoyer are entitled to their talking points, but Mosk didn't have to fall for them. Contrary to Hoyer's bombastic assertion, every Maryland voter has an early voting option that's as easy as filling out some postcards and sticking them in the mailbox.
Absentee ballots are of course sealed in double envelopes and unopened until after the polls close on election day. They are more secure from tampering than early voting precincts, which is exactly the reason Ehrlich gave for vetoing the early voting bill.
Of course, mentioning that would undercut the political storyline that Mosk was trying to give an otherwise unsexy tale of how a Democratic-appointed state judge found the Democratic legislature overstepped its constitutional authority with the early voting law.