‘Does My Vote Count?’

by [Name Withheld]
       Your article, "Assuring 'Every Vote Counts' Problematical Worldwide" [December Chronicle] had me thinking about the Florida election calamity. Why do the American people tolerate this crap?

Don't think what happened in Florida can't happen in Maryland. It's already happened here, and more than once.

       But Presidential politics are no different than local or state politics. During the 90's, I thought entering the political process as a candidate and advisor would help facilitate my platform on the homeless. To my surprise, I was educated beyond the normal daily grind of running a campaign. I learned every vote does count, and that the votes that are cast must be protected.

       I recall not knowing if I had won or lost the election in Baltimore City for more than 48 hours after the election was over.

       The "Board of Election Supervisors" gave many excuses for the delay, though no excuse was acceptable to me. I just wanted the results.

       A few years later, I served as an advisor to a major candidate. We experienced voter irregularities in West Baltimore that were similar to the ones in Florida— before, during, and after the election.

       We learned that the warehouse where the voting booths were stored had been vandalized. We inspected the voting booths on Election Day and discovered that the visual counting device on the side of the voting booth showed votes had been cast before the election even began. Our complaints to the Board of Election Supervisors fell on deaf ears.

       Our campaign office fielded hundreds of phone calls citing voting irregularities throughout that election day. Many polling places did not open on time or closed early. Several elderly voters were told that they had already voted, or that they had not registered to vote, and could not vote.

       We lost the election and immediately decided to challenge the results in court. We presented documented proof from voters that absentee ballots had been filled out by the opposition. We also offered as proof numerous affidavits from voters who said they had observed irregularities. We had sworn testimony in our favor. Subpoenaed police reports revealed that the voting booth warehouse had been vandalized.

       Yet despite this overwhelming and well-documented evidence of election fraud, the Circuit Court of Maryland rendered its decision in favor of the incumbents.

       We Marylanders cannot sit back and be smug about the fraudulent Florida election, thinking such things cannot happen here. Such things have happened here, and will happen again if we don't pay better attention to the process and make sure rules are followed.

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This story was published on January 3, 2001.