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Two top aides to former Governor Robert Ehrlich of Maryland have been indicted for making illegal calls designed to suppress the Democratic vote in Maryland in last year's gubernatorial election, in which Ehrlich was attempting a political comeback.  Several hours before the polls closed, robocalls went out to predominantly minority precincts in Baltimore City and Prince George's County, telling voters that Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley had won, and that there was now nothing to do but celebrate his victory.

The indictment names Julius Henson, an African-American political consultant in Baltimore, who had previously worked largely for Democrats, but who accepted $111,000 from the Ehrlich campaign to suppress the black vote (the services were billed as "community outreach").  The other indicted party was Paul Schurick, who has long worked for Ehrlich, both when he was Governor and in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Somehow, Ehrlich supposedly knew nothing about this effort going on inside of his campaign.

The charges against both defendants include

three counts of conspiracy to violate Maryland election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter's decision and one count of failing to provide an authority line (on campaign material). Schurick also is charged with one count of obstruction of justice.

Henson, bizarrely, claimed that the calls were actually intended to be "counter-intuitive" calls to increase the vote for Ehrlich -- riiiiight ... in the most heavily Democratic precincts in the entire state.  

The indictment describes a document titled "The Schurick Doctrine" and that was "designed to promote confusion, emotionalism, and frustration among African-American Democrats."

The indictment quotes from the document: "The first and foremost desired outcome [of the Schurick Doctrine strategy] is voter suppression."

I sincerely hope that every time Republicans introduce legislation to make it tougher for people to vote, while piously claiming that they intend no such thing, Democrats around the country shove the "Schurick Doctrine" document in their faces (or someplace else).  The only surprising thing to me is that not only were they engaging in voter suppression, they were stupid enough to create a written record confirming that voter suppression was their specific intent.

Here is a link to the story from the Baltimore Sun:

Originally posted to leevank on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 01:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos.

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