WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland Senator Ben Cardin is proposing penalties for political campaigns that try to deceive voters.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains Cardin takes pages from Maryland’s book to apply to federal elections.
The Maryland robocalls case in which a campaign director was found guilty of voter suppression is an example of campaign tactics U.S. Senator Ben Cardin wants to outlaw in national elections.
“A Baltimore jury convicted that individual from the campaign under state election laws and it points out…it was a relatively recent change in the state election laws. What we are trying to do is make this a national policy,” Cardin said.
Cardin says his 2006 Senate campaign against Michael Steele is also an example of false information used to influence voters.
“It gave the impression to voters that my opponent was endorsed by prominent African-Americans who had in fact endorsed me,” Cardin said. “It also included a sample ballot that gives the impression that the Republicans are also the Democrats.”
The Voter Intimidation Prevention Act applies to federal elections. It prohibits false statements about endorsements, voter eligibility, times and dates of elections and polling locations within 90 days of an election. Criminal penalties include fines, up to five years in prison or both.
Cardin considers his bill bipartisan and thinks it should get widespread support. Still, nothing gets America’s juices flowing like a spirited debate on First Amendment rights.
Cardin first proposed cracking down on voter suppression in 2007.