Maryland’s second-highest court has affirmed the verdict in the election fraud trial of a campaign consultant involving Election Day automated calls that prosecutors said were aimed at keeping Black voters from the polls. Julius Henson worked for former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s campaign during his 2010 rematch with Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley. Last year, a Baltimore jury convicted him of conspiring to send robocalls without an authority line that explained who sent the message. He appealed, arguing that the verdict was inconsistent and the application of the election law was constitutionally vague. The Court of Special Appeals disagreed with both questions in a ruling filed last week. It also found that the jury instruction was not erroneous and a sentence barring participation in politics during probation was legal. “This case presents us with a sad tale,” wrote Judge Albert J. Matricciani, for a three-judge panel that ruled on the case.
The New Jersey Democratic Party has paid more than $42,000 to settle allegations that it improperly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a series of controversial automated campaign calls meant to pull support from Chris Christie in his 2009 campaign against former Gov. Jon Corzine. The party had faced more than $200,000 in fines stemming from the six in-kind contributions, which totaled $227,120.64, most of which were used to pay for automated phone calls, known as robo calls, that supported third-party candidate Chris Daggett, who was seen as drawing votes away from Christie.
Make of this what you will: Faced with an unprecedented number of allegations of electoral fraud in the 2011 election – more than 1,400 complaints from more than 200 ridings – Elections Canada has responded by hiring not a single extra investigator to track down the culprits. The agency had nine investigators last year. It still has nine, spokesman John Enright confirmed, although it plans to add two entry-level investigators in coming months. It faces no budgetary restrictions for hiring in such a probe. It could employ 100 extra investigators if it wished.
A group of Canadians challenging the election wins of seven Conservative MPs has scored a victory along the road to getting the main case heard in Federal Court. The court has ruled in favour of the challengers denying a motion by the Conservative Party to force them to put down hundreds of thousands of dollars as a security deposit. Nine people, backed by the Council of Canadians, are challenging the election wins of seven Conservative MPs. They argue fraudulent or abusive phone calls targeted those seven ridings in an attempt to discourage voters from casting ballots on May 2, 2011, and that the election results should be nullified.