Former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, who has been weighing an offer to run for lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Melvin A. Steinberg, was stricken from the state's list of registered voters four months ago.
The state constitution says that to be lieutenant governor, one must have been a registered voter in Maryland for five years preceding the general election.
But Mr. McMillen has said his removal from the voters list by Anne Arundel County elections officials is a technicality that wouldn't stand in the way if he decided to run.
Mr. McMillen was dropped from the rolls when two letters to a post office box he had been using were returned, according to Barbara Fisher, deputy elections administrator for the county.
The former congressman owns a townhouse in the Anne Arundel community of Crofton, but has been renting it for the past eight months while working in West Palm Beach, Fla. Reached last week in Florida, Mr. McMillen said he was unaware that his registration had lapsed. "I'm a resident of Maryland, I have a car registered in Maryland, I pay taxes in Maryland," Mr. McMillen said.
He expressed confidence that the matter could be rectified easily. "That must be a mail problem," he said of the county election board action. "I think it's just a paperwork foul-up."
Gene M. Raynor, state election board administrator, agreed that the Anne Arundel office should have tried more diligently to contact Mr. McMillen before purging his name. "If the post office box lapsed and he has not moved his residency, he surely should not have been taken off the books," Mr. Raynor said.
It wasn't clear yesterday whether Mr. McMillen's voting status would affect his potential candidacy. Mr. Steinberg, Maryland's current lieutenant governor, offered the No. 2 position on his gubernatorial ticket to Mr. McMillen on June 22.
"It's hard to say what effect this would have on a decision-making process," said Dan Walter, a spokesman for the Steinberg campaign.
Mr. McMillen said last week he moved temporarily to West Palm Beach when his company, CliniCorp Inc., relocated there. He has been renting a residence in West Palm Beach, but said he planned to return to Maryland in August.