Sauerbrey asks winner to endorse her inquiry

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey yesterday called on her victorious opponent, Democrat Parris N. Glendening, to support her efforts to obtain voting records she believes could help her overturn his election.

In a letter to Mr. Glendening, Mrs. Sauerbrey asked the governor-elect "to join me in a demand for equal access and immediate review of the public voting records and materials by our staffs, the media and the voters of the state of Maryland."

"An open inspection of the public records will allow the will of the people, rather than our individual desires, to control the eventual outcome of this election," she said.

Mrs. Sauerbrey's campaign manager, Richard W. Montalto, also sent letters to all 24 election boards requesting immediate access to a two-page list of voting records and results.

Among the information demanded: lists of civilian, military and oversees absentee ballots; dates of vote tallies and reasons for any re-tallies; names, addresses and telephone numbers of election officials on duty as votes were re-counted; copies of all records involving voting machine failures, errors and replacements; telephone logs, forms, memos; lists of poll sites; and information about missing voter-registration forms.

In her letter to Mr. Glendening, Mrs. Sauerbrey said, "As the two candidates for governor of Maryland this year, we have an obligation to assure the citizens of our state that their ballots are accurately recorded and counted."

The Glendening camp replied by saying the election is over.

"I guess it is apparent that the word hasn't permeated through the Sauerbrey camp that the voters of the state of Maryland have elected Mr. Glendening as the next governor," said Bruce Marcus, a lawyer with Marcus & Bonsib in Greenbelt who represents the Glendening campaign.

Mr. Marcus added that Maryland's Public Information Act and the state elections code give candidates such as Mrs. Sauerbrey broad access to voter-registration records and lists before, during and after the actual voting.

"All of those rights are found in the law and don't require Mr. Glendening's consent or anyone else's consent," he said. "I think Mrs. Sauerbrey is launching her campaign for her next attempt to either become governor or some other office, and she is trying to keep her name in the public eye for as long as she can."

Sauerbrey officials, however, have contended that election boards, at the prompting of the Glendening campaign, have been impeding their access to records.

They went to court Monday to demand immediate access to voting records from seven Baltimore precincts that went overwhelmingly for Mr. Glendening, but a city judge told them they would have to wait until the official canvass of voting in the city is completed.

"We have told them as soon as we finish the canvass, we will make anything available they have requested," said city elections chief Barbara Jackson.

"But, because of all their requests and all their interruptions, we can't get through with the regular canvass."

She said she hoped the canvass, which is the double-checking of vote totals done in each of the 24 election boards, is completed by tomorrow.

"We're not trying to hide anything or keep anything from them," Ms. Jackson said.

"Our records are open and available to whoever would like to see them or scrutinize them or whatever they want to do, but we have to get this canvass completed."

But Carol L. Hirschburg, Mrs. Sauerbrey's spokeswoman, said the Republican camp is worried that when next week arrives, the Glendening lawyers will find new reasons to delay access to records.

"The longer it takes to get to the records, the more of an opportunity for them to become lost or separated or whatever," she said.

The letter sent by Mr. Montalto to each of the 24 boards, she said, "is a document that asks for materials that establish the basis on which you need to pursue either a recount or a challenge to an election."

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