A group of about 30 angry voters gathered at War Memorial Plaza in Baltimore yesterday to voice their concern over the general election in November, again charging that the gubernatorial race was "stolen" by Democrats and calling for election reform.
Carrying placards of protest, the group of Republicans and a few Democrats walked four blocks west to a building that houses the Maryland attorney general's office. There, the protesters denounced the office for defending the election at a trial in January, among other criticisms.
The protest appeared to be geared toward keeping a spotlight on what members of the group termed "fraud" in the governor's race -- the election in which Democrat Parris N. Glendening defeated Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey by 5,993 votes.
Daniel J. Earnshaw, a Republican former member of the state election board, recited a litany of allegations of "election fraud," "criminal conduct" and "obstruction of justice." "Go and spread the word," Mr. Earnshaw told the group.
Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. considered such allegations during the trial and found no evidence of fraud.
Mr. Earnshaw yesterday called the trial "a farce."
Deputy Attorney General Ralph S. Tyler III said the group's assertions are "baseless."
"The 1994 election has been the most thoroughly scrutinized election in the state's history, and there is no reason to doubt that it was a fair election and that the result certified is the result that occurred," Mr. Tyler said.
Mrs. Sauerbrey was not at the rally yesterday and said she never planned to attend, contrary to broadcast reports that she would be there.
"This is an issue I said back in January was not a Sauerbrey issue any more," the former Maryland House minority leader said. "This goes far beyond the issue of one person. It is a good government issue."
Nevertheless, Mrs. Sauerbrey said she supported the group's effort.
"I give them a great deal of credit for their persistence and insistence that this issue not be swept under the rug," Mrs. Sauerbrey said. "I'm very glad that there are citizens who care enough about the election process that they are insistent that changes be made in the process."
Del. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican from Harford County, was the only elected official at the protest. She said she planned to introduce election reform legislation when the General Assembly meets in January.
One bill would change a state law that requires the attorney general to represent the Baltimore City election board. A second would change the way in which the five members of the state election board are chosen by the governor.
Under Ms. Jacobs' proposal, the governor would select members of both parties from a list of nominees submitted by each party's state central committee. Currently, the governor's office comes up with the names.