Official seeks to repeal Annapolis voter law

Just months after the presidential election brouhaha in Florida and months before Annapolis municipal elections this fall, an embattled city council member is asking the city to repeal a yet-to-be-tested voter identification law.

Calling the law redundant and racist, Alderman Cynthia A. Carter has introduced an ordinance to overturn the 1998 law that requires city voters to present valid identification or sign an affidavit before casting their votes in municipal elections.


Carter says the law, which passed almost a year after the last city election, would put an undue burden on voters, especially low-income, elderly and minority voters who might not have a driver's license or other official identification.

But critics point to allegations of wrongdoing by Carter and her supporters in the 1997 city election that made Carter the first African-American woman to serve on the city council.


Carter denies any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing in the Ward 6 election in which she ran as a Democratic write-in candidate.

"I think it is ironic that an alderman whose own election was mired in controversy and allegations of misconduct would try to overturn a city law that would deter voter fraud," said Alderman Herbert H. McMillan, a Republican from Ward 5, who sponsored the voter identification law.

McMillan said he introduced the legislation after reviewing the city's election law and becoming aware of allegations of misconduct in the 1997 city election and 1994 Maryland gubernatorial election.

The voter identification law "protects the integrity and fairness of the election process," he said.

Carter is joined by the Anne Arundel County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in calling for repeal of the law.

"I see [the voter identification law] as a way of disenfranchising people because there are so many people who do not have proper identification," said Gerald Stans- bury, president of the NAACP branch.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on Carter's ordinance at the city council's public hearing today.