WASHINGTON - A Democratic congressional candidate has dropped out of the race after her own party officials alleged she committed voter fraud.
Wendy Rosen, who was trying to unseat incumbent Republican Andy Harris in Maryland's 1st Congressional District, issued an apology to her supporters Monday while announcing her withdrawal, but she declined to admit any wrongdoing.
Yvette Lewis, head of the Democratic Party in Maryland, wrote a letter to state officials asking them for a full investigation after the party found Rosen voted in both Maryland and Florida for the 2006 general election and the 2008 presidential primaries.
Chris Cate, spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, noted that voting twice in an election is a felony, and said Rosen "needs to be a resident of Florida to vote in Florida." Cate said there is no system in place to see if voters are registered in multiple states, but Florida has already been working with other states to find a solution to the problem.
Rosen was not expected to defeat Harris, a GOP freshman lawmaker, but the situation helps Republicans highlight the existence of voter fraud and the need for reform. Thirty-seven states have passed some form of voter identification laws, as a wave of state legislatures have approved new statutes since last year. Not all the voter ID laws will be in place by November, and several are caught up in court battles.
Democrats claim the laws are meant to disenfranchise elderly, minority, and low-income voters who may not have proper identification. They also argue that the laws aren't necessary because voter fraud is virtually non-existent.
Although voter ID requirements would not have stopped Rosen from voting in both states, the incident undercuts the narrative that says voter fraud is imaginary.
David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said the GOP is "happy to see Maryland's Democrats publicly agree that voter fraud is wrong." He called on Democrats to join Republican efforts to clear voter rolls of illegal immigrants, the deceased, and others unqualified to vote.