- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Maryland is quite a place. The state’s voters elected a Republican governor in 2014, but control remains in the hands of the same “progressives” who enjoy veto-proof majorities in both houses of the legislature on most issues. They vote as if former Gov. and presidential wannabe Martin O’Malley is still ruling the roost in Annapolis.

This hasn’t hurt current Gov. Larry Hogan’s popularity, but has made it difficult for the man to institute the reforms he promised when he was elected or to steer state policy in a more rational direction. Maryland Democratic leaders desire nothing so much as to outdo the liberal craziness so evident in California, and especially San Francisco.

Recently, the legislature granted the attorney general unilateral authority to sue anyone and everyone necessary to thwart federal policies progressives detest in the war on all things Trump. He immediately decided it would be in the enlightened interests of Marylanders and worshippers of open borders to join the assault on President Trump’s immigration policies while doubling down on pointing out that his state not only values, but welcomes illegal immigrants.

In support of all this and, no doubt, out of an ideologically driven desire to make the state a magnet for illegals, the House of Delegates in Annapolis voted on Monday to make Maryland a “sanctuary state” where illegal immigrants can find a home without fear of questioning, harassment or deportation just because they might be criminals in violation of federal laws and policy.

Mr. Hogan, to his credit, immediately announced that he would veto the legislation should it make through the upper house and end up on his desk. He may prevail on this one because what was voted on may have been a step too far even in Maryland. It passed by a vote of 83-55, two votes short of the two-thirds needed to override a veto, but the vote says more than most want to know about today’s Maryland legislature.

This sort of insanity may not do much for those already living and working in Maryland, and paying the taxes needed to house, educate, care for and police the folks their leaders are so anxious to attract, but the politicians so anxious to welcome them may be thinking more of their own interests than the interests either of their present or future constituents.

It is a Democratic article of faith that there is no such thing as voter fraud in this country and that any empirical evidence to the contrary should be dismissed out of hand. A study of non-citizen voting in the 2008 and 2010 elections by two professors at Old Dominion University in Virginia concluded through a statistical study that hundreds of thousands of illegal votes were cast in those years. The study was roundly attacked by “progressives” as “flawed,” and when the Trump administration vowed to look into illegal voting after last November’s election, the suggestion was widely derided by those who argue that illegal votes are rarer than, say, honest politicians in Prince George’s County.

When asked in January about possible voter fraud in Maryland, Nikki Carlson, deputy director of the Maryland State Board of Elections, told an NBC reporter that in her 13 years with the board, she had only encountered two cases in which a vote had been cast in the state illegally.

It must have come as quite a shock to Ms. Carlson recently when news came out that as the result of information unearthed during a lawsuit in just one Maryland County, it was discovered that large numbers of people who escaped jury duty by admitting they are not U.S. citizens nevertheless registered, and in many cases, voted.

The case was brought in Frederick County, and while the sample was fairly small, what was discovered tracks fairly well with the findings of the nationwide study Ms. Carlson and others are so anxious to debunk. It was revealed that in the county between 2007 and 2011, some 180 noncitizens were registered to vote and that 63 actually voted illegally in one or more election. This number represents 12.8 percent of the 1,400 people disqualified for jury service as noncitizens. Maryland election officials neither cross-check those who register or actually vote with lists of noncitizens maintained by other agencies within the state nor require any identification at all on Election Day, and reporters seeking a comment from Ms. Carlson couldn’t even get a call-back.

Interestingly, a 2013 poll of non-citizen Hispanics found a remarkably similar 13 percent nationwide admitting to being illegally registered as voters. If they voted in the numbers found in the Frederick County data, President Trump’s estimate of the number of potential illegal voters out there could well prove to be pretty accurate.

• David A. Keene is Opinion editor at The Washington Times.

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