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A political aide to Maryland’s former Republican governor was sentenced to 30 days of home detention Thursday for an Election Day robocall conspiracy that prosecutors cast as an effort to keep black voters away from the polls.
Prosecutors said the automated calls went out to 110,000 people in areas with high percentages of black voters, who tend to vote reliably Democratic. The calls implied that voters did not need to head to the polls because Democrat Martin O’Malley had already defeated Republican Robert Ehrlich.
Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill called the scheme an offense that strikes at the heart of the nation’s most important values.
The judge also gave Paul Schurick a one-year suspended jail sentence and ordered him to serve 500 hours of community service in Prince George’s County and Baltimore city, where the calls were directed, over four years of his probation. A fine was not imposed.
“This needs to send a message to anyone who would interfere with anyone’s opportunity to vote that it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Fletcher-Hill told Schurick.