Updated (5:34 p.m.)—A Cockeysville Democrat who was forced to end her bid to unseat Rep. Andy Harris after it was learned she voted illegally in Maryland explained her actions on the same day she pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
Wendy Rosen, 58, said her votes in 2006 and 2010 were "an act of civil disobedience in recognition of the millions of legitimate voters who have been illegally prevented from voting or having their votes counted, during the past four presidential elections."
Rosen explained the reasons behind her votes in a statement emailed Friday after she pleaded guilty to two counts of voting illegally in Maryland.
"What I did wasn’t right, it wasn’t smart, but it was one [act] of civil disobedience, not arrogance, and if it somehow it helps to bring this problem to light, it will be worth the pain I’ve endured over these last six months and into the future," Rosen said in her statement. "I want to apologize to all those who supported my campaign for congress. During the campaign, I learned that it was a job where I couldn’t make a difference. Those who impact congress unfortunately, are the destructive, not constructive forces. The voices of Wall Street are not only louder than those of Main Street. Main Street has no voice at all."
The statement released today appears to contradict her explanation she gave to the Baltimore Sun last fall.
Rosen told the paper she registered in Florida in order to support "a very close friend" who was running for St. Petersburg City Council as well as to vote for local issues there, according to the paper's published report on Sept. 14.
Rosen entered the guilty plea as part of an agreement with the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor.
Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge John Grason Turnbull II sentenced Rosen to two concurrent suspended one-year jail terms, five years of probation and a $5,000 fine. Rosen was also ordered to serve 500 hours of community service.
Rosen could have received five years in jail and a $2,500 fine for each of the charges.
Rosen was the Democratic nominee in 2012, challenging Harris, the Republican incumbent who is also of Cockeysville. She was forced to withdraw from the campaign in September, just two months before the General Election, after it was revealed she twice voted in Maryland at the same time she cast votes in Florida, where she is also registered.
The state Democratic Party reported Rosen to the state prosecutor's office.
"The Office ofthe State Prosecutor will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who threaten the integrity of our elections by voting unlawfully," said State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt, in an statement.
The full text of Rosen's statement is below:
To my friends,
The foundation of any democracy is the right to vote and to have that vote counted. Maryland voters don’t have to worry that their names have been deleted from the rolls when they show up at the polls, or that their votes will not be counted. But in some states, it is difficult, almost impossible for minorities and the poor to have their votes counted.
I voted twice. It was an act of civil disobedience in recognition of the millions of legitimate voters who have been illegally prevented from voting or having their votes counted, during the past four presidential elections.
The fact is, in some states officials take great effort to keep Americans, especially the poor and minorities from voting. Precincts in poor areas have so few voting machines that long lines force voters to stand in line for as long as four to six hours.
And if that’s not enough, corporations representing “conservative values” have created new paperless voting machines fitted with software that flips votes from democratic to republican candidates leaving no paper trail to lead back to the crime.
Since the year 2000, our country has not experienced a fair election process, and in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections the wrong candidate was declared the winner.
As Americans, we have a right to know why these corporation executives and government officials have not been brought to justice, as I have for voting twice. Corporations like Diebold, and organizations like American Crossroads are not people, but every year their voices grow louder and their hold on our political process grows, drowning out the voices of individual voters.
What I did wasn’t right, it wasn’t smart, but it was one of civil disobedience, not arrogance, and if it somehow it helps to bring this problem to light, it will be worth the pain I’ve endured over these last six months and into the future. I want to apologize to all those who supported my campaign for congress. During the campaign, I learned that it was a job where I couldn’t make a difference. Those who impact congress unfortunately, are the destructive, not constructive forces. The voices of Wall Street are not only louder than those of Main Street. Main Street has no voice at all. Those in power represent big banks, big pharma and anti-environment groups with millions supporting their interests. My representative in congress is backed by those special interest groups, while the voices of the individuals who live in the first district are for the most part, powerless.
It’s time for organizations like the Urban League, Southern Poverty Law Center and individuals like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr to join together in a class action suit against the states and organizations that hold our election process hostage.
Today, by speaking out, I join a growing group of Americans like graduate student Justin Moore, grandmother Bev Harris, Johns Hopkins Professor Avi Rubin, Robert F. Kennedy and author Greg Palast, who have worked to raise awareness about the problems in our election system and political process.
Wendy W. Rosen