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Former candidate Rosen charged with illegal voting

Wendy W. Rosen, who ended a run for Congress last September when it was disclosed she had voted in both Maryland and Florida in two prior elections, was charged Thursday with two counts of illegal voting.

The charges, filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court, allege Rosen voted in that county in the 2006 and 2010 general elections although she was living in Florida. If convicted, Rosen faces up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine for each charge.

Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said Rosen originally was registered to vote in Maryland but then registered to vote in Florida, and voted twice in each general election.

Once Rosen registered to vote in Florida, “she was no longer entitled to vote here, so by voting here she was breaking the law,” Davitt said. “There’s always been allegations that double voting occurs throughout the country, and it strikes at the integrity of the election system.”

Davitt said the charges resulted from a joint investigation by his office and that of the Pinellas County, Fla., state’s attorney.

Neither Rosen nor her attorney, Andrew C. White, responded to telephone messages seeking comment Thursday. White is with Silverman|Thompson|Slutkin|White LLC in Baltimore.

Rosen, 58, is president and publisher of The Rosen Group, which advises artists and art collectors. A Democrat, she sought to unseat Republican Andy Harris, who represents the 1st District that sprawls from Baltimore County to the Eastern Shore.

Her withdrawal from the race occurred too late for her name to be taken off the ballot.

Harris won re-election in November, defeating John LaFerla, a Democrat-backed write-in candidate. Rosen had defeated LaFerla by less than one percentage point in the party’s primary election in April.

Rosen’s alleged wrongdoing came to light in early September, when state Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis wrote to Davitt and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler that Rosen had been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland.

“This information is based on examination of the voter files from both states,” Lewis wrote. “We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.”

The Democratic Party learned of Rosen’s voting in both states from someone within the party on Sept. 7, a Friday, and conducted an investigation that weekend, said party spokesman Matthew Verghese. The following Monday, Sept. 10, the party asked Rosen about the allegations and subsequently demanded that she withdraw, according to Lewis.

Rosen is charged with violating Section 16-201(a)(4) of the Maryland Election Law Article, which prohibits an individual from voting “in an election district or precinct without the legal authority to vote in that election district or precinct.”