A District 4 candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates may have been too close to a polling location when taking pictures and recording a video last week.

Republican Dan Cox was seen recording a video on Oct. 25 outside Thurmont Regional Library 45 minutes before early voting was set to end that day. The video has since been taken off Facebook.

Photos show Cox and his wife on the sidewalk outside the building beyond a sign stating, “Notice: electioneering beyond this point prohibited by law,” while holding a phone in the air. The State Board of Elections has received at least two complaints about Cox’s video and photos, which it will review, said Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance.

“Electioneering is campaigning for or against a candidate or ballot issue. It includes handing out fliers, holding signs, and encouraging voters to support or oppose a candidate or ballot question,” according to the State Board of Elections website.

Electioneering complaints are common, DeMarinis said Thursday.

Cox, who is running for state delegate, confirmed on Thursday that he and his wife participated in early voting before sharing a date night.

“We exercised our right to vote and absolutely appreciated the opportunity,” Cox said.

He has not been notified by the State Board of Elections of a complaint and declined to answer any more of The News-Post’s questions.

Frederick County Election Director Stuart Harvey said he is aware of the complaint. Because electioneering limits are set in state law, however, it is up to the state Board of Elections to review any alleged violation, he said.

The State Board of Elections will review the submitted evidence to see if there could be a violation of state law, in which case the matter would be sent to the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, DeMarinis said.

DeMarinis could not comment Thursday on whether the complaints against Cox would be sent to the prosecutor’s office.

Harvey said it was his understanding the polling staff at Thurmont Regional Library did not see Cox record the video.

Adam Umak, who runs the Frederick County Fact Check page on Facebook, shared photos and screenshots from the video — time-stamped 7:17 p.m. when polls were scheduled to close at 8 p.m. — with Harvey, a text exchange shows. One of Harvey’s staff, who is familiar with Thurmont, later confirmed Cox “definitely was inside the no electioneering area,” according to the texts.

Umak then submitted a complaint against Cox to the State Board of Elections on Oct. 26 at 10:18 p.m.

An electioneering line is established 100 feet outside the entrance and exit of every early polling center and polling place. It is illegal to canvass, electioneer or post any campaign materials in the polling location or beyond the line, according to Maryland’s election law.

Polling staff can enforce electioneering limits, but they have to witness it, Harvey said.

“If we see it, we’ll correct it,” Harvey said.

Voters are required to “immediately leave the early voting center or polling place” after voting, according to the State Board of Elections website.

Electioneering is a misdemeanor offense in Maryland, which can result in a $50 to $500 fine or imprisonment of no more than 60 days.

State delegates serve four-year terms in the General Assembly with a base salary of $50,330. Three delegates represent District 4 and six candidates are running for the seats, including Republican incumbent Barrie Ciliberti, Republican Jesse Pippy, Cox, Democrat Ysela Bravo, Democrat Lois Jarman and Democrat Darrin Ryan Smith.

Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.

Samantha Hogan is the state house, environment, agriculture and energy reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(17) comments

mcrider

MAC 33 ss 16–206.
(a) A person may not..
11,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) or
(10) canvass, electioneer, or post any campaign material in the polling place or beyond a line established by signs posted in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.
(b) (1) At each polling place, one election judge from each principal political party shall be designated by the local board and, acting jointly, shall post signs delineating a line around the entrance and exit of the building that are closest to that part of the building in which voting occurs.
(2) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, the line shall be located as near as practicable to 100 feet from the entrance and exit and shall be established after consideration of the configuration of the entrance and the effect of placement on public safety and the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. ..
(3) The signs shall contain the words “No Electioneering Beyond this Point”.

So yeah, where does it say anything about taking pictures (or a video) with your cell phone camera (or any other) ?

mcrider

https://youtu.be/Ggh9hZ3eJWs

KellyAlzan

This is petty.

thesandman

While this is a fairly benign claim, I'm still disappointed in his overall candidacy and the rest (Pippy & Ciliberti) None of them from what I can tell have actually worked at earning votes. Call me old fashioned but that matters to me. I like it when a candidate knocks on my door and we have a conversation. Yes I'm a Republican, but its not always about party to me. It's about what you will do for the community and my family. All I see from Cox are bizarre claims about the 'deep state', Voter ID laws and rhetoric that is closer to the President's base. That's just not behavior in my Party I can accept. I've said before, I've been impressed with Bravo and Jarman as they actually knocked on my door and talked with me. They are respectful, thoughtful and I really feel like they care about the county and state. I may disagree on some issues, but that's ok! I respect them enough. I can't say the same for Cox. I think he must think he has it in the bag since he's only done parades. I mean months ago he was posting on FB about asking for applications for interns for the General Assembly - really?! He's already measuring the drapes.

Cowell

Mr. Cox should thank Adam Udak for the free press! I am sure all the additional attention maybe costing $50 to $500 fine was worth all the social media and FNP coverage! Kudos!

pappyjoe

There is 5 hour time stamp between each of the political war articles. Which side drew the knife first? Anyhow it's great so far that each aponent have kept it within reason and not sticking very personal trash of each other into the war.

AdamUmak

Further reading via Frederick County Fact Check...

- Cox electioneering post - https://goo.gl/zmUxB2

- Cox calls Khizir Khan a member of the Muslim Brotherhood - https://goo.gl/65Xwgc

- Cox blocks local Republican voters on Twitter - https://goo.gl/e7o1C2

- Cox’s Facebook followers use anti-semitic language against Jamie Raskin - https://goo.gl/2bXkuL

- Cox’s Facebook followers say “dirty Muslims” - https://goo.gl/poQenr

- Cox on Kavanaugh accuser - https://goo.gl/AhpCEg

- Social spending = literally the Holocaust - https://goo.gl/DLyHU9

- Cox imagines the death of George Soros - https://goo.gl/yo7zfx

mcrider

https://youtu.be/Ggh9hZ3eJWs

mcrider

Here you go, a bit more education for you...
https://youtu.be/npAV158AgGI

threecents

I don't really care. He would lose by a lot anyway.

mcrider

Your two cents ?

threecents

Darn, he won. This guy is toxic.

bricumbur

I haven't seen the video but it doesn't sound like electioneering. Was he campaigning, asking for votes, handing out flyers? It sounds like he took a selfie. I don't understand this story rises to getting printed other than to try and smear him with nothing but a complaint a few days before an election. Typical.

butterflygirl

A selfie is NOT the same as a video. Even if he was only taking a selfie, he should have taken it on the other side of the signs. As a candidate, it is his responsibility to know the election polling place laws.

mcrider

Well, butterflygirl, since you appear to be an expert on the matter, might you please explain to me, and every other interested party here, including Mr Cox, exactly how does taking a video (which, btw, is a series of pictures) violates either ... #1) the letter of the law, or #2) even it's broader "intent" ? That is, how can taking a picture, or a video, be construed as "electioneering" ? Thank you.

mcrider

https://youtu.be/Ggh9hZ3eJWs

mcrider

Get educated...... https://youtu.be/npAV158AgGI

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