Paul Schurick, campaign manager to former Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., was found guilty on Tuesday of election fraud for his part in the “relax” robocall that went out to 112,000 homes on Election Day 2010.
As you may or may not recall, the robocall urged voters to “relax” because Governor Martin O’Malley and Barack Obama had already been “successful.” “The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight,” the automated message said.
Schurick’s attorney called the robocall protected “political speech” and the charges “unconstitutional,” in that they violated Schurick’s First Amendment rights. But of course, the right to free speech is not absolute. You can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and you certainly can’t lie to voters in an attempt to keep them from the polls.
Schurick could face up to twelve years in prison for these convictions. Julius Henson, political consultant to the Ehrlich campaign and partner in the robocall plan, also faces charges.