Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Maryland candidate with Pinellas ties is the new face of the voter fraud debate

ST. PETE BEACH — A novice politician, contributor to the arts and part-time Pinellas County resident became a poster child this week for the nationwide debate over voter fraud.

Wendy W. Rosen, whose primary residence is in Maryland, was a Democratic congressional candidate in that state until her party forced her to resign Monday, saying she had illegally voted in Maryland and Florida.

Rosen, 57, cast votes in both states during the 2006 general election and the 2008 presidential primaries, the Maryland Democratic Party announced. After receiving a tip, the party verified Rosen's record through elections authorities.

"We believe this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation," state party chair Yvette Lewis said.

Contacted at her Cockeysville, Md., home, Rosen declined to comment on her voting patterns, citing possible legal ramifications. But she said she registered to vote in St. Pete Beach several years ago to support a friend, gallery owner Nancy Markoe, who successfully ran for City Council in 2005 during highly contested debates over building heights and growth.

Rosen and her husband, Steven, bought a 3,466-square-foot home in St. Pete Beach in 2003, which is now assessed for tax purposes at $511,574 and has no homestead exemption.

Rosen said the couple spends part of the year in Florida, but how much varies from year to year.

"This year, we were only there one week because I was running 10 long months on this," she said.

In April, she won the Democratic primary in Maryland's heavily Republican 1st District.

Rosen publishes two nationwide arts magazines based in Baltimore, Niche and AmericanStyle, and said she was moved to run for Congress after seeing artists struggling with hard times.

"I work with artisans, glass blowers, jewelers, potters and people making things all over the country," she said. "I watched 1,000 small business go under during the recession."

She believes the government could help in several ways, like selling only U.S. arts and crafts in national parks, she said.

In St. Petersburg, she serves on the board of the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.

Voter ID laws, voter roll purges and early-voting rules have been a major political issue across the country, as Republicans say they want to eliminate voter fraud and Democrats claim that fraud is rare and that Republican legislatures are suppressing minorities, students and other groups that tend to favor Democrats.

Maryland Republicans seized the opportunity Rosen's resignation brought Monday to bring up the issue again.

"If the Maryland Democrat Party is willing to push one of its own candidates out of the race due to voter fraud, I am sure this means they will join us in an effort to purge the rolls across Maryland of illegal immigrants, the deceased and those otherwise unqualified to vote," state GOP executive director David Ferguson told the Washington Post.

Rosen would not discuss where she voted or in which elections, but said that voter fraud is not a pervasive problem.

Republican legislatures are "intent on intimidation," she said. "If people believe they are going to be turned away, they won't go vote."

Rosen is registered to vote in Pinellas County. Only legal Florida residents may register and must verify residency on the application, said Nancy Whitlock, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office.

If the office finds that a voter knowingly maintained registration in two places, she said, the supervisor would pass that information along to prosecutors.

Maryland candidate with Pinellas ties is the new face of the voter fraud debate 09/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  2. At 'American Idol' auditions in Orlando, there are life lessons in line

    Music & Concerts

    LAKE BUENA VISTA — From her spot across the lawn, Sasha Orihuela studies her son.

    Jeremy Joshua Dorsey reacts after past American Idol contestants walk by ahead of his audition at the Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017. 

Hundreds of people showed up for the first auditions for ABC's reboot of 'American Idol'. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  3. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  4. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'


    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to turn it around,'' Cash said. "You can only delay it for so long and …

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  5. Should kindergartners be encouraged to conform to peer pressure? One Pasco school suggests so


    A Pasco County elementary school came under fire on social media Thursday for its new behavior expectation charts that suggest conforming to peer pressure is positive, and that running in school is anarchy.

    Deer Park Elementary School has posted this chart of student expectations. Some parents have complained about its terms, such as the suggestion that conforming to peer pressure is positive.