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Judge Voids Md. Laws for Early Voting

"This is what they always do," Ehrlich said. "They always overreach."

Democrats, however, said they viewed the lawsuit that brought about yesterday's ruling as the latest in a series of crass attempts by Ehrlich to tamp down turnout in the election, in which he will face Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D).

Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman was quick to note that the case was filed by Marirose Joan Capozzi, a Republican State Central Committee member and campaign organizer for Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who is running for U.S. Senate.

"She is backed by Republicans and Governor Bob Ehrlich in this effort to suppress the vote for partisan political reasons," Lierman said in a statement.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he, too, "strongly disagrees" with the ruling.

"Marylanders should see the lawsuit that resulted in today's ruling for exactly what it is: an effort spearheaded by supporters of Governor Ehrlich and Lieutenant Governor Steele to make it difficult for voters to exercise the franchise," he said.

State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said she will proceed with plans for early voting pending the high court ruling. It will be far easier, she said, to scrap the early voting effort at the last minute than to try to resurrect it at the last minute if the decision is overturned.

Staff writer Daniel de Vise contributed to this report.

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