Breaking News
More () »

Warning issued after campaign accused of plotting chaos at polls

Maryland's attorney general is responding to allegations that Michael Peroutka's campaign manager urged supporters to crowd polls late on Election Day.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s attorney general issued a response Tuesday after one campaign was accused of calling on supporters to create late chaos at Maryland polls on Nov. 8. 

The accusation of attempting to create voting chaos came after a campaign manager for Michael Peroutka, the Republican running in Maryland's attorney general race, called for a strategy of creating long lines at polls late on Election Day.

"And vote on November 8 as late in the day as possible," Peroutka's campaign manager, Mackey Stafford, said in a video at a campaign rally in Hampstead, Maryland on Saturday. "If everyone could stand in long, long lines at 6 o’clock, that would actually help us." 

Maryland Democrats leapt on the video saying Peroutka’s campaign is “plotting to create chaos and laying the groundwork to challenge the upcoming election," according to a party press release.

Peroutka did not respond to WUSA9’s request for comment.

On Tuesday, Maryland’s attorney general’s office issued a statement in response to a WUSA9 inquiry, saying, "Anybody who intentionally interferes with someone else’s attempt to vote is committing a crime and is subject to prosecution." 

A spokesman for the Attorney General would not say whether or not an investigation of Peroutka is underway.

The director of the ACLU of Maryland’s Election Protection Program urged an investigation.

“The Attorney General should investigate to see if this is a pattern, strategy, or talking point or if this was a one-off misguided statement by a campaign staffer," said Amy Cruice of the ACLU of Maryland. "While we are suspicious of the intent, we trust that no one wants to stand in line. And we urge all voters to consider mail-in voting and early voting so they don’t have to stand in line on Election Day.”

Peroutka is a Republican who once served on the board of a southern White Nationalist organization advocating for secession. He’s running for attorney general of Maryland on a platform promising to prosecute public officials for COVID lockdown orders and vaccine mandates. On his Facebook page, Peroutka also promises grand jury investigations of discredited claims of election fraud.

Peroutka was a council member in Anne Arundel County from 2014 to 2018. At that time, two campaign workers were criminally convicted of making illegal robo-calls that spreading anti-gay falsehoods about his opponent.

Dan Cox, the Republican running for Maryland Governor, attended the same rally where Peroutka's manager urged supporters to create long lines at polling places.

Cox said Monday Peroutka’s campaign manager does not speak for him and he doesn’t know what she was talking about.

RELATED: Voter Guide: What to expect at the polls in Maryland

RELATED: Candidates check partisan warfare at door for Western Maryland candidate forum

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out