The Real O'Malley? (In this case, yes)
"Hi, I am Bob Ehrlich and I approved this Facebook page." If a proposed new regulation is passed in the state of Maryland, political candidates may soon be required to post such notices on their social media outreach efforts.
Jared DeMarinis, the candidacy and
finance director for Maryland's State Board of Elections, recently proposed and has
been pushing for the regulation of Facebook and Twitter by political
campaigns. His purpose: to ensure the public clarity of campaign
DeMarinis and backers of his proposal see the rapid adoption of social media technologies by governments and political candidates as a source of potential confusion for constituents, who cannot always tell which of the accounts are official government sites, which are campaign sites, and which are unofficial "fan" or "spoof" sites.
With most of the candidates running in upcoming federal, state and municipal elections using social media to get the word out, there is a huge potential for mistaken identities and campaign dirty tricks.
prior to the past Maryland gubernatorial election when former Gov. Robert L.
Jr. faced off against Gov. Martin O'Malley. Both candidates were using Twitter, with the respective usernames @ehrlich4md and
@GovernorOMalley. But anyone who chose to followed
the usernames @bobehrlich or
@martinomalley would have received an array of tweets of Garfield
cartoons. DeMarinis though the problem would persist
decided regulation of such campaign information would be the best path
to regulate social network use in elections centers on clear identification of the account owner. "Maryland
law was written before these kinds of media were available," DeMarinis has said. "We're trying to develop regulations to help guide and bring clarity."
DeMarinis's proposal involves creation of a registry posted on the Web
where candidates can claim which social media aliases belong to them.
Created in 1969, Maryland's State Board of Elections is made up five members who serve four-year terms and represent both
principal political parties. The Board is responsible for the conduct of voter registration
and elections. Currently there are 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans serving as members. Four of the five would need to endorse any new regulation.
The proposal will be presented at the Board's June 3 meeting.