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October 18, 2006

An Interesting New Wrinkle in the Ohio Governor's Race

It seems that someone is challenging the residency of Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for the Governor's seat here in Ohio. Apparently Strickland has more than one residence, one in Lisbon (Ohio) and one in Columbus, and he votes in Lisbon; however, the complaint says that Columbus is his real address, so he should be disqualified to vote in Lisbon. Thing is, as I understand it, if he's not qualified to vote, then he can't run for governor. The local voting board tied on party lines as to whether Strickland is qualified to vote in Lisbon, and in cases where there's a tie on these matters, the issue gets booted upward to the Secretary of State's office.

Who is the Secretary of State? Kenneth Blackwell, Republican candidate for Governor.

Bwa ha ha ha ha hah ha hah!

Ohio has a law barring Blackwell (or anyone in his seat with a similar situation) from personally adjuctating an issue which affects his campaign, so the issue was handled by one of Blackwell's assistants. That assistant has sent the issue back to the county voting board, telling it that its members failed to conduct proper investigation into Strickland's residency, so they have to do it again. That's where it stands at the moment. Strickland's campaign folks say he has voted in Lisbon before; presumably no one complained then. If after the investigation the voting board takes another 2-2 tie vote on the matter, off it goes again to Blackwell's office, to the same appointee, who will then apparently have to make the call.

All of this, incidentally, transpiring after the deadline for Ohio voters to change their residency.

I can't even imagine what's going to happen if someone in Blackwell's office, who Blackwell appointed, decides to throw Ted Strickland off the voter rolls and possibily disqualifing him from running for governor. Especially because Blackwell is trailing Strickland by double digits in most polls at the moment. Any Democratic spin doctor worth his or her salt would hold it up as a perfect example of how the GOP can't win in the marketplace of ideas, so it has to resort to dirty tricks. The voters already have trust issues with the GOP this election year; this would be the feculent icing on that particular nasty cake, or, to torture another metaphor, the straw that breaks the elephant's back.

To be clear, I deeply doubt Strickland's going to get disqualified from the gubernatorial race here in Ohio. That just seems nuts. But there's that little paranoid man in my brain, the one that goes Ken Blackwell tried to disallow voter registration cards in 2004 on the basis of paper weight! Of course one of his lackeys is going to do this!!! Anarchy!! Anarchy!!! I'm having a hard time shutting that guy up these days.

Posted by john at October 18, 2006 08:23 AM

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Comments

kevin r | October 18, 2006 09:57 AM

Hahaha, sorry, but that's hilarious. As Dave Barry says, we pay so much money to the government, at least we get some entertainment out of it.

Also, I can't blame Strickland -- if I lived in Lisbon, I'd want to be somewhere else as much as possible too.

Chang who is theoretically at "work" | October 18, 2006 10:04 AM

Oh, that's funny. That's deepyl, schadenfreudenly richly funny.

Maybe Blackwell could get a job with his cousin adjudicating Oscar fashions?

jess a. | October 18, 2006 10:25 AM

I don't know if you've heard about this one yet or not... but it's taking place in my county right now, and it's just one more piece of information that's piling on the voting dread for me. I have been wrestling with the idea of voting absentee for security's sake, but I don't feel I can trust the absentee voting here in Ohio any more than I can trust the electronic voting. I just feel sort of stuck.

I've also been hearing that rules & regulations for voter registration forms (paper weights, paper colors, yadda yadda) had been fluctuating in a way that made it tricky for librarians and other people who help register voters to keep up with them. So who knows how many new registrations have been or might be tossed thanks to that.

Jeff Hentosz | October 18, 2006 10:26 AM

And, filed under Milestones of Political Discourse: Blackwell says Strickland is the candidate of choice for — anyone? anyone? — NAMBLA. Seriously; and in a debate, no less. This Beacon Journal link may go behind a registration wall after a week.

Steve Buchheit | October 18, 2006 10:45 AM

Jeff, actually he said that Strickland's vote on a non-binding resolution condemning (I think) Psychology Today for publishing an article that says that sex between OLDER Teens (I think they said, 16-18), when "consensual" with near-aged partners (17-21) wasn't as disastrous to their psyche as those who had sex at a younger age, those sexually abused, or those whose partners were more than five-years their senior. Strickland's rebuttal was that he strongly objected to the language in the resolution that stated that children who have sex at "such a young age" are the incapable (or unable) to form wholesome, "normal" relationships when they're older (going from memory of the debate). He thought that statement was hog-wash (which I agree). Blackwell then twisted this, through his inability at logic, into NAMBLA supporting the Strickland campaign (although there has, to my knowledge, been no press release stating that).

Given that this is the third issue before Blackwell's office that concerns the election he's running for (once recused himself, once ruled on the issue), John's conspiracy thoughts aren't all that off base. Also given the cards mailed out to predominately low wage registered voters in the Cleveland area during the 2004 election to inform them that do to the large turnout expected at the polls, they were being instructed to vote on Wednesday, yeah, I refashioned my tin-foil hat to get ready for this election as well.

JimW | October 18, 2006 10:47 AM

Wow - and I thought Illinois was bad. Here were have candidates for governor who can't be bothered with debates - a matched pair of kettles each certain that the other is a pot too black to be voted for. The next 3 weeks can't pass fast enough for me.

Eric R. | October 18, 2006 11:43 AM

If you can in any way get to the polls, DO NOT vote absentee. Often those things aren't counted even if you manage to get it mailed in. I don't trust the electronic system, either, but at least I'll go on record has having shown up if, God forbid, some catastrophe requires us to go through the whole thing again. Mailing in the ballot gives you no such guarantee.

David Moles | October 18, 2006 12:31 PM

Showing up doesn't give you any guarantee either.

jess a. | October 18, 2006 02:01 PM

David Moles: Showing up doesn't give you any guarantee either.

Yes, but at least if you go to the polling place you'll have signed the voter log book. (At least, in my county, we had to sign before they gave us the keycard thingy for the voting machine.)

Scorpio | October 18, 2006 03:38 PM

Better check to see if you are still registered to vote if you are a Democrat who lives in a university town, too. Dieboldt did a "purge" of the Ohio voter rolls -- somehow a purge that missed registered Republicans -- and a *lot* of people are having problems. Good luck.

Steve Buchheit | October 18, 2006 04:39 PM

Just as an FYI, NPR's All Things Considered had a nice long piece about Ohio Politics this afternoon. We were also mentioned on Talk of the Nation. Ahh, the public spotlight. I feel so warm in its glow. Or it could be the embarrassement.

Martyn Taylor | October 18, 2006 05:30 PM

I know us retards in the Old World can't tell you guys anything about elections (after all, you invented them, according to your publicity) but could I suggest Independent Electoral Officials. I know its not a new idea, we've had them quite some time over here, and they seem to work.

After Jeb's little contribution in 2000, I'm amazed that nothing seems to have been done to prevent it happening again. Or maybe you missed that the USA got turned into a worldwide laughing stock.

Its simple. Politicians have no part to play in the electoral process. Other people whose positions do not depend on any elected representative ensure everyone who is entitled to vote is on the register, arrange the polling stations, count the votes and make sure everything is by the book. Then they declare who has been elected. Politicians get to kiss babies and lie to camera, smiling the while; nothing else.

Lis Carey | October 18, 2006 08:16 PM

Martyn, that's perfectly sensible, but before we can do anything about it, we need to kick out the guys who have directly benefitted from the current inadequate system and their ability to manipulate it.

Lis Carey | October 18, 2006 08:17 PM

Martyn, that's perfectly sensible, but before we can do anything about it, we need to kick out the guys who have directly benefitted from the current inadequate system and their ability to manipulate it.

Martyn Taylor | October 18, 2006 10:58 PM

Lis - you don't have to kick 'em all out, but how many of the good guys (ie, all you guys) are bothering their representatives with real world demands for it to happen? It isn't going to happen if you all just chunter in blogspace.

Billy Oblivion | October 19, 2006 02:59 AM

See Martyn, you've got to remember that voter fraud is only bad if it's Republicans doing it. When the Daly Brigades vote the dead in Chicago or their copy cats do it in Seattle or St. Louis, when "undocumented" aliens are driven from polling place to polling place in San Jose, or when there is massive vote buying in East Saint Louis, Solders absentee ballots getting returned filled out and signed when they never got them etc. etc. and you hardly hear a peep from the democrat side of the aisle. After all, the correct side won.

The Democratic party has a LONG LONG tradition of voter fraud and intimidation in the US, and it is unfortunate that these days some Republicans feel that it is perfectly acceptable to engage in the same sort of behavior.

Steve Buchheit | October 19, 2006 08:27 AM

Billy, um, no, I think you'll note that when there's voter fraud on any side there is an outcry and more than likely a federal investigation (which all happened in the cases you cite).

It's when there is a charge of vote manipulation and the feds stonewall doing an investigation (as was the case at least here in Cleveland) that the vitriol gets flowing. Or when we have organizations such as "Clergy for Blackwell" who get a free pass from IRS scruitany, and a church in California has an anti-war sermon two weeks before the election and they get the full examination treatment that somebody needs to cry "Foul!"

Steve Buchheit | October 19, 2006 08:44 AM

The problem, Martyn, is that we have a two-party system which intentionally discourages the formation of third-parties. Our elections for Judges, which in some states includes the Supremes, are by statute non-partisan have devolved into two party elections as well. While the candidates for Judge can't state their politics, the parties themselves have no restrictions and gleefully advertise. Our Founding Fathers warned us about a two-party system, and we didn't listen.

While there is a large percentage of "moderates" and "independents" in the US, most of them don't bother to vote anymore. Much of the bally-hoing about the "swing vote" masks the intentional dis-enfranchisement and "forced disgust" to keep those people away from the polls.

I used to joke about it taking a revolution to reset the process. I don't joke about it anymore.

Chang, unshowered and unleashed! | October 19, 2006 10:36 AM

See now, you have this usual Republican GOP vs. Democrats nonsense. That's tired.

Here in Maine we have it all. GOP hates the incumbent Democrat Gov. Greenie independent wants to suck make nice and have everyone eat granola. And then we have...

Phillip Morris NaPier -- Thu Peoples Hero. A convicted felon who counts getting shot in the ass as his entry into politics.

I think my favorite thing is that he recently showed up at a debate "wearing a kilt and tam-o'-shanter, as well as a sword and dagger he grudgingly relinquished."

Thu People's Hero is a gem!!!

Chang, unshowered and unleashed! | October 19, 2006 10:36 AM

See now, you have this usual Republican GOP vs. Democrats nonsense. That's tired.

Here in Maine we have it all. GOP hates the incumbent Democrat Gov. Greenie independent wants to suck make nice and have everyone eat granola. And then we have...

Phillip Morris NaPier -- Thu Peoples Hero. A convicted felon who counts getting shot in the ass as his entry into politics.

I think my favorite thing is that he recently showed up at a debate "wearing a kilt and tam-o'-shanter, as well as a sword and dagger he grudgingly relinquished."

Thu People's Hero is a gem!!!

Steve Buchheit | October 19, 2006 10:40 AM

Chang, wow, that guy ought to run in South Dakota.

Nathan | October 19, 2006 10:56 AM

Chang (Oh smelly and feral one),

Does Maine still have signs on I-95 advising drivers that you're supposed to position your car on the black part of the road between the painted lines instead of straddling them?

I always thought that said something scary about Mainers (Maineyites? Mainians?)

Steve Buchheit | October 19, 2006 11:13 AM

Mainiacs...
:)

Chang, unshowered and unleashed! | October 19, 2006 11:52 AM

Nathan,

We only put those up during summer so the Floridians will think we're just like they are. Otherwise, we know enough to keep out of each others way. And drive on the grass to keep the highway clean.

Matt McIrvin | October 19, 2006 04:22 PM

For what it's worth, there's an interesting 2003 document here investigating claims of mostly-Democratic voter fraud in recent years and finding most of the claims unsupported by evidence. The document comes from a think tank with a fairly obvious liberal slant, so it may not convince people who find that suspicious. But the position taken here is definitely not "it's OK because Democrats did it".

One case where they find there was massive fraud was a 1997 Miami mayoral election, whose political fallout included the unfortunate law requiring the state to contract out to a private company to get a list of disallowed felons--a list that may have swung the 2000 presidential election by wrongly disenfranchising voters.

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