Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ken Blackwell mulls Third World-style power grab in Ohio.

Ken Blackwell is the Ohio Secretary of State, and is running for Governor this year. Blackwell was also Bush's 2004 campaign manager for the state of Ohio—a job he held simultaneously while Secretary of State. Blackwell got to run the election and disqualify voters in this crucial swing state that decided the 2004 election. Due in part to Blackwell's glaring conflict of interest, many still hold the entire 2004 presidential election's results in question.

But this year, Mr. Blackwell is planning to outdo himself. Blackwell is running for Governor, and as Secretary of State, he has the responsibility to oversee elections. Blackwell has already pulled a lot of the same shenanigans in 2004 to depress voter turnout among minorities, who vote predominantly Democratic: inadequate numbers of ballots at polling places, vaguely defined voting districts, voters improperly purged from the rolls, etc. But Blackwell's gubernatorial race, where he's trailing Democrat Ted Strickland by 28% in most polls, requires something special: Blackwell is reported to be considering disqualifying Mr. Strickland as a candidate.

Blackwell's argument is, according to today's New York Times, this:

"One of [Blackwell's supporters] filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Strickland, who is a member of Congress, does not live in the apartment where he is registered to vote. Mr. Strickland owns a condominium in another part of Ohio, and the complaint alleges that he actually lives there. If Mr. Strickland was not a qualified voter, he would be prohibited from running for governor."

So Strickland, who is an Ohio resident any way you look at it, could be expelled from the race three weeks before Election Day based on a technicality that doesn't relate in the least to Mr. Strickland's actual qualifications for the office. I'll admit that I never thought Republican chutzpah could reach such a level, and although Blackwell hasn't tried it yet, it's bad enough that his people are talking about it. And to make matters even worse, the above decision was decided by the county board where Strickland lives. They decided on this 2 to 2, split along party lines. Today's Republican Party is reaching toward new heights of disgrace.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he does it. If Blackwell pulls this autocratic power play, I wouldn't be surprised to see riots in Ohio. At least, I'd hope the good people of Ohio would be sufficiently incensed by this. I would expect nothing less.

Full New York Times story here.


At Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 2:45:00 PM EDT, Blogger Paul said...

Look what happened in Hungary when the country's leader admitted to "cooking the books" over the past number of years - civil unrest in Budapest and several other cities. Now imagine that taking place in Ohio. How soon before the governor called out the National Guard and created Kent State Part Deux? Oh wait, they're all posted in Iraq. Hah, what irony!

Seriously, though, every time Republicans pull these sorts of tricks (Harris in Fla., Blackwell in Ohio), I think "there's no way things can get any worse." But I'm always proved wrong. That sucks - in both directions.

At Sunday, October 22, 2006 at 8:59:00 AM EDT, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

No kidding. I've stopped saying that Bush has gone further than I ever imagined he could; that's happened so often that I've come to accept that nothing he does can ever surprise me.

They'll keep doing this crap and getting worse for as long as we let them. That's the bottom line. The more people start calling them on it, the more timid they'll get about trying to rig elections. Sleaze like Blackwell would have to crawl back under their rocks and mutter about how much they hate the rest of us. I could live with that.


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