Fromn Paul Lehto:
After a complaint filed March 27 by Ohio SOS Brunner, today Secretary of State Brunner placed 2004 presidential recount-rigging Cuyahoga County’s election administration under state administrative oversight.
This takeover is pursuant to RC 3501.05 (M), for the stated reasons of lacking a director, lacking a deputy director, three of four board members resigning in response to Brunner’s request creating a lack of quorum, the single remaining member (Republican) Bennett having been sued by Brunner, and the assistance and oversight that Board of Elections will need in improving operations, and is pursuant to Brunner’s statutory power “to compel observance by elections officers in the several counties of the requirements of the election laws.” RC 3501.05 (M)
The SOS office will prepare a “plan of oversight” that will be terminate “on or before” December 31, 2008 in order to ensure an orderly presidential election.
On one level I applaud this.
On another level, and as scholars are pointing already, this replaces a bipartisan board with Brunner’s office, which is not bipartisan (albeit positions need to be filled on the Cuyahoga board). It would at least be suspicious if Blackwell did it. I definitely give Brunner the benefit of the doubt, but can’t see why Republicans would, or should.
Ultimately though, government has numerous levels of conflict of interest, not just Partisanship. The Cuyahoga convictions themselves proved a motive to rig recounts consisting of work avoidance and protecting the “integrity” not of the election but of the reputation of the office by not allowing the first count to be changed or attacked in any way….
But government has numerous levels of conflict of interest. They ALL get all their money and power from elections, yet are counting the votes if not personally on their own race, it is still for their “company” the government. They have conflicts because they are self protective like all human beings and don’t fall on their swords the moment a problem comes up, they instead engage in CYA. EVen long time activists pull punches to as to preserve some form of relationship with certain politicians, and this so-called “Collegiality” is much strong between most government agencies. Bureaucracy itself is a force to slow down the truth and defeat its progress in its general slow pace.
It’s a tough call. I see the need for better management in Cuyahoga and there’s no one there, just culpable folks who have left. But at the same time, though in person I support Brunner, if Blackwell were doing the analogous thing I would be troubled. The conflicts of interest when government runs elections essentially by itself are rife, and will not be solved until the public’s active and direct role in public oversight of elections is created and restored.
Paul R Lehto, Juris Doctor