November 28, 2008

To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, we may be in for deja vu all over again. Or to put it in as succinct a manner as possible, what do you get when you add a Republican hack sitting on the Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Elections, a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that has shown itself to be in the business of trying to suppress votes and an Ohio Supreme Court that is made up of seven Republicans and has as many Democrats as Ted Nugent has brain cells?

Yeah, you already know the answer. You get a seat that should be in the hands of progressive champion Mary Jo Kilroy, so she can help pass universal health care, raise the minimum wage and protect workers' rights, and you give it to a bank lobbyist named Steve Stivers, who was handpicked to run for Congress by a student of the George Hamilton school of self-tanning and Republican House Leader, John Boehner.

There is more on the whole story here.

OK, first, let me explain the situation, and then I'll let you know what you can do about this potential travesty.

We'll start with--as laid out perfectly by Progress Ohio's Dave Harding--the Franklin County Board of Elections official-cum-GOP-hack who has used his position to benefit Stivers:

Deputy Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, Republican Matt Damschroder is at the center of the lawsuit over provisional ballots that could have a material impact upon the race between Steve Stivers and Mary Jo Kilroy for Ohio's 15th Congressional seat.

Both the original case filed in Ohio's Supreme Court as well as the Appeal of Judge Marbely's decision Thursday to count all the votes are supported by affidavits of Mr. Damschroder (see here and here).

Records obtained by ProgressOhio through the Secretary of State's public website indicate that Damschroder has more than just a interest in determining what is a fair and legal vote count.

More than half of Matt and Carrie Damschroder's political campaign contributions since 2003 have been made to Steve Stivers. Their last and largest single contribution was $200 made to the Stivers for Congress campaign.

Political campaign contributions by parties such as Damschroder who are responsible to the voters for the conduct of free and fair elections are not a violation of any Ohio Law, but in the unusual circumstances surrounding the case at hand the contributions of the Damschroders do raise ethical questions over whether Matt Damschroder is trying to use his position as Deputy Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections to better his chosen candidate's odds of winning.

Harding's piece goes on to point out Damschroder's numerous partisan activities and the ethics-free zone that is his super-ego. And above he mentions the other important aspects of this case that Damschroder helped facilitate with his behavior: a lawsuit to try and get a case that would throw out 1,000 provisional ballots in front of Ohio's partisan, right-wing Supreme Court. And when a federal judge rightly took the case himself and deemed it without merit, the always reliable 6th Circuit Court came to the GOP rescue, throwing the case back to the Ohio Supreme Court. Perhaps they handled it this way because the last time they tried to suppress up to 200K votes, the U.S. Supreme Court even found that they were acting outside of their jurisdiction.

Yes, when The House of Scalia says "wow, you guys are effin nuts!"...well, you get the picture.

So here is what you can do. You can all do some more research into the Ohio Supreme Court, and perhaps you'll find something, a pressure point if you will, that might just convince them embrace that bipartisan spirit that is engulfing our nation.

Second, you can give a donation to Mary Jo's Recount Fund, so she can continue to pay staff who can monitor the recount and prevent more votes from being thrown out for questionable reasons. Believe me, when that piece of progressive legislation--such as investing in our workforce or infrastructure--comes up for a vote, and many Blue Dogs join Republicans so that it comes down to a few votes, who do you want pushing the yes or no button, lifetime progressive Mary Jo, or a former bank lobbyist who owes his election to John Boehner?

One again, you can give to Mary Jo Kilroy here.

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