November 6, 2005

Ohio Issue 5: There’s No Need to “Fix” What Isn’t Broken–Vote NO

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:11 pm

I haven’t said much about Issue 5, the idea of moving responsibility for elections administration from the Ohio Secretary of State to (from ballot language):

  • Eliminate responsibility of the elected Ohio Secretary of State to oversee elections.
  • Create an appointed board of nine members to administer statewide elections and oversee the existing county boards of elections.
  • Provide that the members of the board are appointed as follows: four by the governor, four by the members of the general assembly affiliated with the political party that is not the same as that of the governor, and one by a unanimous vote of the chief justice and justices of the Ohio Supreme Court….

I haven’t said much it beyond my original post recommending “No” votes on 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, because it seems patently obvious that very little in the administration of Ohio election laws is broken. So very little needs fixing.

What seems to bother Issue 5 proponents is that Ohio’s current Secretary of State (SOS) DOES follow the law as it is written, doesn’t make it up on the fly to please whiny special-interest groups that appear to have at least as much interest in committing vote fraud as they do in increasing voter turnout, and sticks to his guns even when judges illegally try to override the laws as they are written.

My advice: If you want election law itself changed, do what you’re trying to do with Issues 2, 3, and 4 (though I am against all of them, because I believe they will do serious damage to the electoral process, they at least represent debatable election administration issues). If you want someone besides Ken Blackwell in charge of administering elections, you’re just going to have to elect someone other than Ken Blackwell.

I don’t think Issue 5 has anything to do with improving the election process. For starters, let’s find out what other states do. A quick look through the state listings at this link to the election web sites of the states indicates the following (this was done in haste, so there may be an error or two; the Kansas link doesn’t work, so I visited the state’s SOS site separately):

  • The SOS handles election administration in 40 states.
  • Of the other 10, nine of them have separate and apparently “independent” Boards of Elections: AK, DE, HI, IL, MD, NY, NC, OK, and WI.
  • New Jersey’s election administration is under the control of the Attorney General.

Historically, in the 40 states where the SOS has election responsibility, recent election fraud has been significant in Washington State, Michigan, and perhaps one or two others, with Ohio NOT being one of them (so sorry, John Edwards, John Kerry, Jesse Jackson, and Keith Olberman).

Of the other 10, fraud has been an ongoing problem in Illinois (Chicago for years, and East St. Louis recently), which is not only the Land of Lincoln but also the Land of the Voting Dead. Wisconsin has also gained recent infamy as a haven for vote fraud with payoffs to homeless people for voting and multiple votes cast by college students in the 2000 election, and significant absentee ballot and other problems in the City of Milwaukee in 2004. Just this weekend, a judge in New Jersey expressed reservations about dead people still on the voting rolls and instigated an attempt to prevent fraudulent voting in their name.

The point is that there’s no correlation between who administers election laws and how well they are administered, or how much or little election fraud occurs. No one can make a case based on past experience that having an official or bureaucracy other than the SOS administer elections, such as the nine-member board of hermits envisioned by Issue 5, will lead to a more accurate or less fraud-infested result. In fact, if anything, it appears that the SOS-administered states are on average cleaner.

Issue 5 also has the same presumption that we will have a two-party system forever that plagues Issue 4. Sorry–I’m not voting for anything that entrenches the existing parties any more than they already are.

Why not just keep doing what the vast majority of states have been doing? Issue 5 should be rejected.

Issue 3 Doesn’t Even Pass the Smell Tests

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:58 pm

Issue 3 fails four BizzyBlog smell tests right off the bat:

  • Length–The whole idea of adding 939 words to the Ohio Constitution is absurd. The US Constitution’s Bill of Rights is in the neighborhood of 500 words. A Constitution is supposed to be a guiding document, not one that goes into nitpicky detail. That’s what laws passed by the legislature do (and even those are too detailed).
  • Fixed dollar amounts–What in the world are fixed dollar amounts doing in the Constitution? What happens if there is inflation? Deflation? A currency revaluation? No serious proposal would be this inflexible.
  • Non-enforceability, or the requirement for a bureaucracy to attempt enforcement–Certain of the limits, particularly the overall $25,000 limit on contributions to all candidates by individuals, would either require detailed bookkeeping on the part of the individual, or would require a mammoth state bureacracy, or both, to police these limits.
  • Contributions by other than individuals are allowed–This is a BizzyBlog pet peeve, and you may not share it, but here it is: Only individual contributions should be allowed, PERIOD. No PACs, no union committees, no advocacy groups–just individuals. I’ll never vote for any issue that allows for non-individual contributions of any kind, and I do everything I can to avoid contributing to any organization that makes those kinds of contributions.

So Issue 3 doesn’t pass four BizzyBlog smell tests. I don’t even need to get into its substance to recommend that you reject it out of hand, although the substantive reasons to send it down to defeat are also there.

An Early-Stage John Kerry Has Been Outed

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:09 pm

For over a year, former Marine Jimmy Massey has been telling anyone who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines supposedly committed in Iraq. Mainstream Media lapdogs disguised as reporters have, well, lapped it up, and as one would unfortunately expect, not followed up. In the process, Massey has become something of a folk hero of the Iraqi War opposition (first three paras at link).

Oops. It turns out that Massey is a “Winter Soldier” in training, because, well, uh, he’s not telling the truth (HT Michelle Malkin):

For more than a year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq.

In scores of newspaper, magazine and broadcast stories, at a Canadian immigration hearing and in numerous speeches across the country, Massey has told how he and other Marines recklessly, sometimes intentionally, killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Among his claims:
- Marines fired on and killed peaceful Iraqi protesters.
- Americans shot a 4-year-old Iraqi girl in the head.
- A tractor-trailer was filled with the bodies of civilian men, women and children killed by American artillery.

Massey’s claims have gained him celebrity. Last month, Massey’s book, “Kill, Kill, Kill,” was released in France. His allegations have been reported in nationwide publications such as Vanity Fair and USA Today, as well as numerous broadcast reports. Earlier this year, he joined the anti-war bus tour of Cindy Sheehan, and he’s spoken at Cornell and Syracuse universities, among others.

News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey’s claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.

He wasn’t.

Each of his claims is either demonstrably false or exaggerated – according to his fellow Marines, Massey’s own admissions, and the five journalists who were embedded with Massey’s unit, including a reporter and photographer from the Post-Dispatch and reporters from The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.

You gotta love those embedded reporters; this unmasking alone vindicates the move by the military to allow them to accompany our soldiers. If they weren’t there it would be Massey’s word against the military, and of course you know who the press would believe, even with the way Massey’s stories changed over time. Now they’ll have to claim the embeds sold out. Ha-Good luck.

Earth to protesters and John Kerry wannabes: You’re going to have to be a lot more clever to pull off in 2005 with what Kerry and his Vietnam-era liars got away with in the late 1960s. Chances are you will, eventually, be outed. If you’re outrageous enough, someone may even have the guts to call you what you are to your face: traitors.
_____________________

UPDATE: More from Gateway Pundit on Kerry-Massy commonality, and Vietnam’s lying traitors assisting today’s lying traitors.

Ohio Issue 4 Would Make a Bad Situation Intolerable

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:15 pm

First things first: As I have mentioned before, Ohio’s currently gerrymandered congressional districts are an inappropriate application of party political engineering by the Republican majority:

Map

So my immediate reaction to Issue 4, which is a proposal to “fix” how congressional and state office district lines are drawn in Ohio, was “sounds promising–let’s see the details.”

Unfortunately, the details stink (excerpted from the ballot language, bolded words are mine):

* (the amendment would) Provide that a primary criterion to be utilized by the new commission in creating legislative districts would be to ensure that the districts are competitive, according to a mathematical formula contained in the Amendment.
* (the amendment would) Provide that the commission must adopt a qualifying plan with the highest “competitiveness number,” as defined in the proposed Amendment.

Note the words “primary” and “must.” Because of those two words, the amendment will force the people in charge of drawing the districts (that’s a mess, too, but I’ll ignore that, except to say that it’s yet another reason to vote “no” on 4) to create odd-shaped districts that are even worse than the current ones. Here’s an example based on an attempt to draw congressional districts based on “competitiveness” in accordance with the totality of Issue 4′s ballot language (HT Project Logic):

(map removed in the interest of saving space)
Here’s another, (HT Redstate.com, added Nov. 11 for future historical reference):

Issue4

Anyone who thought that the people who drafted Issue 4 couldn’t come up with something worse than the gerrymandered disgrace we already have vastly underestimated their talents. The 8th District in the first map would lump people from the Cincinnati suburbs in Southwestern Ohio with residents near the northwest end of the state. The 2nd District in teh first map stretches out similarly, and in places looks to be only a mile or two wide. I’m not even sure a congressman could be sure of who he or she is representing with this patchwork-quilted mess. In the second map, it’s hard to see how a district can include parts of Columbus and Youngstown (12th), or stretch from Chillicothe to Steubenville (17th).

And please, don’t tell me that this is a misrepresentation of what will happen if Issue 4 passes–it’s the logical result of trying to make every district “competitive” in a roughly 50-50 state where Democrats dominate in the north, the northeast, and a few urban areas, and Republicans dominate nearly everywhere else.

There is also an implication built into Issue 4 that I find especially annoying, namely that it assumes that the current two-party system will last into eternity, and with the current two parties. Issue 4 presupposes ideas of “competitiveness” and “balance” between the two existing parties, when the idea of drawing district lines should essentially be to the extent possible about drawing a bunch of rectangles or triangles (e.g., for Congress, smaller draw smaller rectangles or triangles around urban areas and larger ones around rural areas, while trying to avoid splitting counties between multiple districts). I’m not going to concede that the two parties are going to remain in existence forever, or even that a two-party system will be the best answer forever, and I am certainly not going to vote for anything that as a side effect serves to assist in its perpetuation.

Issue 4′s proponents have accomplished the nearly impossible task of creating a cure that is worse than the disease. Issue 4 should be rejected, emphatically.

Whatever Iowa is doing to ensure sensible district lines, we should strongly consider:

Iowa

The Cincinnati Enquirer Becomes a Vote Fraud Enabler by Supporting Ohio Issue 2 (Plus My Letter to Them)

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:09 pm

One would think that if the ultraliberal Toledo Blade can figure out that Issue 2 is nothing but a permit for laziness and an open invitation to vote fraud, the editorial board at The Cincinnati Enquirer could be counted on to reach a similar conclusion.

Nope (blockquotes are from the editorial):

(more…)

French Riots: So It’s All Sarkozy’s Fault? How Convenient

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:00 am

From MSNBC.com, and what is apparently in the latest issue of Newsweek:

The first and most obvious casualty was the reputation of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. He’s been angling for the presidency in 2007, posturing as France’s most confident can-do politician. During the first days of violence, Sarkozy denounced the gangs burning cars as “scum” and told them in effect to bring it on. They did with a vengeance, and didn’t stop.

If Sarkozy made mistakes, they were underestimating the ability and will of law enforcement and overestimating the spine of his appeasing cohorts in the government. As Mark Steyn says in his Chicago Sun-Times column today: “As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy’s presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.”

If Sarkozy is doomed, France as we know it may be finished.

Another Reason to Reject Issue 2: The Election-Day Absentee Loophole

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:31 am

I should have caught this way sooner than I did, but it took a conversation with someone else to bring out the significance and danger of one particular sentence in Issue 2.

Here is the official ballot language of Issue 2 (bold in final sentence of second paragraph is mine):
________________________

To adopt Section 6 of Article XVII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

In order to expand to all electors the choice to vote by absentee ballot in all elections, this amendment would:
• Provide that any person qualified to vote in an election is entitled during the thirty-five days prior to the election to receive and to cast a ballot by mail or in person at the county board of elections or additional location designated by the board. No reason for casting such a ballot shall be required. When a ballot is mailed to an elector, the county board of elections shall also provide a pre-addressed, postage pre-paid envelope for returning the ballot to that county board of elections.
• An elector to whom a ballot has been mailed, but which has not been received by the issuing county board of elections prior to the election, may cast a provisional ballot on election day. If the elector’s first ballot is received by the tenth day following the election, the provisional ballot shall not be counted. A ballot which is received by the issuing board by mail no later than the tenth day following the election shall be treated as timely cast if it contains a postmark not later than the day of the election.

A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.

(end of ballot language)
_________________________

In the current system, absentee ballots must be received by Election Day. All such ballots are tabulated and included in election results as soon as the polls close.

The sentence I bolded in the ballot language of Issue 2 changes this completely, and for the worse. It is a loophole that will throw the results of close elections into up to 10 days of uncertainty. Even more troubling, it gives those who are attempting to commit election fraud the ability to attempt to change an election result after the polls close.

Here are the problems:

  1. Some post office locations are open on Election Day after the polls close.I hope everyone would agree that anyone who hasn’t voted by the time the polls close shouldn’t get to vote, even as an absentee.

    But Issue 2 would legalize absentee voting after the polls close, and even after election results are reported! It would give absentees up to a 4-1/2 hours to vote after the polls close in Ohio (7:30 PM), and 2-3 hours after “final” results are usually reported by the county election boards. It gives both sides in a close race the ability to spend the evening of Election Day chasing down absentee voters who didn’t turn in their ballots to influence what should be an already settled result. But the results of close races won’t really BE settled any more, as the winner will have to endure the absurdity of at least a few days of post-election absentee ballot counting before knowing for sure that he or she has won.

    There are plenty of post offices you could visit to mail absentee ballots after the polls have closed. I found four, and there are probably more. There is a 24-hour post office in Columbus. Cleveland has one that is open until midnight. The post office at the Cincinnati Airport is open 24 hours (couldn’t find link). Although not indicated at the link, the Detroit post office that is less than one hour from Toledo is also open 24 hours.

  2. The Post Office’s controls over putting postmark dates on letters in general, and therefore absentee ballots in particular, are not adequate. Under the current system, an absentee ballot has to be in the possession of the Board of Elections by Election Day, or it doesn’t count. It’s possible that some ballots that come in after that were theoretically mailed in time, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles–if you want your vote to count, you should mail it by the Friday before Election Day, or you’re taking an undue risk. I fail to see how this places an undue burden on anyone.

    Issue 2 opens up the possibility of postmark date manipulation at the Post Office, and assumes that controls over postmark dates are airtight. The trouble is, they aren’t (or maybe Issue 2′s supporters know postal controls are inadequate, and want the opportunity to commit future election fraud).

    I had a conversation about this with a postal employee at the Cincinnati Airport Branch. He told me the following:

    • The current day is “normally” used as the postmark date until 9PM. After that, an item is “normally” postmarked with the next day’s date. But the 9PM rule is not hard and fast, and is not enforced consistently.
    • The postmark stamp that a postal clerk uses is adjustable, meaning that the clerk, if he or she wishes, could backdate an item received at the counter a day or two after the election, throw it in with the rest of the day’s mail, and most likely have the backdating go undetected.
    • Metered mail is supposed to be rejected if it contains a backdated postmark, but may not always be.

    Boards of Elections therefore have no way of knowing for sure that an absentee ballot was completed on or before Election Day (and under Issue 2, ballots completed on Election Day after the polls close would be legal and valid). Further, because of weak postmark controls at the Post Office, they won’t know for sure, and will have no way to verify, whether the absentee ballot was mailed on a timely basis in accordance with the law. The Issue 2 regime will force them to count any “properly” postmarked votes that trickle in during the 10 days after the election.

  3. Other probably allowable delivery methods can be used for sending absentee ballots after the polls close.The ballot language doesn’t address delivery of ballots by couriers like UPS, Fedex, or DHL, but there is no reason to believe that County Boards of Elections could reject them.

    Again, timing is a problem (or an “opportunity,” if your intent is to enter votes after the polls have closed). To name just two examples: The DHL/Airborne facility in Sharonville, north of Cincinnati, has a final pickup time of 10:30 PM. The DHL/Airborne facility in Wilmington accepts items for delivery until 1AM the next morning, and considers any item given to them between midnight and 1AM to have been received the previous day.

    The “good news” is that backdating is almost impossible, from what I can tell, because of the detailed tracking the courier services employ, and because of their on-time delivery guarantee promises. Even if a significant amount of backdating somehow occurred, the refunds that would be triggered would raise red flags.

I see no defensible reason for the change in the absentee ballot deadline that is a part of Issue 2. Issue 2 would require us to trade in a system that at least borders on being modern for one that might have been more appropriate in the horse-and-buggy era. Over and above the no-excuse-needed absentee balloting it would permit (discussed previously here), it should be rejected because it delays the reporting of final results and opens up the possibility of absentee ballot fraud.

I’m left thinking that the Reform Ohio Now folks thought they could slip this past everybody in hopes of manipulating future election results using the methods just described. Anyone with a better explanation is welcome to try to provide one.

Positivity: ‘He Could Coach 20 More Years’ (See 2011 Update)

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:14 am

November 12, 2011 Update: I thought long and hard about just deleting this post and pretending that it never happened, but decided that to do so would be inappropriate.

I’m letting this post and my other post on Paterno in 2010 stand as a warning to all, including yours truly, that things are not always as they appear, even in the seemingly brightest of circumstances.

___________________________________

People in Ohio and Wisconsin can be forgiven if they’re less than pleased with what has unfolded in Happy Valley this year. But regardless of how the rest of their season goes, you would have to be awfully hard-hearted not to concede that 78 year-old Joe Paterno’s 2005 Penn State football coaching success is one of the better feel-good stories in sports in a long time:

(more…)