Friday, September 12, 2008

This makes me so mad

This is a huge, huge problem that has affected the outcome of the last two Presidential elections. A State Secretary of State is also serving as the state chairman of of the Republican campaign.

This person is responsible for administering the election - including maintaining the voter rolls, allocating voting machines, certifying the election, setting standards for registration, et cetera et cetera.

Florida, 2000: Kathleen Harris
Ohio, 2004: J. Kenneth Blackwell
Wisconsin, 2008: J.B. Van Hollen

Could there be a more blatant conflict of interest?

Obama needs to call attention to this now.. so that when there is problem with the Wisconsin vote - and there will be - he will have had the first say in the issue.

Here's a suggested press release:

'We all want to have a fair election with results we can trust, regardless of the outcome. Even though the Presidential election is a national election, the voting is administered by each individual State. The most important person in a State with regard to ensuring that elections are administered fairly is the Secretary of State of that State.

Usually, this person is appointed by that State's Governor, and is usually either a Republican or a Democrat. That's largely unavoidable. However it has come to my attention that in Wisconsin, the Secretary of State, Mr. J.B. Van Hollen, is also the State Chairman of John McCain's Presidential Campaign. The Secretary of State is responsible for maintaining the State's voter rolls, setting registration guidelines, allocating voting machines, and a host of other responsibilities. For this person to be an official of one campaign or another is an unacceptable conflict of interest.

In Florida in 2000, Katherine Harris was the Secretary of State. And the State Chairman of George Bush's campaign. In Ohio in 2004, J. Kenneth Blackwell was the Secretary of State. And the State Chairman of George Bush's campaign. In both cases, there were documented cases of decisions being made both before and after the elections that suppressed voter turnout in Democrat leaning areas.

I am calling for the resignation of J.B. Van Hollen as Secretary of State of Wisconsin. It's not sufficient for Mr. Van Hollen to resign from the McCain campaign. His objectivity has already been brought into question. This election is too important to entrust to agents of one campaign or another. All of us, Republican or Democrat, are Americans first. And we must ensure that this election is truly a Democratic one.

The people that serve on my campaign believe in me and my vision for America with passion, and I am grateful for that. But those people wouldn't be the best qualified to make impartial decisions with regard to elections. That's why none of my State Campaign Chairs are also serving as Secretary of State*. As Democrats, we believe in fairness. It's about how good you are, not about who you know, or what your connections are. I hope that John McCain shares that sentiment, and will join me in calling for the resignation of J.B. Van Hollen.'

*I hope that's true.


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