Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Threat Of Republican Fixing Of An Ohio Election

--Written from Center Harbor, N.H.

The greatest glory of any democracy is that a change of control over the state occurs without violence or undue disruption. It is vitally important that when the people decide, the politicians of both sides acquiesce.

So it is disquieting to read a New York Times editorial yesterday that reports there seems to be a threat, perhaps not a very great one at this point, but potentially a serious threat to the integrity of the gubernatorial race in Ohio.

Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate, has a huge lead in the polls, as much as 28 points, over the Republican candidate, Kenneth Blackwell, who is Ohio's secretary of state and thus has considerable control over elections.

This is the same Kenneth Blackwell who came under suspicion in 2004 for taking steps to enhance President Bush's showing in the Presidential election, by depressing the Democratic turnout. Had Mr. Bush not won Ohio, he would have lost the election nationwide to Sen. John Kerry, because he would not have had a majority of the electoral votes. Even though Kerry trailed in the nationwide popular vote, with Ohio, he would have commanded the electoral college and won just as Mr. Bush did with a minority of the popular vote in 2000.

Now, Blackwell has become involved in a case in which it is claimed that the Democrat, Strickland, has registered to vote from an apartment he did not actually live in. Though there is no doubt Strickland is an Ohioan and a legal resident, there appears to be a chance, even if slight, that before the election Blackwell could rule him off the ballot and be left standing as the only candidate left.

The New York Times remarks, "We are confident it will not come to that." But the Times editorial is also a warning to Blackwell not to try to fix the election.

Amen! Ohio, like the rest of the country, must be allowed to vote freely and fairly. If the Democrats win, they must prevail in the state of Ohio, and whereever else they get the most votes.

That should go without saying. But let's say it.

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