26 November 2008

Critical 15th Ohio Still Undecided

While democrats hold a clear majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and Sen. Obama is headed to the White House, there still remain several undecided federal races. These seats are of great import to both the republican and democrat parties.

At issue in Ohio's 15 congressional district, which comprises western Franklin County (including part of Columbus, the state capital), most of Madison County, and a piece of Union County. This race was decided by just a few hundred votes two years ago, when challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, a democrat, took on incumbant Rep. Deb Pryce, then the number four republican in the U.S. House. Pryce squeaked by because she had reached out to firearms owners and 2A groups -- a constituency she had scorned shortly after taking office more than a decade ago, even though she had sought donations and support from gun owners for her initial bid to represent this district.

Firearms owners held their noses and pushed the button for Ms. Pryce, listening to her apologies that she had done them wrong in previous votes. But Pryce had had enough and decided not to defend her seat one more time.

On November 4, Kilroy again ran for the seat, this time against Steve Stivers a republican state senator who, despite his representing his district very competently, had the misfortune (some would say) of having been a bank lobbyist in his previous life. And today, with the mortgage meltdown, everyone hates bankers. Kilroy's campaign and the Democratic National Committee exploited that to their advantage with an onslaught of negative campaigning previously unseen by voters in this district.

Today, the race remains undecided. Stivers leads by nearly 600 votes out of more than 250,000 votes cast. The 19th Ohio margin is even slimmer, and is still undecided. There, democrat Marian Harris has a 40 vote lead over republican Brad Lewis.

At issue are provisional ballots that were improperly filled out, or envelopes that were improperly filled out by voters. One court case has been trumped by another, which has been trumped by another. The latest -- the case over how to count these provisional ballots -- filled out when a voter's registration could not be confirmed, or if they had moved and their address could not be confirmed -- will not go to federal court, but will be remanded to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Here's my take. Voting rules exist for a reason. If they are violated, the vote should not count -- NO MATTER WHO IS WINNING. That's why the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in in Florida during the 2000 election. They said the state could not change the rules of voting procedures during the election, which was attempted.

Just determine whether the voter is eligible. Decide if the voter followed the instructions, which are plain as day and could not be more simple. Children could follow the instructions -- why it is being suggested that adults be given a free pass for not following very, very, very simple instructions I do not know. Anyway, if the PB meets the other criteria, then make sure it can be proved that they did not vote more than once; and that they, indeed, exist. If that is met, count the damn thing. If not, don't.

For all the talk by both sides of "every vote should be counted," one should be reminded that there were attempts to quash the military vote because they were not postmarked on time due to a cumbersome military/postal snafu. One should be reminded that there were people here in Franklin County, staying here for a few months working on campaigns, that were very lucky the prosecutor didn't throw the book at them. For they had registered to during the open period where folks could register and vote on the same day. These people were planning -- PLANNING -- to vote in two places. The powers that be did not prosecute. Why is still a mystery to me. Yet there have been 13 cases of voter fraud filed in Franklin County. Many more could have been, just by reading the headlines.

Stivers vs. Kilroy was a campaign filled with vitriol and animosity. Tons of money was raised. And I mean boatloads! Voters mailboxes were filled with cards from various groups promoting both candidates, but if an election were to be decided by the weight and volume of such cards, the election would tip to Kilroy, a Franklin County commissioner. Mailers probably totalled 10 to one in favor of Kilroy.

One thing I find very interesting in all this . . . I have read many people either in blogs or on Facebook or MySpace pages who can't understand why people are still unsettled after the election. In their words, "The election of Barack Obama finally united the country . . . why are people still upset?"

I find it amusing that people believe this election united the nation. There have been more "undecided" federal Senate and House races in this election than in any other election in modern history. Think about that for a moment.... One key race is up along the great lakes. The U.S. Senate race in Minnesota remains undecided, a race that could give Senate democrats a filibuster proof majority. Numerous other races remain undecided, and others have only been decided in the past two weeks.

In the 15th Ohio, the margin is razor thin. And now it is up to the Ohio Supreme Court to decide, essentially, how ballots will be counted in this race.


Harry Schell said...

The election of 2008 hasn't united the country at all and has the potential, if Bama pursues the socialist and secular policies he espoused, to further divide us on class, religious and racial lines.

Electing a man who earnestly evades definition as his primary strategy is very dangerous.

Despite his "moderate" picks for a Cabinet, the Congress is in the hands of more radical leftists, and will influence his policy decisions heavily.

The fighting has just begun...

Corinne said...

This election has put our country on very shaky ground. It will take some time for people to settle, if they do settle down. This political illuminati who preached change has a lot of loyal republican supporters. Although they may not support Obama, they support the United States.

Let us hope that all the unanswered qquestions about the president elect, including whether or not he is even a US citizen, will be settled and this country can get back to its roots. We are growing tired of the constant political correctness and the petty fighting. It is unrealistic to hope for everyone to reach across the aisle, but at some point we need to come together to deal with the issues that are facing our country, not bickering amongst eachother. The petty negative campaigning that occurred in Ohio is just one of those markers. Who wants to be led by a person so willing to cut others down?