December 27, 2005
Watch the O.C.
I remain confused about the September 15 special election to replace former State Senator John Ford. The Shelby County Election Commission continues to behave very strangely. Side note -- I'm for non-partisan election commissions, period. The officials didn't want to release information to the public about suspected ballot fraud because they thought it would interfere with the TBI's investigation.
But one member of the commission decided to spill the beans -- not to the press, but to a powerful and connected lobbyist who's based in Miami, Fla. Granted, said lobbyist is the former longtime Congressman from the Memphis area who happens to be the sibling of the State Senator who resigned and of the State Senator whose victory is in question. I'm confused by Commissioner O.C. Pleasant's assertion that there wasn't "'anything wrong with it,'" though. Technically, I guess there wasn't. It may prove to have very little impact on the criminal investigation. After all, I side with The Commercial Appeal on their desire for copies of the ballot applications. Pleasant sounds too defensive, though.
And again, why did Harold Ford, Sr. launch his own investigation in the first place? He says in the article that the reason was to clear his name -- but he wasn't in this election, was he? [Actually, in a way he was: his robo-calls were said to have given sister Ophelia a last-minute edge.] Then he is quoted in the very next sentence, "'Thank God the TBI is going to investigate this now.'" Now? I think we have the Shelby County Attorney General to thank for that, first of all, and secondly, I'm sure they could have done a fine job without your "help," sirs.
This issue is much more important than the gamesmanship between Republicans and Democrats [and among rival Democrat factions] suggests. Sadly, the upcoming decision facing the State Senate will likely echo this partisan obfuscation. And through and beyond it all, the Shelby County Election Commission seems to need some serious public oversight and remedial action. I'm sure some Memphians might wonder at why I'm nosing in on them from over here; so be it. Election fraud can impact all levels of government, so that (or any) commission's actions have the potential to directly affect us; and I value the kinds of questions I'm learning to ask in case we ever, ahem, need to query our own local elections office.
Elections | By joe lance | 09:42 AM