THE "PROTEST" PART
STARK COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
FEBRUARY 17, 2014
And because Ohio's wise men? (and, of course, "a few women") over the passage of 211 years have found it in their interests to entrench Democrats and Republicans permanently and institutionally into running our structures of government, the best they could do to ensure (at least in their collective minds) fairness was to set up a "cold war" (e.g. the American versus Russia-esque stalemate enhancing) type of governance structure called the county board of elections.
Maybe between "organized" Democrats and Republicans, but certainly not to ordinary citizens, so the SCRP thinks.
In the sense of having access to the handles of political, economic and societal power to redress their grievances with government, "the people, indeed, perish."
Unless and until Ohio's elected Columbus-ensconced representatives cast off the Republican Party and Democratic Party organization-ossified oligarchical form of Ohio's election governance; political power accumulating Republicans and Democrats have and will continue to use our elections institutions for their own aggrandizement and for the benefit of those who nurture them (i.e. "campaign contributions").
The current fight within the structure of the Stark County Board of Elections over whether or not George T. Maier should be certified as qualified under the standards of Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 311.01 shows that the BOE governance structure is inadequate to the task of ensuring that "the will of the people" (in the "republican (i.e. representative) sense" be respected.
Our elected Ohio representatives passed ORC 311.01 and watching Monday's meeting indicates to the SCPR indicates that at the very least it seems clear that the Stark BOE is not up to the task of doing a 311.01 qualification. And, to be fair, there likely is no BOE in all of Ohio who is up to the task.
In no way, shape or form does the SCPR think political appointees Cline, Braden, Ferruccio and St. John are equipped to administer 311.01 as a court of law would do and, though presumably of the "highest intention" are showing themselves - in the opinion of The Report - to be fumbling and bumbling through a nonsensical process the rules of which they seem to be fashioning "on the fly."
In the end, presuming member St. John is allowed to remain a voting member (he is currently under challenge as having predetermined that he will vote for Maier's qualification), the result likely is a two to two tie.
While the SCPR thinks that St. John has broadcast far and wide his pro-Maier stance, The Report thinks that the very structure of BOEs is that - despite their apparent "open-mindedness," that the other three members are "secretly" committed to voting for or against Maier's qualification on political party interest rather than on the merits of the case.
For that is how county boards of elections have been set up to have the members do - on "party interest, critical issues" like - in this instance - which party is going to be advantaged in controlling the Stark County sheriff's office for the foreseeable future.
And lo and behold, who comes sweeping in to break the tie when the likely scenario unfolds (e.g. St. John/Ferruccio to qualify Maier; Cline and Braden not to qualify Maier)? By statutory structure, the Republican-SOS-in-Chief who was elected in 2010 as the secretary of state.
Had a Democrat been elected in 2010, it would be a Democrat-SOS-in-Chief.
For the everyday citizen, six of one; half-a-dozen of another, no?
The point is that neither a Republican nor a Democrat tie-breaker secretary of state (SOS) is a gauge of "the will of Stark Countians" come November.
Moreover, how is it that politicians and political appointees get to decide whether or not a "would-be candidate" qualifies under established statutory law (311.01) to test what "the will of the people" at election time.
Ordinary citizens just want due process and justice done and a decision made in accordance with the law.
The Ohio Supreme Court has already decided that Maier is unqualified (Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto, November 6, 2013).
That decision in and of itself should carry great if not conclusive weight on whether or not Maier is qualified.
But don't trouble St. John with the November 6th result.
He voted as a Stark County Democratic Central Committeeman on December 11, 2013 to re-appoint Maier notwithstanding Swanson v. Maier.
Originally, the word was that Stark's BOE was going to dodge the Maier qualification question on 311.01 grounds altogether and just pass on the sufficiency of his petitions in having an adequate number of registered voters.
Undoubtedly, this was a thing that the Stark County Democratic Party leadership (which includes Maier brother, Johnnie A. Jr as "executive vice chairman") wanted.
Now, isn't that swell, real "swell?"
And we want these folks to wade into procedures they likely didn't want to be involved in - in the first place?
"We the people" have no choice in the matter. That's what the politicians in Columbus have saddled us with and they aren't about to take the administration of elections out of their political control.
They battle over who will control as between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party "from the top down."
"The people be damned!," they utter under their breaths.
What Stark Countians are going to get out of the undemocratic, unrepublican and certainly archaic (to be kind to our past and present legislative governors) "protect our turf" county board of election structure is what? More uncertainty, that's what.
There is no doubt to the SCPR that the BOE built-in bias towards political standoff/stalemate will likely result in a new round of court challenges which will put Stark Countians in the position of not knowing who is to be the county's chief law enforcement official going forward for perhaps another year.
Just take a look yourself Mister and Missus Stark County Citizen at following example of what your state legislature has brought you over 200 years in the making.
Because of the stranglehold "organized" Democrats and Republicans have on this local level of government, the result is - on too many occasions - a contest of what is good for one political party as opposed to the other political party.
The "will of the people" perishes!
It is apparent to the SCPR that the governance of county boards of elections is primarily about organized Republicans and Democrats checkmating one another in a battle for political advantage.
The Ohio system of county boards of elections is anti-democratic, unrepublican and needs to be done away and replaced with a structure which is devoid of the political factor as is humanely possible.
We are a people of "the rule of law."
Boards of elections are not equipped to deal with "rule of law" questions.
They are political through and through in structure. It is truly amazing that anything resembling "legal merit" makes it through Ohio's "for the political advantage" system of elections administration.
To the degree the folks in Columbus perpetuate Ohio's horribly out-of-touch with "democratic and republican values of America" board of elections structure, they feed citizen apathy and antipathy towards government in general in spades!
Is that what they want?