Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, June 8

Gov: Fisher (D) Joins Chorus Calling for Blackwell (R) Recusal

I received an email from the gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon), indicating that at 10:00 am this morning at the King Arts Comlex in Columbus, Strickland's running mate and former Attorney General Lee Fisher (D-Cleveland) will add his voice to those already calling for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) to step down from the task of overseeing the fairness of the election in which he himself is running for governor. This follows the lead editorial in yesterday's New York Times, which concluded with this:
But there is one clear way that Ohio's election system is corrupt. Decisions about who can vote are being made by a candidate for governor. Mr. Blackwell should hand over responsibility for elections to a decision maker whose only loyalty is to the voters and the law.
Also yesterday, Ohio’s Senate and House minority leaders called on Blackwell to reverse his decision to complicate and hinder voter registration drives and to step down from overseeing this year’s gubernatorial election. Sen. C.J. Prentiss (D-Cleveland Heights) made this statement:
Ken Blackwell can’t be trusted to fairly administer this year's elections. This decision to criminalize traditionally accepted voter registration methods is just another example of Blackwell’s willingness to trample voting rights. This proves that he will do anything to try to get elected. Candidate Blackwell is allowing his personal interest to guide his decisions as Secretary of State.

As Secretary of State his duty is to oversee a free and fair elections process that encourages Ohioans to vote. However, Blackwell suppressed votes to help elect George W. Bush in 2004. Just imagine what he’ll do to elect himself in 2006. The title of Secretary of State does not give him the authority to disgrace the people who have fought and bled to protect our right to vote.
Ohio House Minority Leader Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) also issued a statement:
Mr. Blackwell is on the wrong side of history. Registering voters is crucial to expanding the number of citizens who vote. Sadly, there is ample evidence that Ken Blackwell has manipulated the elections system to disenfranchise voters, and he's doing it again. Ohioans are fed up with more than a decade of corrupt, one party rule. Perhaps Mr. Blackwell is afraid of what they will have to say on Election Day?
Blackwell's campaign has so far rejected these calls for Blackwell to step down, pointing to the fact that other Ohio secretaries of state have supervised elections while running for office. As quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said:
When Bob Taft was secretary of state and ran for governor, when every other secretary of state in the history of the state of Ohio has run for another office while they served in that office, why is it different for Ken Blackwell?
The difference, as I have heard secretary of state candidate Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) point out several times, is that former secretaries of state have not abused their office the way that Blackwell has. Apparently restrained by a sense of propriety or fear of public retribution, no secretary of state before Blackwell has engaged in such blatant misuse of the office to promote partisan issues and candidates, to suppress voter registration, and otherwise to manipulate elections.

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