Thursday, January 03, 2008

Democracy

Check out this article out of Ohio. (h/t: The Brad Blog)

A judge suspicious of more corruption pressed two former election board workers to tell what they know and then sentenced them today to the maximum 18 months in prison for rigging the 2004 presidential election recount to make their job easier.

“I can’t help but feel there’s more to this story,” said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Corrigan, who allowed the women to remain free on bond pending appeal. Some of their friends and relatives sobbed as the judge imposed the sentence.

The judge repeatedly asked Jacqueline Maiden, 60, an election coordinator who was the Cuyahoga County board’s third-highest ranking employee, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer, 40, if higher-ups in the board had directed the recount rigging.

“It seems unlikely your supervisors wouldn’t know,” the judge prodded.

The women, standing side by side, said they had cooperated with a state investigation of the elections board in Ohio’s most populous county. The board has been a lightning rod for critics wary since Ohio gave the 2004 election to President Bush.

“This big conspiracy, it’s not there,” Dreamer said. She said she wasn’t protecting anyone at the board and had been truthful in the investigation.

Maiden said she wouldn’t lie, even to protect someone. “I’ve never tried to do anything underhanded,” she said.

But the judge sounded skeptical. “Telling the whole truth, that’s what’s important,” Corrigan said. “I’m not convinced you’ve done that.”

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, appointed as an outside investigator to look into the election board in Cleveland, told that judge that the women had been uncooperative in the investigation and appealed for prison time for both.

“The defendants have never come clean,” he said.

Prosecutors said the employees broke the law when they worked behind closed doors three days before the Dec. 16, 2004, recount to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand so they could avoid a lengthier, more expensive hand recount of all votes.

Baxter criticized the outspoken support for the women from Robert Bennett, the election board chairman and head of the Republican Party in Ohio. Endorsing such criminal behavior is “amazing, it’s astounding,” according to Baxter, who didn’t indicate if the investigation might lead to more charges.

Oh dear oh dear. Eighteen months for rigging an election.

Genarlow Wilson did a two year bid for consensually receiving fellatio on New Years Eve. He was 17 and she was 15 and he spent two years in jail.

Is there a three-strikes-means-life sentencing law in regards to election theft?

I know that this particular case doesn't involve very many Ohio votes, but what with all the other allegations, suspicions over electronic voting, etc....

*How worried should we be about an improper election in 2008?

*Is it so bad now that this is a stupid question?

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