Tuesday, December 5, 2006

2006 recount contest

Last week, Monroe County Republican Party chairman Franklin Andrew filed a recount contest in four races in the wake of irregularities in the way the election was handled. The recount contest covers three races: Monroe County Recorder, County Council District 2, and Van Buren Township Assessor. In all three races, machine totals favored the Republicans, while absentee ballots put Democrat candidates over the top.

One major concern a woman named Rosemary had an unauthorized key that gave her access to absentee ballots, including ballots that had not yet been cast. Rosemary was personally appointed by Monroe County Democrat Party chairwoman Lee Jones and has been the Democrat Party chair's go-to person on absentee ballots for a long time.

Some local Democrats are whining that the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find anything. This red herring obscures the fact that the FBI lacks jurisdiction in this matter and passed the investigation on to the Indiana State Police. The State Police are conducting a "vigorous investigation" of this matter.

It gets worse. Andrew reported at the Friday Lunch Bunch on December 1 that a personal friend of Lee Jones registered to vote in 1992 from a location that was torn down in 1987 and voted by mail via absentee ballot, and that Jones actually defended this person's right to do so. Local Democrats have also defended someone who registered to vote from an address where they did not reside and then proceed to vote from overseas.

The Democrat Party's response in the Herald-Timesis laughable, especially following Andrew's concerns that "We had an unauthorized person with a key in the voter registration office, we had people who registered to vote from addresses at which they never lived, we have a host of issues." Jones responded: "I see absolutely no reason at all to suggest that any kind of fraud or any sort of criminal behavior occurred in this county in any way." I guess the world is a nicer place if you are in denial.

That the candidates, specifically Pat Haley, have not asked for this recount is irrelevant. Haley is a gentle person and not the type of individual who goes looking for conflict, and I respect that. Nonetheless, Andrew has a responsibility to party activists, former and future candidates, and Republican voters to make sure that he does what he can to ensure fair and clean elections in the future.

Franklin Andrew made the right decision in filing this recount contest. Andrew doesn't expect that any results will be overturned; he just wants to make sure that people who should not be voting are prohibited from voting. I personally hope that any cases of voter fraud uncovered by this election are aggressively prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law, and that serves as a deterrent for any future shady activity in Monroe County.