Yesterday Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s son became the focus of a debate in the blogosphere as to whether Matt Naugle crossed a line when he posted John Brunner’s facebook page on his site and questioned Rick and Jennifer Brunner’s parenting. Others have very eloquently given their reasons for the separation of private and public lives, so I will focus on the real reason for Matt’s attack on Secretary of State Brunner’s son.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has removed Bob Bennett from his position at the Cuyahoga Board of Elections because he did not have the sense to do it himself. His colleagues on the board realized that their effectiveness had been so damaged by recent events that they could not continue to lead. For some time I have questioned Bob Bennett’s reasoning powers, and this refusal to step down only cements that position.
The problems at the Board of Elections have been there longer than touch- screen voting machines and Michael Vu. Anyone who has lived in Cuyahoga County for any length of time has heard the rumors of unauthorized people being in places on election night where they had no business being, the faulty statistical samplings of votes used instead of counting each and every vote-supposedly put into place durng the Bob Hughes years, the number of employees placed at the BOE for patronage purposes, and the list goes on and on. These problems reach systemic proportions and are going to take herculean efforts to change.
Personally, I have felt for years that these rumors and suppositions have been the real cause of the deterioration of voting in Cuyahoga County. True or not, if the preception is that your vote may not be counted, why vote? When Meet.The.Bloggers interviewed Jennifer Brunner we talked extensively about the integrity of voting and how credibility needed to be restored to the voting procedures in the state and specifically, here in Cuyahoga County. Secretary of State Brunner and her staff are working diligently to do just that.
Today, the Plain Dealer Metro headline “Brunner issues Ohio voter ID rules” says it all. She is doing her job and she is doing it well. Jane Platten, interim director of the Cuyahoga County elections board says this, “It’s set, and it’s clear, and it’s something that I can use with poll worker training as well as staff training.” Go here if you haven’t already read it. Republicans and Democrats alike should be reassured that she has tackled this problem head on.
I don’t agree with all of SOS Brunner’s ideas. For instance, the idea of choosing poll workers randomly from voter registrations as juries are now chosen in my mind is a VERY BAD IDEA. People already use not wanting to serve on a jury as the excuse for not registering to vote. Now, we want to add “I don’t want to be a poll worker” to the list of reasons. I think that a better idea would be that poll workers should not have to take personal days or vacation days from work to serve as poll workers. Why not treat poll workers like those serving on a jury? People serving on juries do not have to use personal time or vacation time. Why should poll workers?
The high school senior that served as a poll worker at my precinct was invaluable to us all. We should encourage more high schools to get involved giving the students who serve as poll workers service points toward the community service requirement that all schools now require. Kiwanis Key Club members could be recruited. Of course, high schools would have a limited source pool because they would need to be eighteen. But why aren’t we recruiting poll workers heavily from our colleges and universities? Political science professors could give extra credit points to students who volunteered to work the polls. What better way to instill in our young people the need to become an active, engaged voter?
And one final thought, I am gravely concerned about a society that thinks that personally attacking a public official’s family or using information found on a website in an entirely different manner than it was intended is a rational way to talk about issues. I think that if we don’t soon get this under control we will find it very hard to find candidates to run for judge or any other position of a public nature. I mention judges because of the recent incidents concerning death threats against judges and their families.
But on the other hand, I am thankful for Tim, Wendell, Jill and Paul as well as many others who debated this issue and I hope that we will be better for the discussion. (I’m rushed–I’ll make more links later.)