Sunday, March 9, 2008

Breaking the Law?

Security camera footage of Republican operatives looting the U.S. Treasury.

Crossing over isn't just for Texas.

A staggering 16,000-plus Republicans in Cuyahoga County switched parties when they voted in last week's primary.

That includes 931 in Rocky River, 1,027 in Westlake and 1,142 in Strongsville. More than a third of the Republicans in Solon and Bay Village switched. Pepper Pike had the most dramatic change: just under half of its Republicans became Democrats. And some of those who changed - it's difficult to say how many - could be in trouble with the law.

At least one member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections wants to investigate some Republicans who may have crossed party lines only to influence which Democrat would face John McCain in November.

Anyone who crossed lines was supposed to sign a pledge card vowing allegiance to their new party. In Cuyahoga County, dozens and dozens of Republicans scribbled addendums onto their pledges as new Democrats.
So, is it indeed illegal?
Lying on the pledge is a felony, punishable by six to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Election watchers said they don't know any cases that have been prosecuted in Ohio. And it's unlikely the Republican crossovers influenced the outcome since Clinton handily defeated Obama, said Edward Foley, an election-law professor at Ohio State University.

But he said Ohioans need to learn the rules governing their voting - and poll workers need to enforce them.

In a nutshell, here how it's supposed to work: Ohio voters are allowed to switch party affiliations on the day of a primary election but only if they sign a pledge vowing to support their new party - and mean it.

If a majority of poll workers at a precinct doubt a voter's sincerity, they can challenge the voter even if the voter signed the pledge.

In the days following the election, The Plain Dealer interviewed more than two dozen voters - most of them Republicans who crossed over to Democrats last week.

None - including five who acknowledged lying about supporting the Democrats - were challenged. And several said poll workers never asked them to sign a pledge, but gave them a Democratic ticket.
Fine, technically it's illegal if you don't follow through on the pledge, but then again, I'm not big on loyalty oaths. What this strikes me as most is one more flaw in our limiting, two-party system. Among the legion of Limbaugh Automatons I'm sure a few switched out of truly wishing to do so. Yes, the number of such creatures is probably small, but are we then to lock someone into voting for the subsequent nominee? I can't read minds, can you?

According to the Plain Dealer, there are 249,742 registered Democrats in Cuyahoga county, 84,713 Republicans and 729,542 independents. That's over two-thirds not affiliated with one of the two major political parties.

Is crossing over a devious practice? Probably. But our system is devious, and until we get a new one -- I put the over/under on that at ten centuries assuming the cockroaches haven't usurped our rule by then -- we're pretty much stuck with this solution: Obama/Hillary/partisan followers/DNC/everyone else, start attacking the real enemy with a continuous gusto, the guy who'll continue to support the legalization of immoral behavior such as this. Remember, he's beefy, thus tough to beat.


TomCat said...

Thanks for this excellent article, Randal. It my place I predicted that there would be a significant crossover before the primary, but your article is the first documentation I have seen for it. I see a couple solutions. Either forbid crossing over between the major parties within 30 days of a primary or mandate that anyone who does mys remain in the party to which they switch for five years.

Randal Graves said...

Heh, that might discourage it just a wee bit. ;-)

Angie said...

Talk about reminiscing... A fellow marching band mate of mine my freshman year of high school LOVED Judas Priest! He drove his parents' van around. You know, one those real vans that held about 28 1/2 people. So a bunch of us band geeks would pile into my friend's van and head off to the movies while he cranked the volume of his favorite Priest cassette and barely paid attention to the road. Fun times!

Ohio has some interesting laws. I was just speaking with my cousin lately about the home school laws there... In Indiana we can crossover and cross-dress (although we're very likely to get beat up) whenever we want. Heck, we can even crossdress while we crossover at the polls. It's made for some interesting local elections for sure. I think we do have a law about not spitting on the sidewalk though.

Baldwin Park Democrat said...

I'd leave it that if they cross over in the Primary they have to stay with that party through the general election. Five years may be a bit too long. But I think they'd be reluctant to lose out on voting for their candidate just because they crossed over.

Dean Wormer said...

I'd love to see that challenged in the court of law.

Randal Graves said...

angie, oh man, I remember those vans. We used those for road games during soccer season. And now that you've mentioned the crossdressing, expect Rudy! to move to Indiana very shortly.

baldwin park dem, that's a solution that I think most people could support. Except, you know, the majority of those who did just cross over.

dean, probably won't happen though. Not sure if it's sexy enough as scandals go.

Angie said...

Rudy would get beat up because he is not the sort of Republican the Repubs in this area appreciate, so he would HAVE to be in drag.

Fade said...

Loyalty oaths and all this crap- I'll never affix my name officially to any political apparatus.

Fade said...

Loyalty oaths and all this crap- I'll never affix my name officially to any political apparatus.

Liberality said...

what gets me is that I hear some say that Republicans crossed over to cause the impasasse the democrat party currently faces. if true they ought to be shot! well, that would be sort of hard to prove I know. anyway, some say they want Obama because McCain can beat him and some say Clinton because McCain can beat her so which is it? both, neither, either or, what??? I'd like to know! done venting now...