Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Party shenanigans, and taxpayers pick up the check


From Jenna Portnoy of the Washington Post:

And from Max Smith of WTOP radio, referring to elections board member Clara Belle Wheeler:


If you are reading this, you have been warned: time for a small rant.

I am serving as an election official again this year. (BTW – it's a terrific experience.) As such I am a Fairfax County employee and am paid for my duty by the taxpayers of Fairfax County. I recently received an email from the Office of Elections. Here's how it opens:

As you may know, there has been much publicity in the press about the March Presidential Primaries. The Republican Party of Virginia is requiring all voters voting in the Republican Primary on March 1 to sign a statement of affiliation. A sample statement is attached to this email. Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia allows a political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary.

Voters who refuse to sign the statement may not vote in the Republican Primary, but must be offered a provisional ballot.
Here are three problems:
  1. I fully accept that political parties can chose their candidates in any manner they want; I don't accept that public funding is used to conduct their process.
  2. Offering provisional ballots is a ruse. Yes, voters can vote via provisional ballot without signing the party pledge but party officials will ultimately determine acceptance and acknowledgement of these voters' preferences.
  3. You'll notice that the requirement for a "statement of affiliation" is in the Code of Virginia, showing that the parties have used taxpayer and legislative resources to ensure that their exclusivity is the law of the land.
Fairfax County spends about $4 million a year to operate its Office of Elections. If the parties' franchise is so valuable, how 'bout a piece of the action for taxpayers?