Volume 12, Issue 37 ~ September 9-15, 2004
Current Issue
The Curtain Rises: Casting The Perfect Play
Letters to the Editor
Bay Reflections
Bay Life
Burton on the Bay
Dock of The Bay
Earth Journal
Earth Talk
Sky Watch
101 Ways to Have Fun on the Bay
8 Days a Week

Between the Covers

Music Review
Music Notes
Curtain Call
Movie Times
Bay Weekly in Your Mailbox
Print Advertising Rates
Distribution Spots
Behind Bay Weekly
Contact Us

Powered by

Search bayweekly.com
Search WWW


Wanted: A 2004 Election Beyond Reproach

Republicans tell us they’re wary of Sen. John Kerry’s views toward war. Democrats tell us they're wary of President George W. Bush’s views toward just about everything.

Yet both sides agree on one political truth: Elections must be sparklingly clean and smooth-flowing.

Yet we’re a tad nervous about what might happen Nov. 2 given disquieting news about election preparations in Maryland.

First, we’re suspicious of the maneuvering by Gov. Robert Ehrlich that suspended Maryland Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone from her job last week. She has since returned to work under a court order, but the push to oust her continues.

We understand and respect how the party in power gets to run the show. Chicago’s first Mayor Daley used to say, “Reward your friends, punish your enemies.” (Daley cronies also are said to have uttered the phrases “Don't make no waves, don't back no losers” and, our favorite, “We don't want nobody nobody sent”).

The most hard-bitten Chicago ward-heeler would have chuckled at the method of Maryland’s Board of Elections where two Ehrlich-appointed GOP members joined by a protégé of William Donald Schaefer, Maryland's comptroller, voted to remove Lamone. They replaced her temporarily with a registered Democrat described by Democratic leaders as little more than “window-dressing.”

What the board did was more out of Kafka than Boss Daley. Lamone was accused vaguely of “incompetence, misconduct or other good cause.” But never were her alleged transgressions spelled out. What sin might she have committed to get fired? We weren't told.

We also admit to being slightly queasy about Maryland’s new all electronic voting systems with no paper trail.

Perhaps we’ve been reading too deeply into courtroom accounts in which experts describe how Maryland refused to make changes for safety’s sake when experts said that the machines were liable to tampering.

Maybe we just like to have something to hold in our hands that can be counted with a No. 2 Ticonderoga rather than trusting democracy to flickering dots on a computer screen.

We agree with the folks fighting in court to require a paper trail when Marylanders vote. If not this election, by the gubernatorial election of 2006 courts ought to require an upgrade that would provide a paper backup in this electronic age.

Good citizens of all political affiliations are still troubled by our 2000 election debacle in which millions were disenfranchised and the outcome of the presidential election, still disputed, had to be settled in court.

With so much out of our control these days, we should do all in our power to give people confidence both in our election machinery and in the people who keep it oiled.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.