Friday, October 5, 2007

Not Getting It

Jim Crawford is chair of the GOP in Dryden. Here he writes the most hypocritical screed I've seen in a while.

LATER: Below is the guest editorial I wrote in response. It turns out that the IJ only wants one from our Chair, so I don't get to publish mine, although I still might send it elsewhere. They seem to think this is about Ithaca, when the not-so-subtle subtext is our upcoming race in Dryden. Simon has posted on the issue as well.
Election reform is not a partisan issue

In 2001, then-Attorney General Elliot Spitzer recommended changes in New York State’s petitioning requirements that would have extended petitioning time periods, reduced the numbers of signatures required, and eliminated many of the more arcane rules, allowing candidates time to correct errors and even enabling citizens to sign more than one petition. He may have been spurred to this recommendation by his own electoral history: In 1998, although he won by 26,000 votes, Spitzer was challenged by the Republican incumbent, Dennis Vacco, who conceded in December only after a protracted court battle in which Vacco challenged minority ballots and tried to enlist police to help him do a house-to-house search to locate “illegal” voters.

In other words, it is not just Republicans who consider New York’s petitioning laws in need of reform, and it is not just Democrats who mount legal challenges. The op-ed piece of October 5 (“Democrats show hypocrisy on core principles”) wildly misstates the issue, and by “proposing a truce over the small stuff,” indicates a complete misunderstanding of the reasons for election law; namely, to prevent the kind of fraud and corruption on both sides that made New York such a hotbed of electoral malfeasance in the 19th century.

However, I am sure that the writer is just being disingenuous, since I well remember his own successful challenge to a Democratic absentee ballot in the recent Dryden Village election. His suggestion that Martha Robertson “cynically” pursued a challenge to independent petitions before giving up in defeat ignores the rule he knows well that gives citizens a mere three days to mount a challenge and then several more to see whether a challenge is warranted. His statement that Democrats in Dryden “did not even make the effort” to get an independent line on the ballot ignores the fact that his Party is only doing this as part of a (quite sensible) national effort to distance themselves from the national GOP. We Dryden Democrats don’t feel that need; we know that our slate will appeal to members of all parties. And his suggestion that only Democrats want to “win at all costs” belies his support of a candidate for Dryden Town Justice who daily opposes his own heartfelt belief in the value of Drug Court.

It would be time better spent if all of the Republicans who claim to be appalled at Democrat Cathy Valentino’s loss of the independent line wrote to their new Governor to remind him of his 2001 proposal, which sank without a trace under the leadership of Republican George Pataki.

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