Thursday, July 3, 2014

In Republican Senate runoff, McDaniel is entitled to identify and exclude illegal votes

    The more I hear about the election-day shenanigans of the Thad Cochran campaign the madder I get.
    I wrote recently that as much as I disliked Cochran I would likely support him in November. I wasn't aware at the time that thousands of the Democrats who voted for him had actually voted in the first Democratic primary. These were invalid votes. There are now allegations that cash was actually distributed to voters in order to entice them to vote. If so, these were invalid votes.
    Apparently in at least one county there was a deliberate effort to facilitate this illegal voting by failing to provide as usual the "swap book" of voters who voted in the first Democratic primary. So there was no way for poll workers to identify and exclude illegal voters.
    The London Daily Mail has reported on radio ads funded by a PAC tied to former Gov. Haley Barbour which tied McDaniel to the Klan and told black voters, "If the tea party, with their racist ideas, win, we will be sent back to the '50s and '60s." Fox New's Hannity also aired a piece on Cochran's dirty politics on July 1. This is disgraceful.
    McDaniel has a right to see the voter rolls and determine who voted in the first Democratic primary and then compare their names to those who voted in the Republican runoff. We have a right as Mississippians to fair and honest elections, without voter fraud and without cash payments to voters. And yet many county clerks are thwarting his efforts in an effort to deny us an honest election.
    My personal opinion is that McDaniel is going to have a tough time finding the 6,500 or so unlawful votes that he needs to overturn the election. But justice demands that every election official cooperate with him in reviewing the voting records.
    There are two issues here. The first is the legal issue of whether Thad Cochran actually won the election. McDaniel has every right to insist that votes cast illegally be excluded from the vote count. And there needs to be a full criminal investigation into the allegations of cash payments to voters. If they are true someone, perhaps even Cochran, needs to go to jail.
    The second issue is whether a Republican candidate can be allowed to engage in last-minute race-baiting, with slanderous ads calling his opponent a racist. Even though the ads were full of false information, I don't think they were illegal (although there were numerous illegal flyers distributed with no claim of authorship). But it does take some gall to slander your opponent in this fashion and then turn around and ask for his support.
    Of course, the Cochran camp is urging everyone to just pull together for the common Republican cause. Isn't it great that these folks can defraud their opponent, slander their opponent, and then demand that their opponent thank them for doing so?
    Prior to this election I always thought of Thad Cochran as a good guy with an occasional liberal streak. Instead I've found him to be a man without any scrap of moral or scruple save the desire to remain in office.

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