In a brazen bid to take control of Maryland’s election process–a move that has sinister overtones to say the least–Publican Gov Bob Erlich wants Maryland’s feisty, independent Elections Administrator fired and replaced by an appointee of his own. The grounds for her dismissal? She’s ‘crabby’ to him.
ACCORDING TO state law, Maryland State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone can be removed from her job only for “incompetence, misconduct or other good cause.” The law, passed in 1998, is intended to insulate the administrator, and the management of elections, from the bump and grind of partisan politics. But now Ms. Lamone, who has managed elections in the state since 1997, is the target of what by all appearances is a putsch by the Republican-led State Board of Elections. Board members are appointed by the governor, and Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wants Ms. Lamone out.
Despite taking the nearly Kafkaesque step of having Ms. Lamone investigated by a veteran agent of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which usually confines itself to probing abuses by prison employees, the elections board hasn’t found much to accuse her of. There are no criminal allegations; her main sin, it seems, is that she has been crabby at times in her relations with the board. On one occasion, according to the board’s complaint, Ms. Lamone was guilty of a scheduling conflict, choosing to testify before Congress rather than appear before the board. Compounding the damage, she testily informed the board that she “alone” will determine how to do her job. On another occasion, it took her six weeks to promulgate written guidelines for local election officials on how to deal with voters who refused to use the state’s electronic voting machines. Most damning, apparently, was that Ms. Lamone complained to a job applicant that the governor was “out to get” her. So she’s crabby, and she tells the truth.
It seems pretty obvious that’s what’s behind this nonsense is yet another attempt to put the election into partisan hands in an effort to ensure a Bush win by hook or by crook, like the bogus redistricting in Colorado and Texas and the (maybe) aborted voter disenfranchisement in Florida and other states. The Pubs are lining up their ducks, using any means necessary to get the power to make the election go their way.
The signs are mounting that the Cult of Personality is working its magic, justifying any action that sanctifies Our Leader’s continued imperium, seeing as how he’s The Only Man in the Whole World Who Can Save Us. It’s looks like this election will be stolen in pieces by a combination of local actions rather than, like last time, a single illegal election that is then confirmed by the SCOTUS.
Is it time yet to call in the UN election monitors?