Friday, November 06, 2009

Cash for votes in Athens County

Jesse Hathaway who blogs at Athens Runaway has good coverage of the goings on, so I hope you'll read his blog for all the details of the cash for votes in Athens County.

It starts with an email from the Ohio University College Democrats offering $5 for bringing in people from the 4th Ward of the city - which was the only contested race. According to some reports at the time, the source of funding was the Athens County Democratic Party.

It continues with confirmation that the funds did come from the local Democratic Party - but the money was for canvassing, not actual votes - and that it was part of the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort of the local party. It includes Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern's disavowal of the "stupid idea" from the local Democratic Party Chairwoman Susas Gwinn and a call for an investigation.

This particular post also includes questions about whether or not the College Democrats were involved in a similar effort in 2008.

But in a strange twist on the matter, the party treasurer, Lenny Eliason, said he had no knowledge of any such GOTV effort and that no money had been allocated for it.

Lenny is a sitting county commissioner and I worked with him on the board of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO). He was recently elected 2nd Vice President of the National Association of Counties (NaCO) which puts him in line for the presidency of the national organization. He is well-respected by commissioners across the state and has a reputation for following the rules, so when he says this 'doesn't pass the smell test,' you can see that Democrats have not begun to circle the wagons on this one. Instead, as the post details, some are calling for Gwinn's resignation.

Then there is this post covering the assignment of the investigation to Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost, who was already investigating prior questionable financial actions of Gwinn.

Gwinn, reacting to Redfern's demand that she resign as party chair, said Refern should resign instead. After all, as Councilwoman Nancy Bain, D-3rd Ward, says, if the Athens Dems wanted his opinion, they'd ask him - and they did win the 4th Ward election.

Be sure to check Athens Runaway for more updates.

2 comments:

Tim Higgins said...

It will be interesting to see how this one pans out, and whether Democrats in Ohio will feel the same as Ms. Gwinn.

Will it be determined in Democratic Party headquarters around the state that it is more important to follow the rules (actually laws) or simply to win?

Lisa Renee said...

I don't support illegal activity if it existed, but two things came to mind. First, it's nice to see some parts of the state have the nerve to tell Redfern to butt out unless he's wanted. Secondly though, Athens County had the worst voter turnout in the state according to the Dispatch...25.2% Which means it appears if money was offered? It didn't impact the apathy which also suggests the Democratic Party there is not motivating voters to turn out - pay or no pay...

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