I don't really keep up on the goings on in my home town of Irvington, New York, so it was a real surprise to me, when I just happened to look it up on Wikipedia, to read about this:
The controversial 2005 Irvington mayoral election was held on March 15, 2005, but was not decided until October 27, 2005. The race between Republican incumbent Dennis P. Flood and Democratic challenger Erin Malloy ended up being decided "by lots", as required by New York state law when a village election is tied (847 votes for each candidate).
The count that took place on election night gave Flood a one-vote lead. On March 18, the Westchester County Board of Elections recounted the votes, giving Malloy a one-vote lead. Turning to two unopened absentee ballots, the board found that one was for Flood, resulting in a tie. The other absentee ballot was not opened as the name on the envelope did not match any names on the voter-registration list. Susan B. Morton, who had registered to vote as Susan Brenner Morton, stepped forward three days later and demanded that her vote for Malloy be counted. For several months afterward, various suits, motions, and appeals were filed in state courts. On October 20, the Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, denied requests by Malloy and Morton, leaving the election in a tie. To comply with state law, the village had to use random lots to decide the winner.
State law does not specify the method of drawing lots, so the village opted to draw quarters from a bag. Eight quarters were used. Four had a bald eagle on the back and represented Malloy. Flood was represented by four quarters with the Statue of Liberty on the back. Village Trustee/Deputy Mayor Richard Livingston, a Republican, drew a quarter from the bag. It was handed to Village Clerk Lawrence Schopfer, who declared Flood to be the winner. Flood was then sworn in for his sixth two-year term as mayor of Irvington.
It didn't seem fair that Susan B. Morton should have her perfectly legitimate vote discounted, and I looked a little more into what happened. I came across a entry by Bob Geiger on his blog Yellow Dog Blog:
The case quickly went to the courtroom of State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz on March 25. Lefkowitz fully rejected Flood's argument, ruling that Brenner-Morton had clearly established both her identity and her intent and sternly intoned "open the ballot" to end the case.
The vote was for Erin Malloy and Irvington voters were told they had a new mayor. But Flood and his lawyer, John Ciampoli, immediately filed an appeal to toss Brenner-Morton's vote and asked for a new election.
It's important to note that Ciampoli is a noted election law expert, a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and widely considered the big hitter among New York conservatives when it comes to defeating Democrats in close elections. Indeed, it was Ciampoli who served Nick Spano in getting enough Democratic votes tossed to defeat Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
While Flood was represented by the GOP's big election gun, Malloy was forced to pay for the defense of her legitimate win via local fundraisers and the generosity of local Democratic supporters.
In mid April, Lefkowitz again rebuked Flood and declared Malloy the winner – only to have Flood appeal to the Appellate Division in Brooklyn. The next six months are a blur of Republican legal shenanigans in which they did everything in their power to keep Brenner-Morton's vote from counting.
The Appellate Division ultimately tossed Brenner-Morton's vote on a legally-questionable technicality offered by Flood, and decided that the election was once again a tie – a decision that many lawyers have since said was seriously flawed. Based on a bizarre state law, the deadlocked election was now to be decided based on a random game of chance.
Accordng to this local newspaper article, the reason Morton's ballot was ultimately rejected was that the suit to get it counted was not "timely." (The official village government timeline is here.)
According to Geiger, Morton is angry about not having her voted counted, and Malloy is determined to run again:
The back story to all of this is what Brenner-Morton endured since casting her ballot in March. In addition to having her honesty questioned throughout this entire affair, Brenner-Morton had been told she needed to fully document her whereabouts during the election and for an eight-day period surrounding the March 15 election day. The latter tactic was an effort to question why she needed to vote via absentee ballot, despite there being no strict prevailing standard for what justification is required to vote absentee and ignoring the fact that she was indeed attending a business conference on election day.
If you're starting to feel like you're in a Kafka book, it gets worse. Since this all began, Brenner-Morton has had to retain her own lawyer to get her vote counted and has endured being hounded by a private investigator, hired by Team Flood, in an effort to intimidate her out of the process.
The P.I. retained by Flood called Brenner-Morton at home and Ciampoli had a summons tacked to the front door of her house. After trying unsuccessfully to have her served at work in front of her colleagues, Brenner-Morton was contacted by her employer's legal department because they too had been subpoenaed by the Republican camp.
All of this occurred because, through dumb luck of the draw, her vote happened to be the one to push Democrat Malloy over the top.
Republican officials in attendance Thursday seemed to agree that the Irvington voter thrown, against her will, into this maelstrom, had been wronged.
"I wish to publicly apologize to Mrs. Susan Morton for what she's been through in trying to get her vote counted," said Republican Livingston, moments before the game-of-chance was played out.
"I say to Susan Morton, you have my sincerest apologies for what took place and, you know, hopefully this will never happen in Irvington again," said Flood, despite having been the person singularly responsible for the outcome.
An amazed Brenner-Morton responded when told that Flood had "apologized" to her in front of the television cameras. "Not to me, sweetie. To you he apologized. I've never heard an apology to me – ever."
Perhaps the sickest twist on an already-bizarre evening, was the resolution read by the village clerk to formally declare Flood the winner. The clerk said to the packed room that Flood was the winner in a procedure in which the town "...carried out the determination by lot, which has resulted in a vote cast for Dennis Flood."
To many in the room, this was a fitting and symbolic end to another successful Republican election theft, that saw a quarter counted as a "vote" while the legitimately-cast ballot of a longtime Irvington resident was not.
And for Democrats, the song – and the lesson -- remain the same: Whether it is for the presidency, a senate race or a part-time job paying $4,800 per year to be the mayor of Irvington, the Republican apple seldom falls far from the tree. And, if push comes to shove, the GOP will always – always – reach for their trump card of tossing legitimate votes if it serves their agenda.
Meanwhile, Erin Malloy says that the Republican tactics of this race are entirely consistent with the way they operate at any level.
"OK it's not Gore/Bush, Florida 2000, or Kerry/Bush, Ohio 2004, but the tactics are the same," said Malloy. "Attack on the ground at the polling place, disenfranchise voters; finish the job in the courts."
But the gritty Malloy, though exhausted and discouraged, vows that this isn't the end of the story.
"It's not so much the result but the process. It's been very disappointing," she said. "I am absolutely going to run again, and I hope he does too. And I will win."
When I was a young teen, the father of one of my best friends was the mayor of Irvington, and when he ran for Congress, I campaigned for him. (He won.) He was a Republican, but he was a decent man, and he had a crisis of conscience over the Watergate scandal and changed parties. He lost his office in the next election. (Westchester County at the time was still heavily Republican.)
Back then, it was still possible to be a Republican and be a moderate and a decent human being. Unfortunately, it's hard to say the same thing now. I still don't understand at all how people like Chafee and Snowe and Collins can remain in the Republican party and look at themselves in the mirror every morning without being disgusted. I want to think that they're decent people, but how can I when they choose to remain Republicans when the party's been taken over by radical wingnuts?
Your party's going down, folks, and you've still got three years of Bush to get through. Now might be the time to make the move -- before it's too late.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
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Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.