Earlier this year in "All Damm-ed Up and Nowhere to Go" the link between the Dispatch Editorial Board and Reporters was revealed in a series of emails in which it was clear that Franklin County Board of Elections Deputy Director Matt Damschroder is the straw that stirs the drink both for his Party and Dispatch writers.
But now comes a new wrinkle.
How long would you keep your job if you got your company sued?
If you're Damschroder, the controversial Republican Deputy Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, that's a very good question.
Thursday, the Steve Stivers campaign filed a lawsuit against the Franklin County Board of Elections and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Their goal is to keep thousands of provisional ballots from being counted in that close race. It's a typical – and despicable – partisan lawsuit.
What isn't typical is who helped them with the lawsuit.
It was a cut-and-paste job based solely on information from Matt Damschroder, an employee of the Board being sued ironically enough by Stivers.
Damschroder provided emails, carefully edited directives, and insider information in an affidavit that provided every shred of information in the lawsuit.
And while the Board of Elections system is rightfully partisan – you have to wonder at what point Mr. Damschroder crosses the line between partisan activity and service to the overall Elections system and the taxpayers he serves.
So, here are a few very important questions for the Franklin County board.
How can an employee help a partisan campaign sue his own board over decisions they haven't even made and still keep his/her job?
Shouldn't the board bar Matt Damschroder from processing or counting provisional ballots?
Can Franklin County voters trust Matt Damschroder now that he has shown he doesn't want thousands of provisional ballots to count, even though he's be told to count them by the state's chief elections officer?
Why hasn't Matt Damschroder answered for the "mistake" that erroneously flagged tens of thousands of Franklin County voters and forced them to use provisional ballots?
Most importantly, why is Matt Damschroder trying to change the rules after the election and likely help his fellow Republican in the process?
What fuels a man to such hypocritical heights? Well for Damschroder it appears to be a pipeline to the Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board that seems to rely less and less on its own journalists stories, and instead on Matt Damschroder’s emails.
Increasingly these days the Dispatch Editorial page seems to be losing credibility as an "honest broker" of opinion when it comes to Jennifer Brunner and the 2008 election – not through their opinions, but through over-reliance on this one very out of control source – something that newspapers are wont to do now and then. [Go back and read conservative Ed Board’s during the red-scares of Joe McCarthy – not everyone had the gravitas of Edward R. Murrow on the issue.]
Look folks, despite Damschroder’s efforts to undermine Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner every step of the way Ohio experienced the best statewide election in decades. Even the Dispatch front-page headlines trumpeted the lack of voter problems.
So all the while, Damschroder and Dispatch Editorial pages continue to attack Ohio’s Secretary of State as partisan – while in fact evidence like Stiver’s lawsuit is prima fasciae proof of Damschroder’s hyper steroid manipulation of the bi-partisan nature of Boards of Elections to game the system on behalf of his favored candidates.
Ohio’s bi-partisan Election system has somehow survived 205 years with few examples of over-reaching until Damschroder’s recent antics.
Sure there is partisanship on these Boards, but even the partisans on a bi-partisan panel must live within that unwritten litmus test – does their action protect the right to vote, or does it inhibit the right to vote?
When you voluntarily provide documents to fuel and perhaps plan a partisan candidates’ lawsuit to sue your very own employer in a cause of action meant to inhibit vote counts in a close race – you have eviscerated that litmus test.
Mr. Damschroder’s actions, regardless of your partisan leanings, not only undermine his legal fiduciary responsibility to the County Commissioners who fund his Board, but continue to undermine public confidence in an election system that for generations has withstood other partisan games.
However, unless the Franklin County Board of Elections and their taxpayer funders, the Franklin County Commissioners, take action over Damschroder’s latest antics – fueling a lawsuit against his own employer – one man’s ambition undermines the most basic right of Democracy.
Regardless of who wins the Stivers/Kilroy race we all stand to lose over Matt Damschroder’s actions this week.
That is because after 205 years, one man’s avarice for partisan victory seems to have outweighed his fiduciary responsibility to all of us to count votes regardless of who wins.
As for the Dispatch Ed Board – perhaps it is time to take a step back and consider the impact of over-reliance on one source in formulating opinion.
After all in the political laws of gravity, what goes up must come crashing. Here’s hoping voter rights aren’t shattered in the process.
Cross-Posted With Permission From ProgressOhio.