Fifteen months have passed since a tornado destroyed one-third of Joplin, but that has not stopped the political opportunists from cashing in on Joplin whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The most recent instance of this occurred last week when the local newspaper, the Joplin Globe printed an article about Jasper County’s recent attempt to update its voter list.
New voting cards were sent to registered county voters and 10,000 of them were returned, undeliverable, most of them in the Joplin and Duquesne areas that were hit by the tornado.
Immediately, for the above-mentioned opportunists, this became a rallying cry about the disenfranchisement of voters who had already suffered unimaginable losses from the tornado.
For the beleaguered Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, initially expected to challenge Democrat Jay Nixon for governor, but sidetracked by scandal, it became an issue in his quest for re-election against an opponent who has been hammering him for weeks.
Kinder issued a news release Friday that included the following passage:
Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today asked Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to provide assistance and resources to Jasper County election officials to ensure voters are not disenfranchised due to last year’s tornado.Kinder wasn’t the only Republican to leap on the Joplin report. St. Louis attorney Ed Martin, who was former Gov. Matt Blunt’s chief of staff and is currently running for attorney general, used it for his latest attack on Attorney General Chris Koster:
The Jasper County Clerk reported this week that voter identification cards for more than 10 percent of Jasper County’s approximately 80,000 voters have been returned by the Post Office. New cards were mailed in July, but about 10,000 cards have been sent back because the addresses on them no longer are valid.
“It is imperative that you provide assistance and resources to remedy this situation to guarantee every citizen’s constitutional right to vote,” Kinder said in his letter to the Secretary of State. “I would hate to think that on top of the tragedy these Jasper County residents have already endured, they now face disenfranchisement for the upcoming elections.
“The people of Joplin and Jasper County have lost enough already. They shouldn’t lose their right to vote.”
Even though thousands of Missourians may be unable to exercise their right to vote on August 7, Attorney General Chris Koster is following the example of his client, President Obama (Martin has continuously referred to Koster as Obama’s lawyer) and staying silent.As you might expect, it did not take long for the Joplin voting scandal to receive national attention. Dana Loesch, who was inexplicably hired as a CNN commentator, wrote about Joplin in her latest post for Big Government and Breitbart.com, accusing Missouri and national Democratic officials of disenfranchising these 10,000 voters because Joplin is a Republican stronghold:
"It is an outrage to everyone in this state that Attorney General Chris Koster has not initiated an investigation when thousands of our fellow Missourians may be unable to vote through no fault of their own," Martin said. "This is not about playing politics, but ensuring that each citizen has the ability to fulfill their right as an American citizen and gets to vote this August."
Ms. Loesch begins with this statement:
Eric Holder accused Florida lawmakers of disenfranchisement when the state took to cleaning up ineligible voters (due to death or felony) from its voter rolls. That same DOJ has been silent about a story brewing out of southern Missouri; after suffering through one of the worst tornados in history, Joplin residents will now face losing their vote.She concludes with this:
Asking Robin Carnahan for assistance when she's already refused to clean up Missouri voter rolls seems fruitless, but it can't hurt. Carnahan has in the past been linked to ACORN, and the state has fought voter fraud for years. It seems only logical to question whether or not the Secretary of State and DOJ's reluctance to intervene is because the 10,000 Joplin tornado victims are heavily Republican.Naturally, Ms. Loesch's post is accompanied by an emotional photo taken in the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado.
President Obama and Eric Holder often talk of how the government can help, and they preach against the evils of disenfranchising voters. So where are they?
I am anticipating that the scandal will continue to grow over the next few days with all of those who are attacking the president, the attorney general, the governor, the secretary of state, and other Democratic officials overlooking a few facts.
1. The chief election official in Jasper County, County Clerk Bonnie Earl, is a Republican. And I don’t say that to cast any blame on her. If she were needing help, she would have asked. Sending out the voter ID cards gave her the first indication of what the situation is in Joplin and Jasper County. Some might ask why that step has not already been taken since numerous elections have occurred between May 22, 2011, and now.
2. The Joplin Globe article that first revealed the problem did not have any mention of people not being allowed to vote. It said that those who do not have the new voter ID cards will probably face some problems. In other words, it is likely it will take longer for them to vote or they may have to cast provisional ballots.
3. It would not do the Democratic Party any good for those voters to be disenfranchised this Tuesday. It is a primary election so it will not have any effect whatsoever on the race between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Election officials now have three months to fix the problem and certainly have incentive to do so, especially since those election officials are Republican in a state where close races are expected for some statewide offices and for a U. S. Senate seat.
4. Don’t think there are any Jasper County Democratic officials who will stand in the way. County Republican primary winners are guaranteed election because no Democrats are running. Nor are there any Democratic officeholders.
All of these things were conveniently overlooked as statewide Republican officials and so far, one national right-wing rabble-rouser (with more undoubtedly to come) sought to capitalize one more time on the Joplin Tornado.