By Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and his motley band of
pirates policy wonks - Marissa Madrigal, Karol Collymore & Warren Fish.
Editor's note: The good folks at TPM Muckraker have alerted denizens of the internet tubes that Karl Rove - who will be in Oregon on Friday - has gravely wounded the honor of Oregon's vote-by-mail system, calling out Multnomah County in particular:
On Election Day, I remember, in the city of Portland, Multnomah County -- I'm going to mispronounce the name -- but there were four of voting places in the city, for those of you who don't get the ballots, well, we had to put out 100 lawyers that day in Portland, because we had people showing up with library cards, voting at multiple places.
I mean, why was it that those young people showed up at all four places, showing their library card from one library in the Portland area? I mean, there's a problem with this. ... we need to have procedures in place that allow us to monitor it.
And in the city of Portland, we could not monitor. If somebody showed up at one of those four voting locations, we couldn't monitor whether they had already cast their mail-in ballot or not. And we lost the state by 5,000 votes.
An Open Challenge to Karl Rove, Courtesy of Team Cogen
Dear Sir Rove,
We understand that you will soon be gracing our community with your presence. Alas, we were not invited to join you at your secure, undisclosed location so we’ve taken the liberty of writing you an open letter via: the internet – a tool you have yet to effectively muzzle.
It’s been a long and arduous relationship you’ve put us through. After you cleverly stole the 2000 Florida election, we cursed your name but admired your moxie. When you smeared and outed a public servant, Valerie Plame, the only thing we could hope for was that you'd be brought to justice; sadly, you weren’t. When you orchestrated mass voter fraud in 2004 to save your job, we were infuriated, but felt powerless to stop you. You‘ve been slippery as Teflon for a long time now, but your coating has worn thin and someday soon you’ll get caught up in the sticky slime of your own misdeeds. Despite your crimes against America, we've taken no action against you, working instead to restore Democrats to Congress and laying the groundwork for your replacements.
That changes today, Sir, because you have sullied the honor of the great County of Multnomah.
For that affront, we cannot stand idly by.
You have attacked our community’s honor, claiming that our vote by mail system (admired from sea to shining sea) encourages fraud – a subject about which you are admittedly an expert. You implied that if your lawyers had been able to "monitor" the 2004 elections in Portland, you might have won in our fair State of Oregon. If by "monitor" you mean get rid of vote by mail and move all but one polling place to Klamath Falls, we suspect you'd be right.
But that's not how we do things here, Turd Blossom. Here in the fair County of Multnomah, the people your party has abandoned – the working, the poor, the sick & the dying – have two leisurely weeks to vote against you and your friends. They don't need to take a day off work to stand at a polling station for ten hours. They don't have to make sure they're voting at the right precinct. The citizens of Multnomah County can kick up their feet and have intelligent conversation in their homes about whom and what they will vote for. Can you imagine it, people taking time to make thoughtful choices about their representation?
And for those who haven't received a ballot within a week of the election, they can have their first one voided by requesting another—which will be the only one counted. Oregon’s voter rolls are managed statewide to prevent any duplicate registrations, and the signature on every ballot envelope is verified to match the signature on the registration card.
For a man whose political career has been defined by preventing his opponents from voting – through fear, intimidation, confusion, subterfuge and straight out lying – our system of voting is no doubt quite frustrating.
Tough luck, Karl. Welcome to Oregon.
(Jeff Cogen, Marissa Madrigal, Karol Collymore & Warren Fish)