No confidence IIIWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | email@example.com
The revelation of a whistle-blower suit filed against the Lucas County Board of Elections (BOE), combined with walkouts, drama and continuing stumbles, demands intervention from Ohio State Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Before the September primary and again before the November general election, Toledo Free Press urged Husted to end the chaos and establish stability in our local elections process. It is more clear by the day that the four men charged with operating the BOE are incapable of cooperation. The resignation of Director Ben Roberts, who proved incapable of calming the waters under his command, is another straw on a very weary camel’s back.
The whistle-blower suit filed by fired employees Dennis Lange and Kelly Mettler, which provides evidence of what they claim are at least 10 people involved in election and voter fraud, raises many questions.
Why didn’t the BOE further pursue what appears to be an organized effort to rig an election as current BOE member Jon Stainbrook ran for chairman of the county GOP?
Did the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office investigate the well-documented claims provided by Mettler and Lange in 2008 and 2010?
Why, according to the suit, did Husted’s office say it would not get involved in local personnel matters, then ignore the evidence Mettler and Lange provided and break the tie to fire them?
Stainbrook hinted during a Dec. 13 interview with Toledo Free Press that The Blade has known about the whistle-blower lawsuit but has chosen not to report it. The Blade tried to push away from Stainbrook in a Dec. 13 editorial that uses such descriptions as “inept” and contains the unflattering lines, “There is more to being party chairman than photo opportunities with state and national party dignitaries. … Mr. Stainbrook obviously enjoys the power and perks of being party chairman. But he also has to do the heavy lifting that’s necessary to make Republicans relevant in Lucas County.”
The Blade was a primary force in Stainbrook’s ascent, offering glowing profiles and Stainbrook-slanted news, while behind the scenes Stainbrook reportedly used his relationship with The Blade to threaten people in his grab for power. The Blade can try to distance itself now, but its role in creating the current political chaos must not be excused.
Again, we respectfully ask for and urge Husted to dismantle the BOE’s leadership and force a clean slate that can begin to rebuild confidence as we head into a presidential election year.
To repeat: If the Secretary of State’s office does not increase its oversight and guarantee the BOE can run an efficient and honest election, the resulting lack of confidence and potential legal issues will rest squarely on its shoulders. There will be scandal on a scale that makes the usual local political games look like preschool frolics, and Husted will carry direct responsibility.
If the chaos is allowed to continue, the only vote that will be believed is a resounding vote of no confidence in the process.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.