Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Absentee Ballot Controversy in Jeffersonville and Clarksville

HARBESON: No absence of malice here

SELLERSBURG — After an election consultant, hired by various campaigns in Jeffersonville and Clarksville, was indicted by a Jennings County grand jury on charges related to absentee voter fraud, local campaign officials involved with him have been scrambling to defend their own campaigns in very colorful ways.

For example, while expounding on the intricacies of indictment compared to conviction, one local politician from Jeffersonville said, “You can take a grand jury and get indicted on the color of your lipstick if they want to do that.”

Wow, I was completely unaware of this. I thought grand jury indictments were only for felony charges, not for fashion faux pas.

I had no idea choosing the color of lipstick could make me susceptible to grand jury indictment. I’m glad now that I passed on that great two-for-one offer the other day for a special shade of glossy lipstick called “Smoky Purple Passion Temptress.”

Wearing that is an indictable offense for sure.

I wonder if the release of this information has anything to do with the reason why Clark County has experienced a much larger amount of absentee ballot requests for this municipal election.

Think about it. If a lipstick-loving voter is afraid of possible indictment, what would she (or he, I’m not going to be sexist about this) do about voting? These voters certainly won’t want to risk heading out to the voting booth all gussied up.

On the other hand, they certainly wouldn’t want to be seen in public with naked, pale, dry lips. So the obvious solution to this dilemma is absentee voting.

If this lipstick issue isn’t disturbing enough, a county political party official also made an interesting statement when talking about voter fraud accusations. He said this kind of thing happens all the time, “It’s like farting in an elevator and blaming it on the guy next to you.”

I guess that explains why politics stinks so badly. I’m wondering though — do such activities really happen that often? I have no idea. All I know is that the next time I’m unlucky enough to have to enter a government building, I’m taking the stairs.

A PAC named The Clarksville Democrat Town Committee also hired this guy. Should residents be concerned? Not according to one incumbent candidate — he dismissed any allegations as “political mumbo jumbo.”

I like that phrase. As a matter of fact, if I was an election consultant, I’d recommend using it for their next fundraising dinner so they could serve up some “political mumbo jumbo gumbo.”

No need to pay me for that idea, candidates — I know you can use the money since local campaigns spend tens of thousands of dollars to solicit absentee votes. I’m sure you are spending that much money for pure civic responsibility reasons.

I do have a question though. If lots of absentee voting is due to this form of active solicitation, how knowledgeable are these voters about the individual campaigns and issues in question? It just seems odd that political campaigns work that hard to actively recruit the ignorant.

This recent scandal has brought out calls for reform of absentee voter laws. These people want you to believe that more legislation can fix the problem. The laws are just not written “correctly” and all that’s needed is some tweaking. I’m not so sure — after all, voting is just another government-run program.

Rewriting legislation in an attempt to avoid corruption and abuse is merely putting another coat of possibly indictment-inducing lipstick on the system. It won’t hide the ugly truth that voting is the method of gaining power and control over other people using government force.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson says that from now on she’ll be wearing clear lip gloss when she leaves home, just to be safe.

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