This is getting ridiculous!
Info and rant after the jump...
Michael Silence is now reporting that the previous interpretation that write-in candidates only had to get 5% of the May 2 primary votes in their district to get on the August general election ballot is incorrect. It now appears that write-in candidates must beat the incumbent if there is one, even if the incumbent is ineligible for office (as twelve of them are for county commission). Go read the article and see if you can make heads or tails of it.
What the hell? This is really amateur hour. Much of the confusion seems to be coming down from state election officials, who trickle out opinions way past when they are needed, and the fact that local courts and the Tennessee Supreme court are unwilling to hear challenges and issue rulings so they can be appealed if necessary to decide these issues once and for all.
The Knox County Law Director has recused himself, citing a conflict of interest and saying he can't issue opinions because he represents "all of Knox County Government." The last time I checked, the people are the government. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. Who's representing the people? Herb Moncier? Is Herb Moncier the only guy in town who cares about democracy and free and fair and legitimate local elections?
The newspapers aren't helping. The KNS says "Wait, don't vote. See what develops." What the hell? The only local mainstream newspaper is advocating that voters not vote? The local weekly tabloid issued a bunch of "endorsements", many of which were "vote for the ineligible candidate and let the party pick a replacement." What the hell? Vote for somebody who isn't eligible for office?
The maneuvering and posturing and interpretation of rules all appear to be geared towards maintaining the status quo and letting the party power brokers, not the people, decide who will be on the ballot in August. Instead of taking advantage of term limits finally being enforced twelve years after voters enacted them to shake things up, the local political machine (of which there only appears to be one, really) is still scheming to keep new blood or fresh ideas out of local government and perpetuate the good-old-boy politically connected power structure.
Maybe Knox County needs to get Jimmy Carter and some U.N. election observers in there pronto.
(P.S. Don't blame the Knox County Election Commission entirely. At this point they are caught in the middle and just doing what they are told. A valid concern, however, is that for twelve years they haven't been pressing the term-limits issue to get clear answers on how they were to proceed with putting on a legal and legitimate election. Why do you suppose that is?)
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