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TN Senate Moves To Void Ford Sister’s Election

More from the annals of Democracy, courtesy of the DNC’s Associated Press:

Tenn. Senate Nears Voiding Election

By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II
Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Senate took a major step toward voiding a disputed special election that was narrowly won last fall by the sister of an indicted former senator.

Meeting as a special committee Tuesday, the Senate voted 17-14 in favor of a resolution that would nullify Ophelia Ford’s special election victory. Another vote is scheduled Thursday on the Senate floor.

According to the state attorney general, the Senate needs only a majority of its 33 votes to void the election.

Ford decried the move Tuesday as a racist power grab by the Republican Party and hinted at a possible lawsuit.

"It’s been a Democratic seat for many, many years," Ford said. "I’m black,it’s an 85 percent black vote in that district. It’s about racism, it’s about Jim Crowism and we’re going to let the federal courts decide."

Ford’s brother John Ford had held the seat until his arrest last year on federal corruption charges. Ophelia Ford received 4,333 votes to Republican challenger Terry Roland’s 4,320.

Roland’s attorneys say they have identified 146 questionable ballots, and state Election Coordinator Brook Thompson has confirmed that at least six votes should not have counted – two of them cast in the name of deceased voters. Ford hasn’t been accused of wrong-doing in the vote fraud.

"This is not about personality or who was running on either side," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Ron Ramsey, who sponsored the resolution. "It’s about the process, the integrity of the ballot box."

Tennessee lawmakers are in the midst of a special legislative session on ethics to try to repair the General Assembly’s reputation following an FBI sting operation that led to bribery charges last year against five current and former legislators.

If the election is voided, it will be up to the Shelby County Commission to appoint an interim senator until a new election can be held.

Of course the fantastically corrupt Ford family in Tennessee is the baleful outcome of years of gerrymandering — where voting districts are contorted to conform to racial or tribal lines. In fact, it is almost a textbook example of gerrymandering.

Behold this map which shows how Shelby County is carved up into Senate Districts. The gray area is Ford’s district:

 

Compare and contrast that creative carving with the original depiction of the dreaded gerrymander:

The image “http://research.umbc.edu/~nmiller/POLI100/GERRYMANDER.JPG” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Printed in 1812, this political cartoon illustrates the electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the incumbent Democratic-Republican party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The cartoon depicts the bizarre shape of one district as a salamander, from which the term gerrymander is derived.

Not content with simple gerrymandering, this election of Ford’s sister adds the truly bizarre tradition of electing a candidate to replace a departed office holder, simply because they are a relative.

That is surely a dangerously pernicious custom. Look how it gave us Hillary.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, January 18th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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