Retail politics and May 8, 2018 election

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What educated voters in Dayton 1-D are getting hand delivered. Click to download PDF

The way you win elections isn’t with :30 second TV spots, yard signs, or facebook ads.

At least that’s not how the most successful campaigns do it anymore.

It’s all data driven, trying to target most likely voters, and deciding who we need to get out and vote. It’s done through personal contact, door knocking, volunteers calling, and endless data collection and analysis.

Or- you ignore all the data, and just realize you have to meet and convince more voters than your opponent and hope.

That only works when you are running for something as small as precinct captain, which, yours truly is.

I’ve got 2 opponents. One has even printed a tri-fold brochure. So I have to out work, out knock, and out talk him.

Which is what I’ve been doing including enough time in the sun yesterday to be told by my mother that I’m sunburned.

I was also preaching the sermon for Darryl Fairchild and to vote yes on Issue 1.

And here are the takeaways:

  • Despite all efforts to clear voter rolls and eliminate old data, there are still some people on the rolls who shouldn’t be (hadn’t voted since the 90’s, dead, house has been torn down).
  • That some homes in my neighborhood have had multiple addresses- and the voter rolls still haven’t been fixed.
  • Party affiliations are often wrong.
  • A ton of “UNC” or unclassified voters- way more than D or R. So no matter how much the two parties think they should rule the roost of the Board of (S)Elections- by the look of things, we’re letting the foxes run the hen house. And many of them are pissed that they can’t vote for me as Precinct Captain and Gary Leitzel for County Commission at the same time.
  • Issue 1- most had no clue it was on the ballot.

What we need more than any ballot reform- is a real voter information system. No one seems to know where to go to find in-depth, relevant information about each candidate and race. If we had a board of elections that took their job seriously, we’d have a better system than what we have now.

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Sample Ballot for Dayton 1-D for a Dem in the May 8, 2018 election (Click to download entire PDF)

For now- if you want to know what your ballot sort of looks like- you can go here and download your personalized ballot.

https://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx

Then you have a choice of party, or issues only, to see what will be on the ballot in your precinct.

You should go, download a ballot, and research every issue, candidate, and try to make a decision long before you go to the polls.

If we’d switch to vote by mail, like Oregon (the State, not the district) did long ago, we could even mail a catalog with equal space for every candidate to summarize their candidacy and provide links to their site, for more information.

If we had a system like that- we could eliminate 90% of campaign ads, mailers, signs and stupidity.

 

 

The return of democracy to the Montgomery County Democratic Party depends on YOU!

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Click to download PDF of my old campaign against the friends and family plan

The idea of free elections, the bedrock of the American democracy, is that the people get to choose their representatives to elected office. We all know that thanks to Citizens United, we’ve turned most elections to federal and state office into auctions, but, local elections were still at least relatively untainted.

That is, unless we’re talking about Montgomery County Ohio, where the two major political parties seem to think the old party boss system is still perfectly OK.

This year, the Montgomery County (Un) Democratic Party is going to elect new precinct captains to fill out the party ranks. Typically, these seats have been filled by “the friends and family” plan. Those who have patronage jobs (working for an elected official- who hires you based mostly for loyalty and payback for helping them get elected- not, on your qualifications) typically fill out the ranks- thereby making sure those who are in power, stay in power.

The crazy thing is that running for precinct captain is the easiest thing to do. You get a petition, you determine your precinct, you get signatures of at least 10 dems in your precinct (you only need 5 good signatures) and turn in your petition by February 7th to the Board of (S)Elections in the Montgomery County Building. Make sure people SIGN their name- and have the correct date, etc.

Then, get a walking list of Dems in your precinct and go make friends. Go door to door- and explain that you believe in open honest party politics where the goal is to elect democrats to office. If you want nice printed material, reach out to me- I’m willing to help get you literature which you can put a sticker on with your name and contact info- so that we can win the party back.

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Darryl Fairchild must have the Democratic Party scared

Why is this so important? Because the current leadership would rather spend resources and money on mailings against “un-endorsed” democrats. See this post: Montgomery County Democratic Party eats its own  The party spent money to mail against a Democrat. A guy so loyal that 4 years ago, he agreed to pull out of a race for Dayton City Commission to wait “his turn.” Considering that this is the party that couldn’t even mount a challenger to Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, one has to wonder what the bar is to be a candidate. It shouldn’t be hard to run against a man who runs a torture chamber posing as a jail.

At the first party meeting post election, I asked to speak and made a speech about how I believe the party is supposed to elect Democrats- not just the friends and family. I called on an accounting of party money spent, without the approval of party membership to mail the smear piece. I made a motion to require a vote to spend party money on anti-democratic mailings. I was rebuffed and lied to, and the motions were voted down.

Mark Owens, our party chair, apparently doesn’t know the difference between vetting a candidate and endorsing one, trying to say the State Party failed to properly vet their last candidate for Governor- Ed Fitzgerald as an excuse for their policy of endorsing in primaries. Reminder- this is the party that supported Clayton Luckie, a State Rep who went to prison for using his campaign money like an ATM.

The party said that AFSCME paid to do the mailing and that I’d find it in the party financial reports posted on the Montgomery County Board of Elections site. I’ve gone and downloaded them. I can’t find the donation- or the expenditures clearly marked. See if you can find them.

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Pre-General 2017 MCDP campaign finance report click to download PDF

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Post General MCDP campaign finance report 2017, PDF click to download

The next primary election could be the turning point. If enough progressive, honest dems take over the Montgomery County Democratic party we can eliminate endorsing in primaries. We can let the people decide who they want to represent them. We can stop the party elite from choosing a Hilary instead of a Bernie for us.

However, it takes the effort of 360 independent minded democrats to pull this off. After the election, the party gets to fill empty seats- with anyone they want, whether or not they live in your precinct. This is how they consolidate power.

It’s time for this to stop. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

It’s time to concentrating on electing democrats- not just the friends and family.

 

 

 

 

Why bother to have elections at all in Montgomery County?

Donald Trump won Montgomery County.

The local democratic party did nothing to win any new seats, and Debbie Lieberman came within 1% of losing to Gary Leitzell, who only spent $6000 and barely campaigned.

No seats changed hands. No republicans were replaced, no incumbents got voted out. Phil Plummer who should be in jail instead of running it- got re-elected.

Mike Turner hasn’t faced a serious opponent since his first race.

The local dems endorsed Ted Strickland from the start as well as Hillary Clinton and we see how that turned out.

We don’t really hold elections here, we just rubber stamp decisions made in back rooms on who should be allowed to run.

UPDATE

an hour after posting: And one other thing happened, without anyone knowing in advance, from Thomas Suddes:

Then there’s the General Assembly. In January, Republicans, led by Speaker Clifford Rosen-berger of Clinton County, will hold 66 of the Ohio House’s 99 seats. That’ll be the biggest House majority either party has held since Ohio went to a 99-member House in 1966 – 50 years ago….

It takes 66 House votes – the number that Rosenberger will have – to pass a bill as an emergency measure. That may seem like inside baseball, but for this: Voters can’t challenge emergency measures in statewide referenda. If Republicans could’ve passed union-busting Senate Bill 5 as an emergency measure, voters couldn’t have killed SB 5 (as they did, resoundingly, in a 2011 referendum).

Source: Ohio Democrats find selves in tough spot

How does labor feel about that? Some labor groups even backed Portman in this election.

In the spring election, be it in May or March (I can’t remember, because they switch it up- and the Board of Elections site is worthless) the democrats will be selecting their new precinct captains and ward leaders. It only takes 5 signatures of registered dems to get on the ballot. It’s long overdue to throw out the stacked deck of patronage job holding precinct captains that keep allowing the Monarchy of Montgomery County to continue with their lame “leadership.”

This is also the year where three seats will come up on the Dayton City Commission- Mayor Whaley, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. The question is who will really try to challenge them. Whaley raised half a million last time so she could raise your taxes, charge you for street lights, and raise your water and trash bill, while buying empty buildings and giving away Garden Station for $10. Williams has repeatedly won more votes than any other candidate, yet has done little but go with the flow. Mims, despite being a former educator, local and state school board educator- has zero problems allowing more tax abatement shortchange Dayton Public Schools.

But, consider everyone in the country who said Congress was broken, worthless and gridlocked, how many seats changed hands?

Case closed.

Database 101 for Board of Elections

In today’s Dayton Daily news, Mike Bock, publisher of www.DaytonOS.com, had a letter to the editor urging Dems to run for precinct captain seats. He also covered it in a few posts on his site:

I’m a precinct captain, elected to Dayton 1-D, but how do I know that? Well, funny you should ask.

I’m supposed to be able to go to this site and look up my voter status and polling location: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm

Unfortunately, the middle name field is required, and I can’t look myself up because I don’t have a middle name.

But, my parents who live across the street do have middle names. I can find my father, Stephen G, but when searching for my mother, Nina B, no such person.

What’s more interesting is according to the county site, they are in Dayton 1-E. I was elected to Dayton 1-D, and when calling the current director, Jan Kelly she confirmed those assignments.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I have a database of all Dayton voters for my campaign- at www.electesrati.com and it has me in 1-D, but I also have a list of the entire county loaded at www.independentdayton.com and that list, downloaded from the Secretary of States site, http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/voter/f?p=111:1 has me in Dayton 1-E and my parents in 1-F.

Stupid question, but isn’t that the core, most essential information maintained by election officials? Shouldn’t something as simple as what precinct you are in be correct?

Screen shot of Ohio Secretary of States voter data for David Esrati showing wrong precinct

The Secretary of State isn’t told the truth, how can you trust our elections officers?

You can look up my voter location by first searching my name at http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx however it’s a 2-step dance, then having to click on my name to see the polling location: which comes up with Dayton 1-E (see screen shot)

I’d show you mine from the county site, but, alas, I can’t see my registration there because I don’t have a middle name.

When I told Director Kelly about the problem with middle names, she said they’d work on it “if they got more complaints.”

Quite frankly, this Board of Elections can’t be trusted to maintain their own website in the first place. When I wrote the first post in this series, they still had election dates for 2013 posted and that was on Jan 12, 2014 (since updated).

Note, there are no tools for candidates to download the “correct” voter data file from Montgomery County on the county site. With a turn-in deadline of Tuesday for petitions, any questions of voting precinct should be ruled null and void at this point, since the data isn’t verifiable or accurate.

An investigation should also be started since this is probably typical of most county board of elections in the State of Ohio- which are run by un-elected political pogues in patronage positions instead of by qualified election professionals. Never mind the fact that in Montgomery County, they are handpicked by the parties- who engage in what amounts to racketeering- filling the lowly precinct captain positions with people who get paid by the politicians they select and elect through illegal closed door “screening committee” meetings.

The integrity of election data is, and should be, one of the most sacred duties of any public servant. Unfortunately, in Montgomery County, and by extension now the State of Ohio, we look like our elections are being run by amateurs.

There are five different “approved” voter database vendors in the State of Ohio. The question is why? The fact that there are discrepancies between the databases in this instance make one question the integrity of all. There are also difference in field naming, data contained within the fields, lacks of easily sourced data keys (for non-party people trying to utilize this data) and different data maintained by state and local boards. Examples including how election dates are maintained (Montgomery county uses a letter P, S, G and a date 140506 while the State uses the much less cryptic format 05/06/14). The County uses the most arcane, and technically inept way of indicating if someone voted early, absentee or at the polls- using a lower case or capital letter in the election field- something most databases can’t sort on (capitalization) instead of a separate searchable field.

I could go on to point out that I still have a real question of how when sending out postcards to people who requested an absentee ballot via mail, or voted early (can’t tell the difference thanks to their data format) I get returns of first class mail to those voters- saying “undeliverable” – yet they vote.

My confidence in the entire voter registration, Montgomery County Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of state’s office is nil. I’m currently awaiting a call back from the SOS office, about my latest findings. If you need a visual, here it is:

 

Screenshots of same voter, from two different precints.

My father votes in the same place, but the precinct name changes

The Democrats who chose Strahorn to run for Luckie’s seat

Sunday afternoon I was one of the Democratic Party Central committee tasked with picking a replacement for Clayton Luckie for the Ohio 39th House seat, in light of his current ethics investigation and voluntary withdrawal from the race.

The district is reportedly one of the most Democratic leaning in the State, meaning whomever we picked, they were almost guaranteed a win. The opponent they will face is Jeff Wellbaum (two l’s), a first time candidate for the Republicans. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are two Jeff’s with almost the same name- the other is Welbaum (one 1) is a Republican running for the second district court of appeals.

Even with confusion, Jeff Wellbaum, an Iraq war vet, won’t stand a chance. His Facebook page has all of 29 likes.

So, the decision on Sunday was really about who would be the next State representative, being decided in the main meeting room of Montgomery County Democratic HQ. Procedure was stumbled through, but Victor Harris had one central committee member nominate him, and I may have been the second. I believe in choice- always have.

Vic, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col., had made waves with the party 4 years ago, running against their chosen one, Roland Winburn in the 39th and taking about 40% in the primary. Harris had flyers on all the chairs introducing himself with a brief bio and a list of what he’d work for.

If you need to hand members of the Montgomery County Democratic Party a bio, you can already forget it- they go with who they know. Harris told us the reason we should vote for him is so that Fred Strahorn could concentrate on winning the 5th Senate seat back that he lost 2 years ago. He also mentioned he was a cousin of Clayton Luckie (who has a reputation for having a family so big that just their votes are enough to get him elected).

Harris had already made a fool of himself to me by listing “Will fight to bring back the Wright Brother’s boy-hood (sic) and bike shop from the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan to where it belongs in the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood in Dayton.”

Wow, Vic, really? That’s more important than school funding reform and updating the laws put in place by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785?

After their 5 minute speeches, questions were allowed from the floor, I threw out three relative softies, while a few others made one minute speeches in support of Strahorn, including one from former rep and senator Tom Roberts who had picked Strahorn as his successor.

I believed we should hear what the candidates reasons were for running, what they were doing now and how much time they will be able to commit to the race and finally- a harder question on what they would do to address the real issues (stated above). Strahorn shined in his response. Harris didn’t.

There are about 69 precincts in the 39th, the party called me twice, mailed me once and dropped a flyer at my door. They made a solid effort to get the precinct chairs to the meeting. A quorum was 39, they had 41.

When it came time for the vote:

Fred Strahorn was selected as the Ohio House candidate for the 39th District after a vote of 41-1 at the Montgomery County Democratic headquarters on Sunday.

via Democrats choose Strahorn to run for Luckie’s seat | www.daytondailynews.com.

And no, I wasn’t the one person voting for Victor.

Not that these were ideal conditions, with the short time-frame to pick a replacement for the ballot, but all in all, the process was the most democratic thing I’ve seen in a while from the MCDP. The doors were open, the cameras were rolling, the only question is who are the people who are voting. There is no list on the Dem party site- and the tool they have (which is new) has my house in Precinct 1-D and my precinct Captain as Joan Wagner (wife of A.J. Wagner) but I’m the captain of 1-E (not). Maybe I wasn’t qualified to vote after all? Despite having a certificate of election.

From looking around the room, the decision of who to hand this seat over to was made by quite a few elected politicians, people with patronage jobs and retired folks. Not exactly a cross section of our community. I’m not suggesting that there is a better way, but, realistically, it’s a pretty tight knit group. I doubt that the party would have felt a need to rig the room, but, I’m not sure how anyone would check.

I’m sure that Fred Strahorn was the most qualified candidate they could field, and as someone who also knows Jeff Wellbaum, Fred is the right man for the job. Fred learned some humility after his defeat by Bill Beagle two years ago- it was Fred’s first real contested race. This time, he won’t take things for granted even though he has once again been given a hall pass to the halls of our state government.