Publisher’s Note: We’d like to welcome Abe (aka Grumpy Abe) to the site. After following his site for some time now we finally convinced him to contribute some original pieces to Plunderbund while maintaining his personal blog. Welcome Abe!
The Republican plan to shrink the number of voters in November has spun off a bristling side show at the Summit County Board of Elections. The two GOP board members headed by County Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff have added to their growing list of nasty deadlocks by turning down a Democratic proposal to move early voting to a larger venue from the Board of Elections to a former HHGregg store that’s now vacant.
The two Republicans have countered by proposing a move to, of all places, the empty second floor of the Akron Beacon Journal. Nothing could more discourage an early voter. The second floor can be reached two ways – by a lone elevator or by scaling steps. Even then, a visitor would have to pass through the paper’s own security at the entrance. When I asked a person at the BJ about such logistics, I was told “it’s still being worked out”. To make voting more prohibitive, parking is scarce around the downtown building.
Early Summit voters are projected by election officials to reach upward of 25,000.
None of these concerns has forced a retreat by Arshinkoff and his partner, Ray Weber. So once again another issue has been sent to Secretary of State Jon Husted for a ruling. In the past, Husted has found the chairman to be quite charitable. The chairman, who decided Husted would be a good investment, generously decided to drop $150,000 of party money into Husted’s campaign coffers. He apparently anticipated there would be days llke this.
Deadlocks are nothing new in the wake of Arshinkoff’s stonewalling. They include a dispute over how many visitors should be allowed to address the board. There were five ties at the most recent July meeting. It’s no secret that Arshinkoff, who has been the party chairman since 1978, and County Democratic chairman Wayne Jones viscerally detest each other from their ongoing clashes. Arshinkoff is still trying to draw blood after former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner refused to reappoint him to the seat in 2008. She acted on complaints that the mercurial chairman had “berated staff and created a hostile work environment in which board employees have endured coercion if not outright threats”.
He was reappointed to the board with the return of Republican control at the state level. Estranged Republicans have tried to kick him out, but their efforts have been so inept that he is likely to serve as chairman and board member in perpetuity.