In yet another example of Republican shenanigans, Knoxville GOP chair Ray Jenkins called for the ouster of Greg MacKay
, the Knox County Election Commissioner.
"I don't hold any personal animus (dislike) toward him at all," Jenkins said. "It's just he's in the wrong party." To rally support among Knox County's Republicans, Jenkins sent a highly charged letter that has ruffled some feathers.
In it, he urged the three G.O.P. election commissioners to open the hiring process, remove Greg Mackay, and start taking resumes from Republicans.
He also took aim at Knoxville-area legislators who appointed the commissioners, calling the process a "secret ballot".
Knoxville-area State Senator Tim Burchett says that's not the case. He says the meeting where commissioners were appointed was open to the public and press.
Still, Jenkins continues his push.
"Elections have consequences. It's time the Republican majority in Nashville and Knox County begin to act like it," Jenkins wrote in the letter. "Also, urge them to ensure that whomever they appoint as Election Commissioners, a Republican must be appointed as the Knox County Administrator of Elections."
Now, it's fine to be partisan during campaigns. But once you enter the voting booth, it is essential that we have people who respect the rule of law - not pursuing partisan interests. We do not need to politicize the selection of election commissioners, and those commissioners should be chosen on the basis of their love for fairness and justice, not for Democrats or Republicans.
This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue. Fair elections are essential to the effectiveness of our democracy. We need to know that every legally-cast vote is counted - and that shouldn't be about partisanship.
In my opinion, the real solution to this is to have a truly bipartisan election commission, with equal numbers of Republican and Democratic commissioners. Those selected should be focused on properly enforcing the law and should do their best not to disenfranchise voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1964 was put in place to ensure that no one is denied their constitutional rights to vote on the basis of discrimination, intimidation, or political pressure. That's not a Democratic or Republican issue - that's an issue of protecting our democracy and the foundations of our Republic.