Butler County in southwest Ohio is the most Republican county of all Ohio's 88 counties. 26 county offices and none of them are held by Democrats. Yet, the strangest thing happened on Tuesday... the Butler County Democratic Party increased in registered members by over 200% and now has more registered members than the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton won this county in the Democratic Primary by 10%.
Barack Obama won only 5 out of 88 counties in Ohio and those counties were the ones where Democrats are abundant. Yet Hillary Clinton won the state by only 10%. I have been told directly by Republicans here in Ohio that they voted for Hillary for the express purpose to either cause a split convention or to get her nominated because they know she is the weakest candidate against John McCain. To a person they will all be returning to voting Republican in the general election. To a judge monitoring the elections, Marilyn Hatfield, numerous Republicans taking a Democratic ballot said they were voting for Hillary "because of that thing Rush said." (Source: Hamilton Journal News, 3-6-08)
If one knows Butler County as I do, having run a campaign here and worked on campaigns my entire life, they will know that the city of Fairfield and West Chester and those surrounding areas are the staunchest strongholds of Republican voters in the county. This is where the farce of Republicans destroying a Democratic primary becomes obvious. These Republican strongholds are colored nearly totally blue, indicating that more voters took Democratic ballots than Republican ones. Since Clinton won Butler County by 10% it can safely be concluded that the majority of Republicans voted for her.
One has to ask himself "Why would a Republican, someone that hates Hillary Clinton from her years as First Lady to perhaps the most polarizing president of the modern era, vote for her?" You needn't wait long for an answer. Republicans have supplied plenty. She is the weakest candidate, they want to vote against her in the general election and need to make sure she'll be there and conservative media moguls told them to.
The law in Ohio, the Ohio Revised Code, is very clear on what Republicans have done. ORC 3513.20 says:
Before any challenged person shall be allowed to vote at a primary election , the person shall make a statement, under penalty of election falsification, before one of the precinct officials, blanks for which shall be furnished by the board of elections, giving name, age, residence, length of residence in the precinct, county, and state; stating that the person desires to be affiliated with and supports the principles of the political party whose ballot the person desires to vote; and giving all other facts necessary to determine whether the person is entitled to vote in that primary election. The statement shall be returned to the office of the board with the pollbooks and tally sheets . . . .
3599.36 Election falsification reads:
No person, either orally or in writing, on oath lawfully administered or in a statement made under penalty of election falsification, shall knowingly state a falsehood as to a material matter relating to an election in a proceeding before a court, tribunal, or election official, or in a matter in relation to which an oath or statement under penalty of election falsification is authorized by law, including a statement required for verifying or filing any declaration of candidacy, declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate, nominating petition, or other petition presented to or filed with the secretary of state, a board of elections, or any other public office for the purpose of becoming a candidate for any elective office, including the office of a political party, for the purpose of submitting a question or issue to the electors at an election, or for the purpose of forming a political party.
Whoever violates this section is guilty of election falsification, a felony of the fifth degree.
A person that commits election falsification can face six to twelve months in prison as well as a $2,500 fine according to Ohio sentencing guidelines (Source: http://www.clelaw.lib.oh.us/Public/Misc/FAQs/Sentencing.html)
The greater question is, what are we as Democrats going to do about this? Are we going to prevent Republicans from flooding the last few primaries and trying to nominate our weakest candidate? Are we going to tolerate Republicans disenfranchising voters of Barack Obama and openly admitting to committing election fraud in Ohio? Are we going to allow the Republicans to game our system and stack the deck in their own favor politically by choosing the Democratic nominee? The answers to these questions will answer whether this party is able, whether it is even fit, to win the White House this year. A party that allows its opponents to choose its nominee and openly laugh about it cannot be an effective governing party.
I'd like to thank Jeff Long for being a consultant and helping me research this article. It couldn't have come to fruition without his help.