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John Kerry’s Democracy

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The Kerry campaign has told some people not to bother trying to get elected delegates for the Senator in Ohio’s post-primary caucus (warning: link requires a real pain in the butt registration process):

Brennan Lafferty still isn’t sure what happened to him on the way to the Ohio Democratic post-primary caucus. All he knows is that one minute he was a delegate candidate and the next moment he wasn’t.

Lafferty, 33, of Kent was one of several people whose names were removed from the ballot April 15 to select the remaining members of the Ohio delegation to the Democratic National Convention this July in Boston.

“It is very disappointing… I wasn’t really involved in politics before, but this time I thought I had to be,” said Lafferty, a reporter for a local business publication.

Lafferty said he received an e-mail just before the post-primary caucus informing him that he was being eliminated from consideration.

“The e-mail didn’t give an explanation. I was later told that it was the (Sen. John) Kerry campaign that decided to have me removed,” continued Lafferty, who said he feels “duped.”

And he wasn’t the only one. Another candidate worked hard to gather supporters to vote for her, only to discover on polling day that she wasn’t on the ballot:

Chanille Boyd, 27, a social work student at the University of Akron, didn’t get her name on the delegate ballot either, despite filling out her application weeks before the April 7 deadline.

“I went to the Summit County Democratic headquarters to file my application,” said Boyd, who had hoped to represent the 13th Congressional District at the Boston convention.

Boyd said she later called to follow up on the status of her application and was assured everything was fine and that her name would be on the ballot.

“I had gotten several people together, including my mother, to vote for me at the caucus at Litchfield Middle School,” she said. However, when she and her entourage arrived at Litchfield, she discovered her name was missing.

“I’m still following up, trying to find out some answers. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else,” said a disappointed Boyd.

Officials of the Ohio Democratic Party aren’t happy with the situation. Their spokesman told the Akron Beacon Journal that it was the Kerry campaign who struck delegates from the ballot and that the Ohio party fought for their right to remain:

Our goal is to be open and inclusive. If people want to run, we are all for it,” he said.

So why is John Kerry denying people the chance to participate in the Ohio primary process?

Jim Ruvolo, Kerry’s Ohio campaign manager, offered a partial explanation.

He said the delegate ballots were reworked in some districts to ensure that the Ohio Democratic Party’s affirmative-action goals were met.

He said the delegate candidate list was “pared down” to get the required number of minorities and women.

The state party has set a goal of 35 slots for African-Americans, four for Hispanics, three for Asian-Pacific Americans, 10 for lesbians and gay men and six for young Democrats (ages 18 to 35).

“The goal is to have the delegation look like Ohio,” Roeder said.

Here’s an idea for the Kerry campaign. Apply the same principle to themselves. Take Kerry off the ballot and replace him with Al Sharpton.

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  • Chanille Boyd

    Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to speak with anyone from Kerry’s campaign. If I did, I would have informed them that I am an African-American female who also fits into the category of Young Democrats….Hmmm??? I am interested in learning more about our nations’ laws and the political process and that is why I signed (or tried to) up to be a delegate. I learned a tremendous amount from that experience. I discovered that a local politican and his camp (who has been to several National Conventions previously) were “selected” to attend. I do understand his role in the community and how important it is, but I was just interested in trying to bring a whole new sector of young voters to the polls and to possibly educate them on how important voting is and as citizens, how it affects everything we do. In conclusion, I just want to clarify that I was not upset about the fact that I was not chosen to attend the DNC, but that after I followed all the proper procedures and protocols, my name was not even included on the ballot. No one even tried to give me any kind of explanation or answer my questions until after I spoke with my State Representative(who was in attendance at the caucus) along with the local newspaper. Thank you.