The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 April 2005

Man Calls Voters With 'Foreign' Names

Strange Seattle Times Editorial
Why Such A Focus On One Crazy Man?

Even though the Seattle Times Editorial Board is careful to show that the Washington State Republican Party has denounced this obviously crazy Soap Lake man, one has to wonder why today's editorial opinion was even written:

(Seattle Times Editorial- 5 April 2005)

Martin Ringhofer of Soap Lake has challenged voting credentials of 1,668 people in 12 counties based on the sound of their name. "The challenge of voters who may not be citizens is based on listing individuals whose first, middle and last name have no basis in the English language," he said. The effect is hideous racial and ethnic profiling and needless disruption of the lives of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

The law allows a citizen to question credentials of another voter, but the challenger also must provide personal knowledge that the other person should not be allowed to vote. It should not be a wild guess — a fair description of Ringhofer's evidence so far.

Ringhofer has cast a ridiculously wide net in a fishing expedition that leaves county auditors and voters to reconcile later.

Ringhofer asked election officials to review voting credentials of voters in King, Spokane, Grant, Adams, Yakima and other counties, because their names "appear to be from outside the United States." Ringhofer targets voters with names that are Hispanic and Asian but also Russian and Ukranian.

Ringhofer, who voted for Dino Rossi for governor, appears to be acting alone. State Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance condemned, and distanced himself from, this misguided campaign.

Why is Seattle's largest paper thundering about one crank, from outside the paper's readership area, on his own lonely crusade?

Even though they point out the party doesn't support his actions, aren't they really using this man's inappropriate behavior to smear all Republicans and conservatives? Otherwise, why write about it at all?

Isn't Ringhofer really engaging in a harassment campaign, anyway? Why not have him arrested if he is acting, as the paper suggests, outside the law? If I received such a call, I would file a complaint with the authorities, wouldn't you?

If a Democrat were to engage in this kind of behavior, would we see an editorial of this nature? If this was part of a group effort, with a number of volunteers or the party behind it, then I could see this type of objection warranted.

Otherwise, it simply appears to be the Seattle Times up to no good, yet again.


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