Just when you get the feeling it's a new day around here – that honesty, fairness and transparency actually have fighting chance in the political process – you get this:
My colleague Lee Zurik went poking around in the voter rolls in St. Bernard Parish and discovered dozens, maybe hundreds, of folks who cast ballots last month who shouldn't have.
The bigger rub is that most of them knew it was illegal. At least, they should have; at least two dozen work for the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's and Clerk of Court offices.
You can see Lee's investigation at FOX8live.com
, but to sum it up briefly: Louisiana law states that you vote in the parish where you claim a homestead exemption.
It's very simple, crystal clear.
What's also clear is that a whole bunch of parish employees – and just regular folk – take the exemption in Tammany, Jefferson and elsewhere, but voted last month in St. Bernard.
So.....what to do?
Louisiana law also says if you're going to file a complaint over voting irregularities, you have until nine days after the election.
It's been over three weeks.
The legislature also passed an ordinance after Katrina that gave folks a pass on living in parishes where they vote, and that law doesn't have an expiration date – but it also doesn't specifically give a pass on homestead exemption claims.
So the first and most obvious excuse we're gonna hear about all this is, as the courts like to say: Moot.
What's not moot is that the recent election was tainted, by how much remains a mystery, but by any much is too much.
The vote early, vote often thing isn't funny around here anymore and actually hasn't been for a long, long time.
There's nothing more sacrosanct that the right to register, the right to vote, and the assurance that your vote counts.
Anybody messing with the process is a bad, bad thing; when public officials are the ones tampering with the system, its a defeat for everybody.
Elections are rituals where even the appearance of irregularity is a big deal, and it sure appears that a lot of folks are gaming the system in St. Bernard.
Irregularities; that word. Is it any coincidence that it sounds like digestive bodily functions gone awry?
I know it makes folks who play fair sick to their stomach.