Ronald Machen Appoints an Election-Day Officer to Monitor Voting

But is it too little, too late?

By: Harry Jaffe

Federal prosecutor Ronald Machen announced Tuesday morning that he has appointed an “election-day officer” to monitor the voting on November 6 in the nation’s capital.

He might be a tad late.

Machen has tapped assistant US Attorney Loyaan Egal to oversee the “handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses” in DC. Machen said Egal’s assignment will be part of the Department of Justice’s nationwide efforts.

Great idea. The District has not experienced any “hanging chad” type problems in its counting of votes, and most elections in DC are not very close. Incumbents often sail back to office by double-digit margins. Still, we have had problems with changed counts and late reporting.

And this voting cycle could be close between at-large council member Michael Brown and challenger David Grosso. The problem is that Machen and Egal might have missed some serious shenanigans.

The city’s Board of Elections and Ethics fielded reports of questionable finances in Brown’s campaign. On a more serious matter, the board was asked to examine Brown’s petitions for fictitious names. The city’s examiners found problems in the petitions, but not enough to disqualify Brown.

Perhaps Machen and Egal should take another look.