November 25, 2008

Tim Robbins & NYC's Katherine Harris, a/k/a Marcus Cederqvist

Tim Robbins was put through the paces on election day, and here is his follow up letter to the Board of Elections in our "liberal" NYC. In spite of anticipating problems and being prepared, he STILL suffered the indignity of having to prove just how determined he was to place his vote, no matter what obstacles were placed in his way. How many others gave up? Here's Tim's letter via OpEd News:
Mr. Gregory C. Soumas
Board of Elections, City of New York
Executive Office
32 Broadway
New York, NY 10004-1609
November 17, 2008
Dear Mr. Soumas:
I would like to publicly apologize for being such a dim-witted dilettante on Election Day. I was under the naïve assumption that I could vote where I voted in the last two elections. Your thoughtful letter pointed out that if I had voted in the recent primary election in September I would have discovered that I was no longer registered in the polling place I have voted in since 2004. Considering your position at the Board of Elections and your deep respect for the democratic process I must assume that my local 14th St. poll worker, Betty J. Williamson's assertion that my name was on the active voter rolls for the primary in September of this year was erroneous and that she must be as confused and wrongheaded as I am. If Ms. Williamson saw my name in the book in September that would mean that you are lying. Certainly you wouldn't lie about a thing like that. That is unbecoming of a man of your bureaucratic stature. And why would anyone in the Board of Elections be eliminating legitimate voters from the rolls in late September and October of 2008? That's just crazy and un-democratic.
I should also apologize for the misguided actions of Justice Paul G. Feinman in issuing a court order on Election Day allowing me to vote on 14th St. He apparently thought that a printed out record from your own Board of Elections computer verifying my polling place as 14th St was justification for issuing the court order. If he had only thought to contact you, you could have helped him understand the logic and wisdom of eliminating my name from the book on 14th St. where I have always voted and leaving my name registered at a place I have never voted.
I must also thank you for sending your letter not to me but to all the major newspapers in the New York area and across the internet. [my bold] I understand it was your way of clearing up this matter and for that I am grateful. I am particularly appreciative of your sending a copy of my voter registration card with my home address and driver's license number to all the newspapers and, by extension, to millions across the internet. [my bold] What celebrity dilettante wouldn't want his private information made public? What kind of snob gets angry that his family's safety might be compromised? It comes with the territory, right?
I was thinking of returning that favor by publishing your home address in this letter but then I thought that maybe one of the thousands of New Yorkers that were taken off the voter rolls in the last two months might not understand what a patriotic upstanding man you are and might show up at your doorstep with the misguided assumption that you are a petty vindictive corrupt scumbag.
Tim Robbins
New Yorker since 1961
Voter since 1976
P.S. If anyone reading this letter had a similar experience on Election Day it can and should be reported at
cc: Commissioners of Elections
Marcus Cederqvist, Executive Director
George Gonzalez, Deputy Executive Director
Pamela Perkins, Administrative Manager
Beth Fossella, Coordinator, Voter Registration
Steven H. Richman, General Counsel
Troy Johnson, Chief Clerk
Timothy Gay, Deputy Chief Clerk
After more searching it's starting to look like there was another hand behind Tim's problems. Last year the NY Times reported about the next darling of NYC's repuglican party, also the executive director of the Board of Elections:

Gearing Up for the Big Countdown
Published: February 1, 2008

Marcus Cederqvist: The man in the shadows
A DEFINITE contender for the title of Most Precocious Republican in New York City, Marcus Cederqvist, at 37 the baby-faced new executive director of the Board of Elections, is gearing up for his debut as the city’s chief vote counter for Tuesday’s New York presidential primary.
[...] Cederqvist is currently executive director of the Manhattan Republican Committee. He will succeed fellow Manhattan Republican John Ravitz, who left in October. The election board's commissioners are appointed by their respective county political bosses.
[…] Mr. Cederqvist is responsible for monitoring the city’s 1,363 polling stations on Tuesday and supplying them with some 6,300 voting machines — yes, the clunky but dependable Shoup lever machines that must all be replaced by modern, voter-friendly machines in time for the 2009 mayoral election.
But public service is old hat. He got his start while a student at the University of Rochester by volunteering for Charles Millard’s 1991 campaign for the New York City Council. He then had a summer internship with State Senator Roy M. Goodman in 1992, after which he coordinated the successful City Council campaign of Andrew S. Eristoff in 1993. By age 25, he was elected Republican leader of the 65th District on the East Side, and he went on to serve as Mr. Eristoff’s chief of staff until 1999.
“Granted, this is a partisan agency,” he says about the board of 10 commissioners: a Democrat and a Republican from each borough, a recipe that he is convinced ensures checks and balances. He is a true-blue Republican — “Better make that true red,” he corrects, with a rare giggle — whose fascination with the party began as a Manhattan teenager improbably attuned to the oratory of Ronald Reagan. But the board’s deputy director and its administrative manager are both Democrats. Hurrah for partisan parity.
“What everyone here is interested in, and what everyone truly wants, is a fair election,” he insists, waving a yellow pencil like a baton. “There isn’t really a Republican or a Democratic way to run an election; there’s just a right way. No, really! [Really? Are you protesting too much?] Here in this role, my job is very specifically to count votes, not influence them. That’s the only game I’m involved in now. The Board of Elections is kind of like the boiler in your house: It’s something you don’t think about much, but as long as it chugs along and keeps you warm, it’s doing its job.” He frets that the analogy sounds dumb.
[…] “I’VE been unbelievably busy,” [my bold, & you betcha!] he reiterates. He has even, because protocol demanded it, already voted (he won’t say for whom, but his palpable disappointment, and fleeting pout, at the news of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s withdrawal is a telltale sign). Mr. Cederqvist, before being named to this post, spent six years as executive director of the New York Republican County Committee. Making it a computer-savvy and candidate-rich organization was his mission. [...]
BTW: Mr. Robbins, I'm very happy to give these civil servants more than one Google entry!

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