No overruling the rule of law
Now that election results are in, it may be beating a dead horse, but violations of campaign ethics laws associated with Tuesday’s school bond election are so staggering they bear repeating.
Not only was it improper — as school officials admitted — for yard signs to be distributed from school offices. It also was improper for school officials to seek contributions to pay for them and for the signs themselves to bear no indication of who paid for them.
As an astute reader who lives next door to a school board member pointed out, it also was improper for charitable groups to place signs on property they control, as happened with at least six signs during the campaign.
It further was improper for businesses rather than individuals to contribute cash or in-kind services in printing the signs.
These aren’t obscure rules. They’re regularly publicized by agencies that advise school boards and administrators and by industry groups serving businesses selling political advertising.
Even in small towns, laws are laws. If we don’t like them, we should change them — not ignore them, condemn those who point them out, or regard everything as allowable unless some citizen is willing to mount a costly legal challenge to it.
Let’s hope we do better in future elections. Malfunctioning machines, abused mail-in ballots, and counting irregularities aren’t the only ways in which the voice of the people can be drowned out by those in powerful positions.
— ERIC MEYER
Last modified May 10, 2023