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Should Nakagiri use people’s voting records and misinformation in appointments?

The chair of the Livingston County Commission is attempting to use voting records to impose a new political litmus test on appointments that could have far-reaching implications.

Wes Nakagiri recently tried to deny a seat on a county board to a Livingston County resident because she had once voted in a Democratic presidential primary.


Nakagiri claimed that Stacy Farrell’s vote made her part of an extreme minority whose views were out of the mainstream in Livingston County, and therefore she did not belong on the Human Services Collaborative Body.

Nakagiri, who often uses statistics out of context, pointed out that only 27,458 Livingston County residents voted in the 2020 presidential primary, and that represented only 18.01 percent of the 152,000 registered voters in Livingston County.


First of all, he neglected to mention that Farrell had voted in the Republican primary in 2016, a dishonest omission.


Furthermore, while he is correct that county elections records show that 27,458 people voted in that primary, he forgot to mention that figure is 50 percent MORE than the 18,982 who voted in the Republican primary. Based on those vote totals, it can be argued that Nakagiri, who voted in three Republican presidential primaries, is the one who is out of step with voters.


Nakagiri has misused statistics before, but this time it was in pursuit of an agenda that has moved from merely bullying his political opponents to using the power of government to retaliate against them for exercising their freedom to vote.


At the recent county commission meeting, there were signs that this retaliation won’t stop with Farrell’s appointment. During the call to the public, one speaker pointed out that the acting health director, Matt Bolang, also voted in the Democratic primary.


Should we expect that if Nakagiri remains in power, anyone who applies for a county board, a job, or a county service will have their voting records examined? Will veterans be denied services because of which presidential primary they voted in? Will EMS wait to check a caller’s voting record before deciding whether to send help? Should department heads fear for their jobs if they aren’t sufficiently Trumpian?


Where will the litmus tests stop?


A majority of the board finally stood up to Nakagiri on this issue and voted to appoint Farrell to the Human Services Collaborative Body. But three of those were lame ducks who will be gone from the board soon.


If Nakagiri has his way, the litmus tests won’t stop. He will continue to move from bullying to retaliation to suppression.


Voters have a chance to stop this by voting for Democratic candidates for county commission on Nov. 8.


 

Judy Daubenmeier

Chair of the LCD

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