A Friend of Unfair Park writes: He's heard whispers of a protest planned for 3:30 tomorrow at the Dallas County Administration Building, where the County Election Commission will meet for the first time in more than two decades. The reason, of course, is the departure of Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet, who resigned yesterday following Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins's decision to call the meeting without so much as giving Sherbet a heads-up. As we noted yesterday, word is Jenkins did so at the insistence of Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who wants to replace Sherbet with Toni Pippins-Poole, the county's longtime assistant elections administrator.
Darlene Ewing, head of the Dallas County Democratic Party, tells Unfair Park this afternoon: Absolutely there's a protest planned.
Matter of fact, she says, "It may be one of the first bipartisan events in Dallas County in a long time. The Republicans are staging a protest. The Tea Party is too, but they never miss an opportunity to protest. And I know some Democrats are protesting too. Should have an interesting crowd. Maybe we need to have someone cater it."
(I spoke with Sherbet a little while ago, not long after he turned in his formal letter of resignation, and he said he knew nothing at all about the planned protest.)
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Right now, the meeting's still scheduled, according to Dallas County Clerk John Warren, who tells Unfair Park he will deliver to the commission e-mails he's received protesting the treatment of Sherbet. Ewing says she too has received a number of e-mails in which "people are lobbying for Bruce to change his mind. But I doubt he will. That's why the focus of tomorrow's meeting should be: What next?"
But Jonathan Neerman, head of the Dallas County Republican Party, is concerned Jenkins will cancel at the last minute. "Because who's gonna hold him accountable?" Neerman says.
Neerman and Ewing say they will demand the county start a national search for a new elections administrator. Says Ewing, "I have no problems with Toni, but I would at least like to see who else is out there. This is a plum job. We're one of the largest counties in the nation, after all."
To which Neerman adds: "Bruce has very big shoes to fill. We already had the best, but we deserve to have the second best, and that means a nationwide search. Unfortunately for Toni, because of how this whole thing has fallen apart, there will be many election workers who will not give her the benefit of the doubt when there are allegations of voter fraud, voter misconduct or electioneering at the polls."