Tuesday

Brunner Wins Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

Ohio has something a lot of states don't have. A Secretary of State who does the job right and cares about doing it right. And Ohio voters should appreciate it because the honesty and reliablity of our voting system depends on it.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner was named a recipient of the John F Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award for her brave work in fighting to protect the rights of Ohio voters to an honest and reliable vote count. It is the singular highest award a public servant can obtain in the United States. Only those with courage and committment are ever recognized. Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is one of those.

"Our democracy depends on voter trust. Jennifer Brunner's efforts to earn that trust have made them true profiles in courage," Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late president and head of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said in a statement.

While some states wondered if they had voting problems or what to do about them, Brunner took action. She fought to stop what some euphemistically called "voting irregularities" by ordering that a paper ballot be provided to any voter who requested one during this year's presidential primary. She also has called for the replacement of all of the Ohio's electronic voting systems with paper ballots and optical scan technology before the November 2008 presidential election, in order to assure the integrity of Ohio's voter results.

The electronic voting machines are used in 53 of Ohio's 88 counties and have long raised eyebrows by many independent professionals who questioned how easy it was to hack into the results and modify the vote talley.


Ohioans should be proud to have a Secretary of State who has been willing to fight entrenched local politicians to make sure that Ohio voters' ballots are counted fairly and accurately. We don't want to look like Florida here, folks.


The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage AwardTM in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented in May in celebration of President Kennedy’s May 29th birthday. The Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope.

Brunner has stood up to a lot of criticism from politicians who have enjoyed a free ride in Ohio for years and whose concern for the rights of Ohio voters has not been up to snuff (to say nothing for the integrity and honesty of the voting system itself). What she has proven is that she can stand up to protect the rights of Ohio voters to cast their ballots and to have their ballots counted fairly, accurately, and honestly.

Courage in a public official, to do what is right, ought not to be so rare. But it is. Thank goodness we have Brunner.

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