Thursday, January 06, 2011
Conflict of interest, federal employment and election judges
There has been an evolution over the years of conflict of interest for federal employees, particularly with the Hatch Act. Right now, the issue seems to boil down to a ban on partisan activities (including lobbying as we usually understand it, Abramoff-style). But an anomaly may be that federal workers, even retired military or others in part-time federal work, would not be allowed to “volunteer” (for very low pay) as election judges, for which there is a dire shortage in many elections (there’s talk of “drafting” them). That’s because in many states the election judges are considered partisan (and many states have partisan primaries). I’ll look into this further (especially for Virginia). In practice, it seems silly (compared to many other problems discussed on this blog) because election judges have no discretionary authority, they’re just “foot soldiers”, working from 5 AM until midnight on election days.
Picture: No, not Dubai.