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Voter Beware: It's Election Day, and I can't stop thinking of John Kennedy O'Hara, whose sad and bizarre tale in the polling places and the courtrooms of New York ought to be a warning to all Americans.

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Posted by GET NY on 12:23:58 11/09/05

A Cautionary Tale for Election Day
Voter Beware

By JIM McGRATH

Counterpunch
November 8, 2005

It's Election Day, and I can't stop thinking of John Kennedy O'Hara, whose sad and bizarre tale in the polling places and the courtrooms of New York ought to be a warning to all Americans. His story is simple: O'Hara, who grew up and lives still in Brooklyn, New York, was a good citizen. He voted in every election he was eligible to vote in since the age of 18 - it was a point of pride for a once geeky civics student who when he was just 11 years old handed out fliers for George McGovern - and as a young man he tried to run for office, tried to better the system. Five times he ran unsuccessfully, for the New York city council and the New York state Assembly. As thanks for his effort, the earnest kid became, on the cusp of middle age, a disbarred attorney and convicted felon, an official second-class citizen whose future had been seemingly forever darkened. And the decade-long prosecution in the case of the People vs. John O'Hara now has some chilling ramifications for each of the 11 million or so people eligible to vote today across New York. It means they, like O'Hara, could face felony prosecution for stepping into a voting booth. In fact, anyone who might vote anywhere in the United States today could find themselves with a prosecutor on their tail.

. . .

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