When I heard the sound of loud drumming on a sleepy Toledo street on a Tuesday afternoon, I knew I had come to the right place. I followed the beat to a garage, where I found a guy in his forties hammering away on a large drum kit. He no longer had the shaggy hair or the leather jacket, but I knew it was Jon Stainbrook, the frenetic former drummer of ‘80s punk band The Stain. In its heyday, The Stain released an album and a couple EPs, and played venues in New York and Hollywood. It had a small group of hard-core fans, although its peak notoriety came from taking more famous bands to court for trademark violations, such as in the case of The Stain v. Staind. To be clear, I am not actually a fan of The Stain, which I had never heard of until a month ago. I had tracked down Stainbrook because he is the most important Republican official in one of the most important counties in Ohio and I needed to ask him some questions about the election.
Ever since Mitt Romney closed the gap in many swing states, it has become clear that the 2012 election could hinge on Ohio. And if the margin there is narrow, scrutiny will fall on the voting process—especially in cities, which contain large African American populations and where accusations of both voter fraud and voter suppression are most intense. Stainbrook sits on the board that oversees elections in Lucas County, which encompasses Toledo and is the fifth-largest county in the state. Should things get messy on Election Day, it will be obscure local officials like him who’ll make key decisions about who gets to vote and who doesn’t.
After drifting away from the music business in the 1990s, Stainbrook rose through the ranks of GOP politics in the county where he grew up, enlisting the help of tattooed, pierced pals from the Toledo club scene to get himself elected chairman of the local GOP. The elections board on which he now serves is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, but over the past year, Stainbrook has carried out something of a coup. He oversaw a personnel purge in the office and installed a sometime girlfriend, Meghan Gallagher, as director. She got the job over the objections of a former Republican elections employee, who alerted the Ohio secretary of state’s office that Gallagher had been arrested in 2002 for allegedly stealing Oxycontin from a patient’s purse in a hospital room. Local Democrats also pointed out that, in 2008, Gallagher had been part of a group of Republicans who filmed voters as they entered polling booths in heavily minority districts—ostensibly to safeguard against voter fraud.
Full Article: The Campaign To Steal Ohio | The New Republic.