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Dennis DiMarco, vice president of the Jefferson Parish Finance Authority board, on Oct. 27, 2016. 

Let's not kid ourselves. For all our high-minded talk about level playing fields, we often struggle in this country to meet that goal. Yet one place where we really are supposed to be treated the same is at the voting booth.

Yes, that ideal's been challenged in various states lately, where political maneuvering has made it harder for some to exercise their rights, and thankfully we haven't faced those issues here in Louisiana.

But I think everyone at least understands the underlying principle. No matter who you are and who you know, you get one vote. You show up at the same place as everyone else, and follow the same procedure. If there's a line, you wait it in, no matter who you are. In theory, voting is a great equalizer.

Unless, it turns out, you know the right people in Jefferson Parish.

The recent discovery that Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco kept a separate voting machine in his conference room during early voting would offend any reasonable person's sense of fair play and equal access. So did DiMarco's initially stated justification, that there are some people whose time, "for lack of a better term, is more valuable than others."

DiMarco listed first-responders and emergency surgeons as potential members of that supposedly special class. But shockingly — or not — a list obtained by WWL-TV of the 65 people who used the private machine before Secretary of State Tom Schedler seized it included insiders such as Parish Chief Operating Officer Keith Conley, State Rep. Cameron Henry, Finance Authority Director Terry McCarthy and Housing Authority Chairman Jimmy Lawson.

Now that the gig's up, all these busy, busy people will have to wait in line along with everyone else the next time an election comes around.

Maybe they can use the extra time to think about how democracy's supposed to work in the first place.


Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.