The more I study the office of County Clerk, the more I realize the importance of the department and how it affects our daily lives both directly and indirectly.
You see, the office is more than performing marriages or routine distribution of fishing licenses. The County Clerk must prepare budget estimations for the operations of the office, courts and elections. In addition, the County Clerk must budget for out of county court expenses due to change of venue. It is imperative to have a clerk which both understands budgets and is fiscally responsible.
The Clerk must possess excellent administrative ability as the Clerk is responsible for receipts of and payment of all support monies for dependants. The Clerk files and maintains birth records, administers oaths to appointed officials, and maintains public records and laws. The administrative duties are too long to list without boring the reader to tears.
Although, I take little exception to the current Clerk’s ability to administer the basic office duties, an extremely important aspect of this office is woefully lacking. Election duties…
The Clerk plays an important role in our election process.
The Clerk serves as ex officio and secretary of the County Election Board. The Clerk appoints other members to the County Election Board and receives filings of candidates seeking a public office. The Clerk is responsible for issuing certificates to the local candidates.
Current County Clerk, Steven Craycraft, has indicated his office has saved $8,000 when the office stopped outsourcing and returned the function back to in-house operations. (I believe he was referring to scanning of documents.)
However, as a Member of the Election Board which voted to send a misdemeanor violation to the prosecutors’ office more than likely offset any real savings. We all know the outcome of that case and how the Election Board blatantly used their power for selective political prosecution.
Lest anyone should believe this is just an isolated case, please allow me to spend time on describing how our Election Board and County Clerk have disregarded the very laws which were designed to instill confidence and protect our voting system.
In 2007, Mr. Craycraft and Mrs. Wenger agreed and initialed AVBs they both considered should be voided. Yet at the election board meeting, Mr. Craycraft did not show. An account of this incident was recorded on Larry Riley’s blog.
Wenger and Craycraft both initialed several absentee ballots that they agreed should be voided. Some of those ballots were ones mentioned above that the board eventually approved counting.
Craycraft’s convenient absence meant he couldn’t confirm Wenger’s explanation for voiding the ballots, which led the board to count them. blog 11-17-07
Another incident involving Commissioner John H. Brooke. Election Board meeting video.
The Election Board Has Lost Its Way by John H. Brooke“ The Delaware County Election Board under the leadership of Phil Nichols and Steve Craycraft has lost sight of its mission and purpose. The mission of any election board is to help conduct elections so that voters are confident the entire process is fair and honest. Delaware County’s Election Board has decided that its real purpose is to serve as a weapon to beat down political opponents under the guise of “protecting the election process.” Muncie Star Press Letter to Editor 2-8-09
Continuing on in the same spirit, we arrive at the most obvious and blatant disrespect and disregard for the legal and proper use of the Election Board. Do we need a refresher on how a citizen was prosecuted based upon his political views? I think we do.
Election board has no credibility
” It’s obvious, especially after Thursday’s vote to dismiss the complaint, that the election board, which has a sacred public duty to ensure elections are free from fraud, is not capable of performing this function as it is now constituted.” Muncie Star Press Editorial 2-6-09
Next stop, 2010 Primary.
Can any citizen forget the influx of candidates on the Republican ticket affectionately dubbed “Ghost Candidates”? My favorite was Luke Jones, candidate for Center Township Trustee. Mr. Jones filed the same day he registered to vote. Mr. Jones never made public appearances, including the election board meeting to determine if his application was valid. The election board cited another similar case in Marion County as their basis to let the application stand.
The only similarity between the two cases entailed, both candidates lived in Indiana. The Marion County case dealt with the Voter’s Registration office being remiss causing a late filing of the application. Of course, we never knew too much about this particular case and neither did the Delaware County election board members. Yet the election board with limited knowledge of the Marion case cited that as a basis for the decision to circumvent or interpret State Election Laws according to their political agenda.
There is more to the 2010 primary filings.
None of the candidates which filed had ever voted in a primary, never made any public appearances, never contacted the Republican headquarters and all the applications appeared to be the same handwriting.
Yet despite the obvious, the Delaware County Clerk failed to follow through on the questionable candidates.
We hope these are genuine candidates who really want to hold office. If it turns out, however, that they are ringers with Democratic backing, then shame on officials for making a sham out of the bedrock of American democracy — elections.
What happens in the voting booth can set the stage for years on taxes, ordinances, reassessments and a host of other issues.
Should any of these candidates prove to be ringers, that should be taken as an indication the party backing them considers voters stupid, unable to tell the difference between real and fake candidates.
Star Press 2-28-10
As a parting reminder of how the election board governs, please remember the aggressive prosecution of a missing disclaimer initiated by the Delaware County Election Board.
And the absence of such prosecution when committed by the prosecutor.