steve craycraft

Candidate Forum available for viewing.

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For those of you that were unable to attended the October 7th Candidate Forum, it is now available on line at CDCPTR.

If you are like me, with a connection speed that is less than stellar, there is another alternative.

The Forum will be televised on Comcast Public Access Channel 60 throughout the month of October and on Monday, November 1st on the following schedule:
Mondays: 7:00 pm
Wednesdays: 9:00 am
Fridays: 6:00 pm
Sundays: 1:00 pm

Delaware County Needs New Leadership

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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

Election Board Needs Stopped!
Muncie Politics At Its Finest

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.

Freedom of Speech or How One Man Won The Right to Exercise the 1st Amendment

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Something extraordinary happened today for Delaware County. Justice was served on a golden platter.

As some of you know, Chris Hiatt of Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal was indicted in April of ’09 on changes of election violation. (This blog has a few posts covering this topic in more detail.) Today, Special Judge Jay Toney dismissed the charges. Let’s do a quick background on how this all came about.

In November ’08 CDCPTR took out an ad in the local newspaper, The Star Press. The ad endorsed candidates from both parties which were believed to be citizen and taxpayer friendly based upon their platform and campaigns.

Within weeks of this ad, another group, ECIBT (East Central Indiana Building Trades) took offense and filed a complaint with the election board. Their chief complaint was the ad had no disclaimer. One would consider this a possible violation, of sorts, except for one little pesky detail. ECIBT did the same. They endorsed all Democrats, had no disclaimer and in fact they had no address.

After weeks of delay, the election board finally decided to serve papers notifying Mr. Hiatt he was summoned to appear before the election board. What happened at the hearing was just a lot of legalities and twisting and turning of Indiana State law until it became apparent to most, there was some hanky panky going on with the current election board.

In turn, a complaint was filed against ECIBT for the exact same violation. Lo and behold, the Delaware County Clerk recused himself, since he was trying to avoid the conflict of interest “thingy”. Of course, he sat on the board during Hiatt’s hearing. I am having a hard time understanding the definition of “conflict of interest” as it was presented by Mr. Craycraft.

The Delaware County prosecutor, Mr. Mark McKinney convened a grand jury and sure enough, but no surprise, Hiatt was indicted.

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the complaint against ECBIT for the exact same violation. One word. NOTHING.

Today however marks a milestone in Delaware County. Justice was served and served properly. Of course, we had to leave the county and get a special judge. Nonetheless, it is a good day.

Just for fun, I pulled together some quotes from the local newspapers on this dark time in our county’s history.

Judge Throws Hiatt’s Case Out
“In granting the motion to dismiss, the judge said the law as described to grand jurors by McKinney was the “exact opposite” of what actually exists.” Star Press 4-21-10

Attorney: McKinney Misled Grand Jury
“Two days before his client is set to stand trial, the attorney for a local government critic on Tuesday fired back at Mark McKinney, accusing the beleaguered Delaware County prosecutor of “deliberately and intentionally misleading (a grand jury) about the law.” Star Press 4-21-10

Criminal Acts and Selective Prosecution
“Politically based selective prosecution is wrong.” Larry Riley Star Press 4-21-10

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

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

Another Menace Nabbed
“What was his great crime against humanity? He placed a newspaper ad endorsing candidates for the 2008 election. The ad listed the CDCPTR as the source of the endorsements and featured the group’s logo, but did not — get this recklessly dangerous practice — “have a formal disclaimer.” The man had the gall to exercise his First Amendment Rights — throw the bum in jail. While the clown princes of the political world and the punditocracy mull whether nude dancing should be “protected free speech,” this is the kind of crap that goes on almost without protest.” The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Indiana 4-21-09

Watch video excerpts of the election board hearings.

Carol Bouslog’s Letter to the Delaware County Election Board

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March 3, 2010
Delaware County Election Board
Clerk’s Office

Muncie, Indiana

Election Board Members:

On Monday, March 1, 2010, I was contacted by phone by Steve Craycraft, Delaware County Clerk, and informed that Will Statom of Voter’s Registration filed a challenge (based on an address discrepancy) against my application for candidacy (District 3, County Council). A meeting was scheduled by the Election Board to address this issue for 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, in the Clerk’s Office. The following information is presented, and I ask that it be read and/or included into the record of today’s proceedings.

The previous week, on Wednesday, February 24, 2010, I was contacted by Shareen Wagley, Republican Vice-Chairman, to advise me that my candidacy for a seat on the County Council, District 3, was withdrawn due to an address mismatch, a discrepancy discovered by Voter’s Registration. At that time, it was already too late for me to “formally” withdraw from the campaign (deadline of 12 noon on February 22), but I understood that I was no longer a candidate. In other words, to my knowledge there was no issue and nothing else needed be done by me, and as I am given to understand by Mr. Craycraft, this Election Board meeting is merely a formality.

In 2008 I moved to my now current address in the south end of Muncie, a move which allowed me to remain in the Precinct 22 area. In the fall of that same year, my Mother (who lived on the north edge of Muncie) was deemed terminally ill and required my presence as a full-time caregiver. Even though I was with her constantly at her home, I continued to maintain (including payment of utilities) the south side residence where all my belongings remained with the exception of a few items of clothing. From time to time, when my own “free” time and health situation would allow, I would spend the night at my south side residence. In fact, I rested there for several days following surgery in mid-December 2009. Until this very day, I have remained a resident of that south side property.

However, because it was becoming more difficult to leave my Mother for a length of time (to travel across town to retrieve my mail), sometime late last summer I placed a temporary change of address with the U.S. Post Office, asking that my mail be delivered to my Mother’s residence. Again, the request for change was marked “temporary.”

Then in November 2009 I renewed my driver’s license. I was told by the BMV clerk that I needed to reflect the address where I was living and receiving mail currently (temporary or not), so I changed my license address to reflect that of my Mother’s residence, and I agreed to an update of my Voter’s Registration.

I thought no more about it in the period that followed—Thanksgiving, Christmas—culminating with the death of my Mother at the very end of December. After boxing up and moving her belongings, I returned full-time to my south side residence, and around mid-January placed a change of address with the Post Office to receive mail here once again. In the mental fuzziness that surrounds one after the loss of a loved one, I never once thought about changing my driver’s license to again reflect my south side address—an action which evidently would have carried the key to ‘unlock’ the door to District 3 candidacy.

And then I filed as a candidate for District 3, County Council on February 19.

Understanding the nature of politics, and as a student of politics in this town, it’s possible that some will try to make much more of this than is true or even necessary. But, the bottom line is this…my Precinct 22 residence did not change, in spite of temporary mailing and driver’s license addresses. However, I do not believe there needs to be any question in potential voters’ minds of anything untoward in the campaign of a Republican candidate in a heavily Democrat district. Therefore, I will not challenge this issue.

While I believe my personal situation was unique, I do caution citizens and hopeful candidates alike to remain ever mindful of keeping up to date all address/voter registration information.


Carol A. Bouslog

Elections in Delaware County

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Two people were removed from tha ballot today at the election board hearing.    Democrat Justin Mitchell was removed as the candidate for assessor.  He does not have the required certification by the State  to be eligible.

Republican candidate, Carol Bouslog had some issue with the residency.

We shall see where this election takes us.  Hopefully, within the next four weeks, there will be some information on the history of elections in Delaware County.

Vote informed.

Past, Present and Future of Delaware County

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The Past, Present and Future, it would take pages and pages to even begin the story. So instead, let’s focus on just a minimal amount of information. I hope you will agree, this is something to pondering  during this election season.

Past: Sometime back in the early part of 2007, then Commissioner Mr. John Brooke chose to tackle the age-old problem of health care. His plan was to merge both city and county health plans, thereby reducing costs to both the taxpayer and the employee. I believe Mr. Brooke’s consolidation of health care was two-fold. One to show that Delaware County can be progressive. Two that Delaware County under Democrat leadership can be cost-effective. 

No fruit from this tree, so to speak.

Mr. Brooke’s plan was not only dismissed by the leadership, it was lobbied against by the very same leaders. Not once was he contacted. In fact the health plan consolidation was not considered simply because it was his idea.   Proving without a doubt, the leadership is not concerned with you, me or the citizens of this county.

Present: 2009 has come and gone. What a year Muncie has seen. We know the City Council leadership has made some of the most outrageous cuts from the City budget to date.

With a budget shortfall of roughly four million dollars, Mayor Sharon McShurley made some tough decisions. Alas, the city was still lacking 1.5 million. As a last-ditch effort to preserve the city from what appeared to be a devastating effect from City Council’s mindless cuts, she present the council with a proposal to increase insurance premiums. The increase would have prevented the lights from going out, fuel for police, saving 12 jobs and our animal shelter staying open, just to name a few. It was not to be.  Because again, it was her proposal. 

Still think the current leadership has our best interest in mind?

The county should not be left out of the equation. What with the windfall of 8.3 million dollars from the welfare levy, the two million dollar surplus left from 2008 by the previous administration there should have been no reason for the county to end in the red.

But we did.

Donations here and there, purchasing of a used truck, hiring, raises, raiding the Morrison TIF and passing of the Wheel Tax is how our county has chosen to manage our hard-earned tax dollars. A far cry from the past commissioners which consolidated departments, dropped expensive insurance policies and worked to make Delaware County a place where we can be proud to call our home. 

Still think our leadership is looking out for our interests?

Future:  What does our future hold? We have been told the county may be short three million dollars and the city a few million dollars less in 2010. What we need is the beginning of responsible and responsive government; moulding it into a fiscally sound and citizen oriented county. It takes strong leadership,  men and women having the knowledge, experience and a willingness to move us out of this down-ward sprial going no where. 

Let’s take a good hard look at the ones which are soliciting our vote and those which want to retain office.  If there has been no progress, we can take control and replace the men and women with those which have the capability to move our county forward.  Vote informed.

We are a strong people. Let’s take ownership and expect  High Performance Government.

Remember this: Good Government Begins With YOU.

Let’s get to work!

Samuel Adams

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I found these quotes posted on an on-line forum.  It is never to early to prepare for the next election.  Let’s ponder the words of a great patriot for just a moment.

Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]

Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]

The Plot Thickens..

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Delaware County Election Board; Jim Mansfield; ECIBT Vs, CDCPTR; CDCPTR Vs. ECIBT; Citizens of Delaware County Vs. The Old Way Of Conducting Government Business.

Whew!  It sure gets complicated.  All this over just a simple ad.  One  complaint against a citizen group  and we may see a series of very real election violations surface.

I mean, we have group which filed a complaint with the election board over a lack of disclaimer in an ad.  Then we find out the same group who filed the complaint didn’t have a disclaimer in their ad, has no address, no phone number, no website and their ad was paid for by an entity other than the group printed on the ad.  To boot, the group is not even registered as anything in the State of Indiana.

If any of you reading this blog have been following the election board’s recent decision and are shaking your head in amazement,  this column will make your head explode (as my dear friend always says). Little confused on the legal name of ECIBT, so please forgive me if I left a letter or two out.

Larry Riley’s Column, Sunday April 26, 2009