Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Right To Vote

There are some things in this world that I, as I'm sure you also, take for granted.  For instance, when I turn the faucet on, I will get water.  When I turn the key in my ignition, my car will start.  When I fill out a voter's registration card and turn it in to the clerk's office, it will be filed with the state and I will be able to vote on election day.  

What if you went to start your car and it didn't start?  You would be upset.  You would possibly call AAA.  You would get it fixed.  Is it anyone's fault your car didn't start?  No.  It happens.  But we take for granted that it will start when we want to go somewhere.  What if you didn't have any water when you turn the faucet on? Again, you would be angry but it's no one's fault you don't have water.  You will call the water department.  They will take care of it.  That's the way the world works. Unless, it's the Boone County Clerk's Office.

On September 6th, I filled out a voter's registration card changing my party.  I have been a Democrat since I was 18.  I didn't know the difference in the two parties and frankly, I've never voted party.  I've always researched my candidates and voted for the person I felt was more capable of completing the job they were being elected to do.  I filled out a card changing my party to Republican, because frankly, I feel we have to be more fiscally responsible. 

Many of our local elected officials have changed parties from Democrat to Republican including the current county clerk, who ran on the Democratic ticket unsuccessfully in 1996 for State Rep.  The difference is, when others change their party affiliation, their cards were entered into the state system without incident.  Mine was not.

I filed my letter of intent to run for County Clerk on October 3rd, as a Republican.  I had a press release stating that I am a Republican.  Imagine my surprise when I went into the county clerk’s office on December 27th to file my official papers to run and found out that the state system still showed me as a Democrat!  I was shocked.  The Deputy Clerk said she knew a card had come in for me with a change, but she didn’t know what the change was.  She saw the card.  It was on her desk.  Okay, it’s a mistake that it didn’t get entered.  It happens.  I don’t claim to be perfect.  No big deal, right?

The Deputy Clerk goes to the file to retrieve my card to enter it into the system.  It’s not there.  Hmmm…it’s not entered into the system, it’s not in the file.  Mistake?  Doubtful.  I’m running for the position of County Clerk.  The overseer of elections.  I could possibly see a mistake in not entering it and it being filed properly.  I could possibly see a mistake in it being entered into the system, but misfiled.  But both?  Fat chance.  This sounds  deliberate to me. 
I filled out a new card and filed my papers to run for County Clerk.  No harm.  Except, what if I hadn’t gone into the office to file my papers before December 31st?  Would there have been a problem?  Yes.  You only have until December 31st to change party affiliation to run for office in the primary.  That is the cutoff.  Of course, later that day when I went back in to file the completed paperwork, the voting supervisor was waving around the computer printout of my card.  They had scanned it into the local clerk’s office computer system on October 11th.  35 days after I filled it out.  They still had it.  They had never bothered to enter it into the state system, which dictates how you vote.  They never filed it.  They lost it after that 35 days.  But they scanned it.  Big deal.  It wouldn’t have allowed me to run for office or vote on May 20th

I kept quiet about this for 18 days.  I kept thinking they would find it.  They did not.  I then went on the Boone County Neighborhood Facebook page and suggested that anyone who had filled out a voter’s registration card in the past few months contact the clerk’s office to make sure it was done since mine had not been entered.  Miracles of miracles, the next day I got a phone call from the Deputy Clerk, saying they had found my card filed in the “P”s.  It only took me going public for this to happen.

When I went to the office to see the actual card, because basically at this point I don’t trust this office at all, the voting Supervisor told me that it was my fault, because on the line with my signature is a date to be filled in.  I had put 8-6-2013 and seeing my mistake, wrote a 9 over the 8.  REALLY?????  This caused them to not enter my change into the state system and lose my card??? To file my card in the “P”s without entering it?  MY FAULT???  No apologies.  Nothing but blaming me. 

When I’m elected Boone County Clerk, the “mistakes” will not happen.  This is ridiculous.  Of course, not surprising since things have a way of disappearing from the clerk’s office if they might be a detriment to our current clerk.  FMLA certification papers from a locked file in his office.  His voting record from November 2008, immediately after questions were raised about his voting history.  But those are stories for another day. 

For today, I’m disgusted with the lack of integrity in this office and we as citizens need to restore integrity to the office of Boone County Clerk.  Vote for Ramona on May 20th!