Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scott Needs to Provide Some Proof on Baseless Ballot Security Claim

At last week's Decatur Township Civic Council Candidates' Forum, Republican candidate for Marion County Clerk, Jana Scott, praised incumbent clerk Beth White's plan to provide early voting satellite locations and (wrongly) credited herself for coming up with the idea first. "I actually congratulate Clerk White for implementing an idea I had put forth," said Scott (Did she vote in 2008 or 2009?).

This week...a different story has emerged.

The Indianapolis Star reported on Monday that Scott has questioned White's early voting sites and has used the "ballot security" card yet again.

It's a way to advance her own political agenda while still sticking to Tom John's "no satellite voting" line. Smart politics to say, "I was before it before I was against it on the grounds of ballot security." Don't you think?

Scott, who lists a familiarity with the election process (because she has served as a poll worker in the past) as one of her qualifications for the job of Clerk, continues to beat the drumbeat of ballot security, ballot security, ballot security when the truth of the matter is that whenever ballots are handled there is supposed to be representatives of both parties present. That's election law. In every election that I've worked, that's been the case, and if that's not being done, someone needs to come forward and spill the beans.

That's certainly not what inspectors, judges, and clerks at the polling sites are coached to do. I've been through the training, and comprehensive training is provided. Clerk White has even released the training videos on to the local government channels. It's been hardly a secretive process.

Beth White has plenty of practice running elections. No Marion County Clerk has been asked to run this many county-wide or Congressional elections. In 2007, there was the primary and the general elections. After the death of Julia Carson, 2008 kicked off with a Special Election to fill the 7th District Congressional seat then a May Primary and the General Election in November. The "off year" of 2009 was no "off year" at all. Local school referenda and the referendum on the new Wishard Hospital loaded up the ballot. Now, in 2010, there are two more elections. That's 10 elections by my count. Her predecessor, Doris Anne Sadler, who was much-maligned for ballot shortages and other problems during her tenure as Clerk, only had to run eight in her four years as Clerk.

No one runs away from the 2007 Primary Election, including White. It's well-documented that election had many major issues, but, since then, each succeeding election has been run extremely smoothly. It's fair to say that White has done a more than admirable job in what is a tough job as Marion County Clerk.

With a Republican Secretary of State leaning over her shoulder and the glare of the cameras three times in historic elections in 2008, I find it hard to believe that Beth White has had major issues with ballot security in her tenure as Marion County Clerk. Have there been issues? Yes. Have they been widespread? No. I think it would be almost impossible to run a perfect election. The Clerk simply has to, by law, depend on too many people to make this possible. Yet, in 2008, 2009, and 2010, there have been few problems, and the ones that we know about we were told about by the Clerk...not some media expose or some investigative reporter.

Still, Jana Scott is out there on the campaign trail flip-flopping positions and hiding behind things like "ballot security" when there is no documented proof of anything widespread, only innuendo. Methinks that Ms. Scott (who also thinks voting is simply a privilege) has no idea about what it takes to be Marion County Clerk. She's a very nice lady, but I get the feeling that she knows about as much as I do about running election. Heck, I have the same qualifications...I worked as a poll worker!

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