Great Job by Elections Board
The Pilot is fond of calling "Birdies" and "Bogeys" for the lives we live away from the golf course.
There are generally more Birdies than Bogeys, not just because it makes for better copy, but because Moore County is just that type of place, in which it seems more good things happen than bad. In fact, that's why most of us choose to settle here.
But this election has brought to our attention an often-unnoticed set of professional players. In fact, a few people in our county have been shooting double-eagle holes-in-one for years. They will cost us about half a million dollars in tax money for 2012. Yet the approximate $5 that each of us pays for that expense creates a bargain.
The eagles I write about are shot by the members of our Moore County Board of Elections, their director, Glenda Clendenin, her staff and the part-time poll workers who take several days every two to four years to work from dawn to dusk giving us free and fair elections.
Stories from other counties are replete with allegations of voter fraud. For instance, during early voting this election, it took three attempts for one Guilford County voter to cast his ballot for Mitt Romney without his voting machine checking Barack Obama. The same thing happened in New Bern in 2010, when machines automatically chose Democrats. Moore County has been free of any such scandal.
Because our governor is a Democrat, our elections board consists of two Democrats, Ansal Graham and Carolyn McDermott, and one Republican, Susan T. Adams. But our board is unique. In other counties, when Sunday early voting was considered, Democrats and Republicans went to war.
Republicans believed that Sunday ought to be a nonpolitical day devoted to family and worship. Democrats felt that Sunday was the best day for organizing voters. The elections board staff was concerned that working seven days a week with early voting would create stress for election workers and a budget-busting overtime bill for taxpayers.
So two Democrats and one Republican compromised. Early voting hours were extended for each of six days per week. On the seventh day, the staff and the taxpayers could rest. It was a bipartisan compromise of a kind some wish could be accomplished in Washington, D.C. The fact was that it was accomplished by these fine public servants without even a headline.
When we go to the polls, some of us fail to appreciate how ballots, optical scanners and even an electronic voting machine for the visually handicapped are transported to early voting places in Whispering Pines, Carthage, West End and Aberdeen. We fail to realize that a few days later these ballots and devices are then set up in precincts throughout Moore County.
Each polling place has to have access to voter lists and a wealth of knowledge with respect to how these lists need to be checked for accuracy. Election judges, both Democrat and Republican, need to be recruited and trained. By state law, even the name of each early voter and absentee balloter has to be published on the Internet and made available to "wonks" collecting what I believe to be too much individual data.
And, while all this was being done this past week, Clendenin and her staff still found time to answer the voter inquiries I forwarded them.
In our state, the party of the governor controls the majority on boards of election. If Republicans win that race, it will be important to more closely scrutinize the integrity of elections, especially in Guilford County.
But in Moore County, we must choose a slightly different course. Regardless of the composition of our future boards of election, we must support the nonpartisan integrity that Glenda Clendenin has brought to our county. We must continue with the cooperative spirit that our current board of elections has chosen to follow.
The roughly $500,000 budgeted for this election by county taxpayers divided by the approximate 100,000 residents of Moore County means that for about $5 per person we get an election run by professionals of whom we can be proud.
It gives us every reason to get out to vote regardless of party affiliation and to go home Tuesday night with confidence that our vote will be counted with integrity.
Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican Party. Contact him at Law52@prodigy.net.
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