Who did you elect? Who you gonna call? Database 102 for Boards of Elections

On Friday, I was talking to Jan Kelly, the director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. about a form. Trying to figure out how to accurately fill it out- and the cold hard fact was, it requested information that was totally impossible for a voter, or even the person in charge of checking that form to know what the answer was. The correct way to fill this form out was to leave information required blank.

Bad form design aside, how to find the simplest information about who and what we elect, what the qualifications for each and every public office, term dates, forms required, processes to follow are all over the place online- making getting into elected office way more complicated than it has to be. While the axiom of running government like a business is a common crutch for clueless political wannabes, the reality is that even the way to buy elected office is such a convoluted process that if elected office were an online store, it wouldn’t make very many sales.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has an online portal to tell you if you are registered and where to vote (it’s recently been fixed so that it will even allow those without a middle name to get their information, a flaw identified by this site a few weeks ago) it doesn’t have the ability to tell you all the people who represent you and their offices.

Who represents you?

We often see a little blurb at the end of newspaper articles about how to contact your congressman with their address and phone number, but, who represents you on the State Board of Elections, who is your coroner, your party precinct captain, your county engineer, your state Supreme Court justices? Good luck at finding all that information in one place, yet isn’t this the most fundamental part of a representative democracy?

One of the reasons we have so many elections is because we have so many offices to fill and we’re attempting not to overload and confuse the voters. It’s one of the reasons the big political parties hand out the official “Endorsed candidate slate list” because, frankly, it’s too hard for most voters to fathom who they should vote for in each election without one- especially when the ballot contains candidates like judges who don’t show their party affiliation on the ballot (at least this used to be the case, I’m not even sure of where this stands right now in Ohio).

I also often get calls asking what the qualifications are for office- not just where you have to live, your age, your experience, but what petitions, deadlines, etc., are required to run for U.S. Congress- you don’t actually have to live in the district you are planning to represent, nor do you have to be born in the U.S., but to run for president you have to be born in the U.S. and have to be at least 35. As to how many signatures are required- it depends on if you are running as a candidate of a major political party or not. All these details should be available to each and every voter. For instance, even though it’s not an elected position- you don’t have to be a lawyer or have gone to law school to be on the U.S. Supreme Court- although it’s very unlikely that Congress (a body made up of a lot of lawyers) would ever confirm a non-lawyer to the bench these days, although as recently as 1941 we had a high-school dropout appointed to the bench.

The last justice to be appointed who did not attend any law school was James F. Byrnes (1941-1942). He did not graduate from high school and taught himself law, passing the bar at the age of 23.

via- Supreme Court FAQ

It would seem to me that knowing who represents you, how to contact them, the requirements of the office and the forms to file should all be available to every voter, with a simple look-up of their address, just like they have for where you vote. This should be required by law, across the land, and every effort should be made to simplify and reduce the number of forms (see this page on the Ohio secretary of state’s office for the really long list of required forms: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/electionsofficials/forms.aspx) My really rough count came up at 238 (not including the ones in Spanish).

The SOS site does have a page with a general description of what is voted on in the next election here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/Voters/whatsontheballot/whatsOnBallot.aspx

There aren’t enough hours in the day, or dollars you could pay me to try to list all the offices from party precinct captains up to POTUS, but I’m pretty sure the list would overwhelm each and every one of you if it was readily accessible. If we want to see any real reduction of government, or better efficiencies via regionalism, this would be an amazing place to start- a simple look-up by address, of every person you are expected to elect, complete with requirements for office, terms, pay, duties and who currently sits in it.

For the closest example of anything remotely like an information page for running for office- see this page from Armstrong County, Pa.: http://www.co.armstrong.pa.us/departments/public-services/elections-votersregistration/running-for-public-office New York state also has a page: http://www.elections.ny.gov/RunningOffice.html

VoteSmart.org has a look-up list that’s semi-useful, but far from complete or up-to-date: http://votesmart.org/search?q=45410&cx=004674700904797117618%3Aiqzskagjgeo&cof=FORID%3A11#.UwnzGl6gaXQ (Gary Leitzell is still Mayor!). Common Cause has an even less complete version here: http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/advocacy/search.aspx?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4860375

What do you think?

Our thin skinned Princess Mayor

Well it didn’t take long for our Princess Mayor to learn that not everyone is enamored with her royal highness. After her “State of the City Address” the comments on Facebook were less than kind- about her hair, makeup, clothes. This is nothing new- Rhine McLin was constantly mocked as Mayor McHat- and for her funky glasses with one round lens and one square. When Gary Leitzell continued to wear his earring, some scoffed as well. Back before the Internets- Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was often called Mayor Diction- because of the way he mangled/mumbled words.

None of them sent email blasts to their supporters or made a blog post about how wrong it was.

Nan of course, was hurt, and published her second post since she’s been elected. Note, she didn’t even bother to post a thank you after buying her seat.

I want to talk about moving Dayton forward, they wanna talk about my eyebrows!

This past Wednesday I gave my first State of the City address to a standing room only crowd in the Dayton City Commission chambers. In my speech, I shared the Commission’s priorities for the coming year and our vision for creating jobs and economic opportunities for the residents of Dayton. You can watch the speech in its entirety here.

Much of the news coverage was fair and shared the ideas discussed in the speech. Unfortunately, one Dayton Daily News reporter decided to go another route with her unfair internet coverage of some comments that attacked how I looked and what I was wearing.What I wear is not news. Internet musings related to my appearance is not news and random irrelevant remarks posted on a Facebook page should not be the focus of mainstream news reporting.

via STOP Media Sexism!.

I’ve already caught hell for stating that I don’t think anything Amelia Robinson writes for the Dayton Daily news is worth reading, so count me as neutral here. And, this line from the piece in question should prove it:

“Oh, and New Jersey Mayor Chris Christie is fat.”

For the record Ms. Robinson, States don’t have mayors- they have governors, but, the cold hard fact is that the piece that Whaley calls “Media Sexism” is really in support of our Princess Mayor- saying that women shouldn’t be judged by the way they look or dress, but by their substance. I’m sure our Mayor will be calling the DDN editors on Monday demanding Robinson be fired.

My rule on this site for comments is generally you can say anything you want about me as long as it is opinion and not false. You can call me ugly and say my mother dresses me funny.  You can’t say I’m a bank robber. You can’t talk trash about other commenters. You also can’t accuse people in public office of criminal behavior- unless it’s already well established. I try to keep things civil.

When it’s unsigned- it means nothing to me. If you are willing to sign your name, it has more veracity. That’s why my recent nomination to the Dirtbag Ohio hall of fame by anonymous pissants makes me laugh. They even used the See You Next Tuesday word to describe me. I’m sure our Princess Mayor would have called the FBI out if they’d called her that.

Quite frankly, both A.J. Wagner and Gary Leitzell defined Dayton’s number one problem as marketing and changing our image. Leitzell’s solution to lame media coverage and crap like this was to only talk to them when he had something positive to say about Dayton- refusing to comment on things like when we made the top 10 list for most vacant cities. He was way more media savvy than people gave him credit. Wagner talked a great game starting out in his campaign, until he fastened on to the “Dayton lost 9,000 jobs line” which pretty much sank his campaign. Princess Nan just defined her mayorship half way through month two by her thin skin and low self-esteem.

Lucky for her, no other news outlet should touch this with a ten foot pole. Only the DDn which no longer knows how to report news, or recognize it when it happens, would waste time reporting on what a few dozen idiots write on Facebook.

Word from inside the paper says Robinson is told to write this kind of crap. If anyone should be fired, it’s the editor who let the “Mayor Christie” of N.J. is fat line get published. Then you can look at the idiots who think what people say on Facebook matters.

First lesson for elected leaders: never let others define the conversation if at all possible. Second lesson- it’s never about you- but about your community.

If Whaley wants to change the conversation, she needs a thicker skin yesterday. She also can stop doing things like hiring campaign flunkies like Hilary Browning as a commission aide- without posting the job.

There, that’s a story the DDn could write about, one that matters.

 

Bad agendas, hidden agendas, worthless agendas- are all the Party agenda

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is in the basement of the County Administration Building. Basements are notorious as places where it’s damp, dark and mold grows. Slimey mold.

So, despite the claims that the BOE always meets now at 11 a.m. (when they claimed I misrepresented the time of the proper William Pace denial on the ballot meeting)- they are meeting this Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

And on the MC BOE 02.18.14 Agenda are these three innocuous items:

  • Motion to certify candidate petitions for the Primary Election
  • Motion on candidate’s petitions for the Primary Election that appear questionable
  • Motion on candidate’s petitions for the Primary Election that appear invalid

Notice how there is no list of who may be in trouble? What if the candidate wanted to know if he or she need to be there? To line up the people who signed the petition? Ah, screw you. Screw the sunshine laws. Let’s keep the public in the dark.

If you want a participatory democracy- you do it out in the open, with as much useful information as possible.

#FAIL Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Note, there should have been a document on the website the day petitions were closed, of every candidate who had filed. It didn’t show either. Here it is: MD BOE 2014 primary filed_1 Note- it was sent as a scan of a printout. I had to OCR it to make it accessible. Also missing is the list of Dems filing for Montgomery County Precinct Captains for the Democratic party.

UPDATE

update 4;45pm- the list of precinct captains. Only 5 contested precincts (including mine)  and a lot of empties. 2014 Democrat central committee all

Ah, if we were all mushrooms, we’d be worth millions- they like to keep us in the dark and feed us $h!t.