Boards of Elections in Ohio is all about the state politicians (e.g. Chris Redfern of the Ohio Democratic Party/Matt Borges of the Ohio Republican Party) and and their political interests and very little about thorough and meaningful services to everyday citizens, local candidates and journalists who serve the political subdivision level of state government (i.e. counties, villages, cities and school and other districts).
And the Stark County Board of Elections (at the board level) in particular is steeped in political warfare a la the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Socialists Republics of the 1945 through early 1990s era of international relationships.
All one has to do is to harken back to the political fight that erupted with the local board a mere two months ago between the Republicans (Braden and Cline) and the Democrats (Ferruccio and St John) on the question of whether or not George T. Maier was qualified under Ohio Revised Section 311.01 to stand for election as sheriff of Stark County.
The Stark County Political Report has had ample experience dealing with the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) going back to 2010 and has come away with an impression that the leadership is manned by fuddy-duddy types who appear to not evolved much since the days that William McKinley walked the streets of Canton.
The Report has had to fight with the Stark BOE over whether or not:
- its proceedings can be videotaped,
- it can scan in campaign finance reports so that the reports are more easily accessed by the general public and
- it can provide copy finance reports online.
In the past and to a considerable degree continuing, Stark BOE with its "labor-intensive" ways have to cost Stark Countians (i.e. the taxpayers) thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Many of the records of the local BOE are only available by a manual operation whereby a BOE worker has to retrieve requested records and then photocopy them. All the while, those wishing to obtain the records have had to make a trip (spending $3.60 or so for a gallon of gasoline) to the board offices to get the desired records and sometimes (if an advance telephone call requesting the records has not been made) wait for the records to be retrieved.
And, of course, the Stark BOE has been housed in what has to be the most depressing facility of all 88 Ohio Boards of Elections. Only a flood from a roof leak of April, 2013 prompted the board members to get up off their collective duffs to find a more adequate facility to protect the Stark's historical voting records and to ensure that users of board election services feel secure in their persons when visiting the BOE on business.
And, of course, election nights in Stark County in terms of getting expeditious results seem to lag more than most other Ohio counties.
As the SCPR is wont to do, an electronic canvas of how the Summit County Board of Elections serves its public reveals that our neighbors to the north are "light years" ahead of the Stark BOE in providing its citizens, candidates and journalists access to "our" (i.e. the public's) data in a convenient, speedy and thoroughgoing manner.
The Report presents several graphic extracts from the Summit BOE to make the case that Braden, Cline, Ferruccio and Sherer, Jr (St. John's successor) are indeed administrative fuddy-duddy types who are firmly ensconced in yesteryear processes and procedures who need a "kick in the duff" and put in the glare of public light on how backwardly and inaccessibly they connect with the public when compared to what can be and is being done.
On the Summit BOE website all a citizen has to do is to click on menu item Elections and then Ballot (on the submenu) and lickety-split there the ballot is (and one can even go back and look at past ballots).
Want to check a voter registration?
Hit the "submit" button and again Bingo! you have it.
For you candidates out there.
Want a voter list?
Real simple and inexpensive in Summit!
Take a look. (yellow highlight added)
The SCPR asked for a list of Libertarian/Green Party voters in Green (the Summit County city just to the north of northern Stark County), and, again Bingo!
Want a precinct map?
Click on the "Green" map and presto!
How about a campaign finance report?
Like to get instant access to those report 24/7?
And on and on and on goes the list of information that citizens, candidates and journalists can access in a "click of the fingers" on the Summit County BOE website.
The SCPR has worked with the Stark BOE website for years now and there is absolutely no comparison between the two.
And guess which one comes up way short?
Messers Braden, Cline, Ferruccio and Sherer, Jr need to get off their collective duffs and at least equal the Summit County effort to provide Stark's citizens, candidates and journalist with access to voter enhancing information, no?