Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The implication of the email (see graphic above) from Director Jeanette Mullane of the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) is that:
  • scanning in campaign finance reports as they are filed ( required by Ohio law this coming Thursday - 10/21) would necessitate purchasing expensive equipment, and 
  • and the expending of intensive, voluminous labor by board employees

Excellent scanning machines can be purchased for $500 or so.  They can be loaded with 50/100 sheets at a time and left unattended while they do their work. 
Most sophisticated commercial copy machines (something the BOE would be looking to purchase) have scanning ability included.

Mullane had told yours truly the BOE was looking at getting a new copier before the campaign fiance reports were due.  Apparently, the board squelched that idea.  No surprise here.

The current system is the ungodly expensive system which wastes the time of citizens wanting the records (to and from the BOE as well as gasoline/wear and tear on vehicles) and consumes enormous amounts of time of board employees making copies.

How much does the board charge citizens for the paper, the toner and the labor to produce copies of desired campaign finance reports?  $0.10 per page.

Think the board covers its cost at $0.10 a page?  But going electronic could help reduce costs and cope better with the reduced level of the BOE staff. 

An assumption of Mullane's email is that the board employees would need to drop everything and go now and scan in all existing campaign finance reports - going back years.

Not at all.

Just start with Thursday's batch and go back during slow time and retrieve older reports.

The Stark BOE doesn't even need to re-invent the wheel.  Rick Campbell has put all recorded documents in digitized form (having done so over time) while digitizing current documents as they are filed.

Campbell's office has been able to reduce his staff needs dramatically since he took over as recorder (saving the county and taxpayers oodles of money) and has created the most efficient and user friendly government office in all of Stark County.

 The Stark BOE can and must to the same eventually.

Why the foot dragging on saving taxpayer money and having citizens feel some love with accommodating services to boot?

The Stark County commissioners should take note that government services (e.g. the Stark BOE's failure on the rather simply done and inexpensive Internet available campaign finance reports) that are anti-consumer/citizen friendly do not help their cause to retain the sales/use tax they imposed in December, 2008 come the election in two weeks.

With friends like the Stark BOE board members, the commissioners do not need any enemies a la the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote.

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