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Editorial Opinion~8/1/12
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August
2012
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There are laws for a reason

It’s been more than 25 years since county taxpayers paid to run the Sample Ballot in two newspapers. At that time, there were two newspapers published in Polk County – the Citizen-Advance and the Polk County News, each focusing on one side of the county, so it made sense to run the ballot information in both.

That’s no longer needed. The two newspapers have been combined for around 25 years and the ballot has been run – with no complaints – in the countywide Polk County News.

The current Administrator of Elections, however, decided to run the August ballot in the Cleveland Daily Banner and the Blue Ridge (GA) News-Observer. Go figure. In addition to ignoring the people who read the Polk County News, this plan has used up all but $55 of the election office’s entire yearly budget for publications.

Is there a logical reason for this apparent waste of county money? We’d hate to think this is a way of getting even with the local newspaper, which has been critical of the election office. However, when the Election Administrator uses  “I’m just really dissatisfied,” as his reasoning when asked why he chose not to run the ballot inside the county, how much can be left to the imagination as to his true motives?

Is this really what we have come to? Is the pettiness of politics going to destroy the sanctity of the vote? Will no one stand up for the rights of average Polk Countians who could not care less about such triviality and simply want to know what is on the ballot?

There are laws about this for a reason. Legislators ensured we would be privy to the information about our elections by creating laws that spell out exactly what Administrators are to do. Running the sample abllot in another county and another state certainly doesn’t comply with the law, which specifically calls for the notice to be placed in a newspaper of general circulation in the county.

Where will this all end? Will the State of Tennessee sit idly by and permit the rights of local citizens to crumble? Will apathy make the voting process even more ignored? Does political party affiliation really equate turning a blind eye, no matter what? Is there no recourse?

We urge everyone involved, from ordinary citizens, to politicians, candidates, administrators, county, and state officials to stand up and and say enough is enough.

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