County Election Board: Coloring
Way Outside The Box
The commonwealth's voter regulations are clearly written in black and white, but here, in Fayette
County, easy to read, clearly stated rules did not stop the county's election board from foolishly
coloring way outside the box.
Today, the election board met again for four hours to discuss sitting absentee and provisional
election ballots from the general election on 8 Nov11. While the commonwealth's regulations
strictly state that absentee ballots must be returned to, or received in, the county election
bureau by 4 Nov11 -- the Friday before the election -- Fayette's county election board allowed 31
absentee ballots received after 4 Nov11 to count.
Neither the flies on the walls nor news reports indicate that any of these absentee ballots were
from persons in the military or were emergency-based absentee ballots, which would have been
given special exception to the 4 Nov11 deadline.
It is disturbing that an election bureau worker did not go to the post office before closing its
doors on 4Nov11 to pick up its mail. It is even more disturbing that the county solicitor today
stated that the bureau and she were uncertain whether six absentee ballots postmarked 3 Nov11
were received at the bureau on 7 Nov11 or 8 Nov11. Why is this such a mystery? Shouldn't be.
Most businesses -- and certainly, efficient government offices -- use a common rubber stamp to
date ALL incoming mail on the day it is received. Some, additionally, even keep a running written
log and lists each piece of mail it receives or sends. Take a note: buy the election bureau a rubber
stamp and make it common practice to use it so that we don't appear so stupid again in public.
At today's marathon meeting, the board also approved 10 absentee ballots postmarked 4 Nov11
that were received on 8 Nov11 and accepted 15 absentee ballots postmarked 4 Nov11 that were
received on 7 Nov11.
The board's goofy interpretation of clearly written state election rules can only come back to bite
us in the butt much harder -- and possibly way deeper in the pockets -- than any lawsuit that any or
all of the 31 procrastinating absentee voters could possibly bring if their votes instead had been
The general public should never have known that mail sat at the post office, because it should have
been picked up on 4 Nov11, stamped at the election bureau "received 4 Nov11" and been processed
appropriately as per state regulations. All others, coming in after 4Nov11, should have been marked
late. This mess should have never happened, in other words.
There is no acceptable excuse that mail sat at the post office, just as there is no acceptable
reason why the board today got out its magic colors and changed the state's rules. Nobody in his
right mind mails a letter today and expects it to be received today, to its intended destination
without paying for pricey, same day, special delivery.
Try mailing in a last-minute property tax payment on the deadline day to avoid a sheriff's sale and
see just how clearly the county's rules are written in black and white, with no coloring outside the
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