Keeping election board business aboveboard

Keeping election board business aboveboard

I hope you’ve got your sneakers on, Michael, because you’ve got to jump to a lot of conclusions to get where some of this ridiculous feud between members of the Crittenden County Quorum Court and the Crittenden County Election Commission has gone.

We’ve been reading in the paper over the past few months, the extensive coverage Mark Randall has provided regarding this dust-up between, primarily Quorum Court Justice Stacy Allen and Election Commissioner Dixie Carlson. Some of the other justices and commissioners have gotten dragged into this, but it’s primarily been Allen and Carlson going at it.

Now, I think you’ve pretty accurately pointed out the “sides” in this little squabble. It is Democrat vs.

Republican, it is, sadly, black vs. white, and it is a body of elected leaders vs. a body of appointed officials. The real question that you have to ask, though, is… why?

What does Allen hope will happen here? If he truly believes that the Election Commission violated election protocols (which they did not… I’ve checked), does he truly and honestly believe it was done on purpose to suppress minority voting? Seriously, that’s the real question. I mean, that’s what he’s saying, right?

He’s not saying the election commission was late in filing a list of polling sites. He’s saying the election commission purposefully delayed in filing a list of polling sites in a concerted effort to confuse black voters and lower turnout for the May primary. He’s saying that the election commission deliberately closed and/or moved polling places as part of this same effort. Now, if he legitimately believes that this is what the election commissioners colluded to do, I don’t know what to say to that. And Allen isn’t alone in his crusade. Justice Vickie Robertson has been right alongside her, particularly in targeting commissioner Frank Barton, as well as Carlson, in just grasping at every possible way to accuse the election commission of some kind of foul play.

But here’s the thing… Allen and Robertson are right.

They are right in that voters should have clear and accurate information about where they can go to cast their votes. Voters should know well ahead of time about any changes to polling sites, and there should be an open line of communication and transparency between the election commission and the people of Crittenden County.

The question is, where is the evidence that the commissioners have failed to meet or exceed those requirements? Where is there a case in which the letter of the law was not met? All election commission meetings are publicized and open to the public. All deadlines for notifications and changes have been met. At the end of the day, Allen, with Robertson and fellow justice Kenneth Cross also in tow, are looking for something — anything — to make the election commission look bad. But again, I ask… why, Michael?

If it’s not party politics, if it’s not a “race thing,” and if there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, the what is the goal? What would Allen, Robertson and Cross like to see happen? Do they want the commissioners to resign? Do they want an investigation? Please tell me there is at least an agenda. Please don’t tell me this crusade is being conducted “just because.”

I don’t know what it is about our election commission that seems to attract controversy. When the Democrats controlled the board, they butted heads constantly with County Judge Woody Wheeless. With the GOP in the majority, the Democratic justices are feuding with the board. How about we just let the commissioners do their jobs and count the votes and everyone else stay out of it, mmmkay?

Earlier, Michael, I recommended sneakers, but you might want to wear your boots instead, because it’s getting pretty deep in here — if you know what I mean.

By Ralph Hardin

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