Lucas: Dedication of clerks leads to smooth elections

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EidtPerspLucas-sigThe 2012 elections are finally over. And while I think most people, with the possible exception of mail carriers and holiday Scrooges, are happy to have gift catalogs replace political flyers in their mailboxes, I would bet that no group is happier to see election season come to an end than the county clerks. But before we close the book on the 2012 election, I’d like to give a shout-out to the election officials and their staffs – the men and women who made it all possible.

Honestly, I had not paid that much attention in the past to the behind-the-scenes work of putting on an election. I showed up, I voted, and I then waited for the election returns. But this year there was so much talk about early voting with news clips showing people lining up weeks ahead of time to vote – it seemed to create a sense of urgency surrounding the process.

As I began to pay more attention, and I read the daily emails I received from the Marion County Clerk’s Office, I began to realize that, at least in an election year, Marion County Clerk Beth White and her communications director, Angie Nussmeyer, have got to be among the hardest-working people in the city of Indianapolis. I’m sure that their counterparts in other cities work equally as hard, but Marion is my home county and, therefore, my base of experience.

Let’s look at the numbers. Marion County has 640,699 registered voters. Of those who exercise their right to vote – and given the lines we saw this year it seems like that was a respectable number – 300 polling places operate to facilitate the process. Nearly 40,000 registered voters visited Indianapolis’ City-County Building prior to the election to vote early. I was among those people, and I think it was that experience that cemented my impression.

My son came home from college the weekend before the election in order to vote, and I decided to accompany him downtown on that Saturday morning. Yes, there was a line, but it moved quickly, and I think that was due in part to the individuals manning the flow. At 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, I was surprised to see Clerk White there greeting voters and moving them to the next available check-in point. Angie was at the other end, ready to take the completed ballot. I learned that they are ALWAYS present when early voting is open. That adds up to some very long hours. Here is the kicker: less than 72 hours before the official Election Day, and both were still smiling and ringing the bell for first-time voters.

Regardless of how one feels about the outcome of the election, I think it is important to recognize that clerks and other election officials throughout Indiana work hard to enhance the voting experience. I am truly impressed by the effort I see being put into this process. When things go wrong on Election Day, blame stops right at the doorstep of the clerk’s office. It is only fair that when we see something work well, we recognize that too. Thanks to Beth, Angie, and all of the people who made sure our votes counted in 2012.•

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

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  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.