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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.•

Opinions: Readers may offer opinions concerning Indiana Lawyer stories and other legal issues. Readers may respond immediately by viewing the “submissions” section on our website: www.theindianalawyer.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for space requirements and to reproduce letters on the IL website and online databases. Direct letters to editor Kelly Lucas at klucas@ibj.com or 41 E. Washington St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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