Forum a chance to get informed

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steele, donna

The League of Women Voters Hancock County invites the public to attend a county-wide candidate forum, Oct. 1, from 7-9 p.m. at Greenfield-Central High School Auditorium.

Candidates for contested races for county clerk, county recorder, county council, and county commissioner (District 2) will gather to discuss their qualifications. To prepare the public for the forum, which will be followed by a public Q&A, a brief description about what each office does could be helpful.

County clerks oversee elections, making sure candidates meet deadlines, selecting where early vote centers will be located, and addressing concerns of voters as they arise. They train poll workers and comply with Indiana law while simultaneously exercising great decision making in their own rights.

County clerks select the voting machines for their county, decide whether a paper trail is available or not, recommend where the voting machines are sourced, and review them for vulnerabilities such as hacking. They also design the ballots. The County clerk is an incredibly important person to ensure all voters have access and ease when voting.

Additionally, the county clerk works for the courts. A good visual of the county clerk is Lady Justice, wearing a blindfold and holding balanced scales. Where is justice, fairness, and impartiality more important than before, during, and after an election and in the courts?

The character of the county clerk is paramount for a healthy democracy.

According to the Hancock County government site, “The County Recorder’s function is to maintain permanent public records involving a wide variety of instruments.” These categories include real estate, personal property, mortgages, liens, leases, subdivision plats, military discharges, personal bonds and mining. I counted six categories that were applicable to my family alone. A good county recorder will have an eye for detail and a streak of perfectionism. They will also be proficient in researching and implementing new technology as it becomes available.

One of the most crucial decisions for county council members is whether to issue a bond or not because the county council holds the purse-strings. Together, the council decides the best use of tax dollars, making decisions for short-term and long-term expenditures during budget preparation.

Because the County Council is composed of many, a good county council member should be accommodating with both their fellow council members and the county commissioners, but they should also know when to stand firm. The county council works both with and as a balance to the county commissioners.

The “Board of Commissioners is responsible for the administration of county business. The commissioners may enact ordinances to meet local conditions and exercise other authority vested in the board by the legislature” according to the Hancock County government site. They can also un-do ordinances if they agree with a citizen’s resolution to do so. Their reach is deep and wide in the county as they decide matters from zoning ordinances to overseeing the design and construction of a new county jail.

The Hancock County Board of Commissioners is currently discussing with the county council options to relieve overcrowding at the current jail. This project requires a large financial commitment which will ultimately be paid for by county taxpayers. A county commissioner needs the skills to persuade for what they believe to be in the best interest of the citizens, both the current ones and the citizens to come. They should be critical thinkers and make time to do their own research, as should the members of the county council.

State House District 88 citizens in Fortville and McCordsville have a chance to see Brian Bosma (R) and Poonam Gill (D) debate at the Fisher’s City Auditorium on Oct. 9. This event is hosted by the LWV Hamilton County and LWV Indianapolis.

Accept these invitations, become informed, and make your best choice on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Donna Steele is president of the League of Women Voters Hancock County. Send comments to [email protected].