A Knee Jerk Reaction and a Jerk’s Reaction

Duncan Seeks Resignation of Election Chiefs

If you live in Maryland or even the Washington Metropolitan Area you know that there were some significant blunders with the voting process in Montgomery County (and Baltimore).  Some of you probably showed up early at the polls on your way to work ready to vote only to find out that your polling place was not prepared to take your vote.

This is because, according to The Washington Post article, “…elections officials forgot to distribute the plastic cards needed to activate the electronic voting machines.” 

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and County Council President George L. Leventhal, being the good politicians that they are, have called for the “…the county’s top two elections officials to be fired…”

But this is the typical knee jerk reaction we get from our elected representatives. Let’s be real.  The general election is just over six weeks away.  Does anyone really think that if we were to replace everyone responsible for the election process at this point that someone new could have things fixed and ready by November 7th?

Doug, good or bad your political career is over.  Quit acting like a politician jerking your head and knee based upon the political winds.  Instead start using your common sense to guide your mouth.  It will take you a lot further when you enter the private sector.

As for the election process screw ups, some of you may wonder how the election judges could not have known they didn’t have the cards necessary to begin voting until the morning of the election.  The voting machines and everything else are delivered the night before for set up so why didn’t anyone notice the cards were missing.

I have a friend who has been working nights for several weeks helping to set up and test all the voting machines.  Apparently, the judges are not allowed to open the bags that the cards are in until that morning (this is to prevent tampering).  So the bags were there, they just didn’t have the cards in them.

Here is the good or bad part depending upon why you are reading this.

Rumor has it that the person who was responsible for checking to make sure all the right cards are in the right bags before they go out is known to have made repeated mistakes in the past.  The Washington Post says that Paul Valette had been identified “…as the elections operations manager who was supervising the staff that omitted the voting cards from the supply bags sent to precincts.”  I do not know and I am not saying, infering, implying or any other term you want to use that Mr. Vallette is the person the Rumor I heard is referring to or not.  I am just quoting the newspaper.

The Rumor also included that an individual who works with the “repeat mistake maker” has covered for him and caught his mistakes so many times in the past, that this year they refused to even double check his work.

If this Rumor is true, there are so many things wrong on so many levels. 

First, if someone is known to be incompetent in their job and have repeatedly made errors that others have had to catch, why are they still employed?  We all make mistakes, but in a position of apparent authority and importance, where do we draw the line?

Second, and honestly most concerning, if you are a government employee or even if you are a volunteer who is helping with the election process and you know someone is prone to making mistakes, why would you not either double check their work or at least alert someone else that it should be double checked?  I mean really…..

People do not take pride in their work any more.  We have become lazy and selfish.  “It’s not my job” has been joined by “I don’t get compensated for that” and “It’s not my problem.”

So while our politician’s had a knee jerk reaction to what happened, there are those in our government who were Jerks for not preventing it from happening.

All I can say is that in the pending investigation of what went wrong with the election process, I hope that the people responsible are held accountable and that the people who suspected there could be a problem but did nothing to fix it be held equally accountable.

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