2008-09-18 / Letters to the Editor

Attacks on clerk are 'misleading and wrong'

Sheryl Tussey, the unsuccessful candidate for Markey Township Clerk in the August primary, continues to "fire away" with her political shotgun hoping to "hit" something- anything! She lost a closely contested election fair and square. The recount she requested confirmed the results. She now asks a "third bite of the apple" by becoming a write-in candidate for the general election.

Obviously, it's her right to seek public office as often as she pleases. We're not sure, however, that our community is prepared or needs the "win by any means necessary" approach she appears to be taking. Her latest negative attacks on Clerk Esther Rons- if not slanderous- at best are misleading and wrong.

Clerk Rons, who has served the citizens of Markey Township for six years as deputy clerk and clerk, decided to continue the practice of her predecessor, Shirley Meibeyer, concerning the registration of voters. For a good number of years, the local Secretary of State office has handled voter registration for the township. When the issue was raised earlier this summer at a "meet the candidates" forum, Mrs. Rons agreed to register voters at the township hall if the current system was creating problems for new voters. She stands by that promise- so what's the issue?

Secondly, Mrs. Tussey now criticizes Clerk Rons for the many spoiled absentee ballots that were cast in the last primary election. It's common knowledge that "spoiled ballots" are a fact of life in primary elections as some voters make the mistake of trying to vote in both the Democratic and Republican nominating contests. This is not a unique problem in Markey Township!

Each state establishes its own type of political party nominating primary. The open primary that was adopted by the State of Michigan (not Markey Township or Washington D. C.), is much less restrictive than the closed primary elections held in various other states. In Michigan, we are not required to prove party affiliation before voting in a primary election (as is mandatory in closed primary states) Therefore, independent voters are permitted to vote in these "nominating" elections. Sometimes voters make the mistake of trying to select "the best" candidate in each party's primary. This is very often what creates spoiled ballots. Since absentee voters are not present on election day when absentee ballots are fed into the voting machine, errors or spoiled ballots cannot be corrected.

Election laws have been created to prevent voter fraud and manipulation. These laws, as we all know, must be enforced impartially to ensure fair and honest elections. In this instance, Clerk Rons and the election officials did their jobs and did them well.

In closing, we suspect that Esther Rons lost as many- if not more- votes than candidate Tussey when the flawed absentee ballots were rejected by the voting machine. s/Jim & Sue Gibson Houghton Lake

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