DOŅA ANA COUNTY ELECTIONS PANEL
JULY 27, 2006
Present: Maria Silva-Sutton, Lynn Ellins, Judy Baker, Sid Goddard, Vicky Harder, Connie Lee, David Lutz. Absent: Melinda Whitley and Felicia Ybarra. Guest: Bob Hearn, Media Specialist/Recording Secretary;
Minutes of the last meeting were approved.
Lynn Ellins asked for comments from Saturday's public meeting. Everyone shared copies of all the written comments, notes made from verbal testimony and charts made from the breakdown and collation of data from all the participants as presented on their filled out sheets. 28 people attended, some of whom did not participate and at least one who was from the local media. Commissioner McCamley also was present. 20 or 21 people spoke. One spoke for 20 minutes, but most spoke for 3 to 5 minutes.
There was some general discussion that for the next public meeting a time limit should be set. Everyone filled out the form supplied by the committee. Maria suggested that at the next public meeting they also supply a list for each person wanting to speak to sign. That will give committee members a chance to screen out those who have already spoken or to save them for last. Vicky was concerned that some people might have wanted to speak but were intimidated by those who spoke too long or came with lengthy written documentation.
Judy Baker asked how important it was to tally the answers to the questions on the forms, since such a small number would be available for collating. All seemed to agree that it is helpful information, and by the time three public meetings have been held, a substantial amount of data might be available.
The group discussed the large amount of information gained at the meeting about people who had been properly trained as poll workers but were never called to serve, or, as also happened, they went to their assigned voting places and were told to go home.
The discussion moved on to plans for interviewing the DAC Election Bureau's permanent and temporary staff. Being interviewed was an option for them, but most have agreed to do so. David Lutz has spoken to the County Attorney about assurance that there would be no retaliation of employees or lack of confidentiality. Employees were scheduled for up to one-hour interviews each. Two members of the committee will interview each employee simultaneously. Interviews will take place this coming week. As of today, eight people are lined up for interviews, with three to five others expected to follow.
Lynn Ellins spoke about being on Mike Swickard's radio program this morning and how difficult it was to maintain confidentiality.
Secretary Bob Hearn passed out copies of financial reports he got from the office.
Possible field trips were discussed. Vicky Harder reminded them that some counties just are too rural and too small to warrant comparison. However, Sandoval and Santa Fe are close to the same size and have similar staffing patterns as Dona Ana County. The general feeling was that if they could see both places on the same day it would be worth it. There was also some discussion about spending part of a day in Alamogordo, since they have the same kind of machines that Dona Ana County has. Any trips will come after the interviews with employees.
The suggestion was made to interview Shirley Clark, City Clerk, too. She has routinely worked with the County Election Bureau to run municipal elections.
Lynn discussed the publicity around the use of a web site for public input. The site will be part of the County Web Page and be called inputelectionpanel.org.
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