Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 56
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for August 17, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Last week, I wrote a letter about the difficulty of finding out exactly what our candidates stand for. Now, I want to complain about the difficulty of finding out how they did – and I’m not even talking about how slowly the Johnson County returns are reported compared to neighboring counties. Our area newspapers publish local returns, and perhaps the totals for the statewide races, but it ranges from difficult to impossible to find certain multi-county or minor party returns. Since I’m an adherent of one of those minor parties (the Libertarian), I like to look at our candidates’ vote totals – and I can’t.

While the Secretary of State website is generally a good place to go to find vote totals, but for some reason it publishes only the contested races. That means it doesn’t even show the totals for our own 121st Legislative District, since neither Deleta Williams nor John Angel were opposed for their parties’ nominations. Reported results for the 120th District, which includes substantial portions of Johnson County in addition to Henry & parts of Cass & St. Clair, don’t include the unopposed Libertarian candidate, Wally Dzula. One can’t judge the relative strengths Jim Howerton’s challenge to Harold Caskey in the 31st Senatorial district this fall. And so it goes.

Why, you may ask, are these returns important? To begin with, the taxpayers paid for the election, so we have a right to know. Potential donors might want to know if backing a particular candidate is likely to be a waste of funds. Minor parties need to know if they’re making progress. A nice start would be if the Secretary of State would include all races above County level in her website.

Then, it would be nice if each county would have a website that would list returns, candidate financial disclosures, etc. With the tools available today, it’s easy to create a basic County website; webspace shouldn’t cost over a couple hundred dollars per year. Wouldn’t it be nice if Johnson County had an informative website with information about the county, links to our cities’ sites, office hours for the various offices, and even the public meeting notices and minutes of these meetings? How about it, County Clerk & County Commissioners?

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