Other Voices: Clerk-recorder should remain neutral on measures, candidates | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Clerk-recorder should remain neutral on measures, candidates

The California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials has taken a position of neutrality on the Vote Safe Now initiative.

As a matter of principle, a county clerk-recorder should not take a position on any ballot measure or candidate; he or she must remain neutral in all respects.

For any candidate for county clerk-recorder to take the chairmanship of a political campaign shows poor judgment. To do so brings into question that person’s ability to administer the office impartially.

As the Nevada County clerk-recorder, I am doing everything I can to make sure there is no voter fraud in Nevada County. In the last few years, my office has deleted 1,500 persons from the voter files who have died or moved out of the county and removed 900 duplicate voters throughout the state from our voter files.

Our new system of computerized signature-verification allows us to catch any suspicious signatures and conversely, verify difficult signatures on returned mail ballot envelopes.

I have also taken steps to improve training of election board workers in handling such things as provisional voters and the steps taken to ensure the provisional ballots can be researched properly by the Election Office before counting their ballots.

Our office contracts with the United States Postal Service to obtain data compiled by the national change-of-address system. This gathered data alerts us to any changes made to a voter’s addressing information, allowing us the opportunity to confirm a voter’s address is correct before sending out mail ballots, which greatly reduces the possibility for voter fraud.

The county clerk-recorder is a professional, administrative position – not a legal position. Over the years, I have seen candidates for the office of clerk-recorder, who are attorneys with legal experience in some field that has nothing to do with elections.

As county clerk, if legal issues arise, you rely on county counsel and the Secretary of State’s office for advice. They are the experts; they have the necessary legal experience.

It is essential, in my judgment, for the holder of this professional office to chart a strict central course, treating all clients and voters with strict impartiality. This is something understood by election administrators and those with professional experience in managing the Office of Clerk-Recorder.

Gregory J. Diaz is the Nevada County clerk-recorder.

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