OPINION — DAN GOOKIN: Come on, Clerk Brannon: This isn’t transparency

Print Article

Clerk Jim Brannon’s recent episode of a ballot recount came as a surprise to everyone. Mr. Brannon insisted that he was being transparent, but his comments in The Press last week cast more shadows than shed any light.

I ran against Mr. Brannon last fall for the position of County Clerk. I have no regrets, other than I’ve looked deep into this position and still believe that the person occupying it falls dreadfully short of any form of competency. Still, the electorate has spoken (after two months to a final, accurate degree), and I accept the results.

My thoughts on this topic wandered back to former County Clerk Cliff Hayes. I wondered how he would have handled a similar incident?

First, I believe Cliff would have issued a press release prior to the recount. In the press release, he would have disclosed (this is full transparency, Jim) the nature of the recount:

“On such-and-such a day, the Clerk’s office was alerted to a ballot discrepancy. An alert citizen/poll worker/staffer informed me that potential error may have occurred. Apparently absentee ballots/in person voting was drawn into question on such-and-such a date due to this/that issue.

“To be certain of the election results, this office has ordered a recount of the early voting ballots. This recount will be held on Jan. 2. Interested members of the public are urged to attend.”

As far as I know, the Clerk’s office under Jim Brannon issued no such press release. Instead, a concerned insider contacted me regarding the pending recount. I emailed Mike Patrick and suggested that the event might be something newsworthy. It was.

In the article Thursday (Jan. 3), “Recounting a Mystery,” Brannon’s comments came off as evasive. They raised more questions than they answered: What specific event prompted the recount? Why was it necessary if the results weren’t going to change the outcome? And, most importantly, when was the discrepancy discovered?

In Friday’s follow-up (Jan. 4), “Audit Uncovers Missing Ballots,” Brannon again comes off as evasive and dismissing of any concerns. He fails to answer what motivated the recount. He claims responsibility for the election’s accuracy, but doesn’t own up to the two months it took him to ensure that accuracy.

The coincidental dismissal of longtime elections supervisor Carrie Phillips adds more mystery to this non-transparent event. Brannon repeats that her termination had little to do with the recount, but the timing is curious.

Had Mr. Brannon an iota of an inkling of a notion of what transparency really meant, this episode would be a non-issue. Actually, it is a non-issue because nothing changed, other than our own County Clerk fails to grasp the concept of transparency and further has cast doubt on his abilities to run a timely, accurate election.

For the voters to have faith in the election process, it would be best if the county’s chief elections officer instilled confidence, provided a modicum of honesty, and fully understood what it means to be transparent. Please, Mr. Brannon, come clean on this event.

• • •

Dan Gookin is a Coeur d’Alene resident. He also serves as a member of the Coeur d’Alene City Council.

Print Article

Read More My Turn

OPINION: LUPE WISSEL — Idaho is not just for the young

January 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press On behalf of AARP Idaho and our 186,000 members across the Gem State, I would like to applaud Gov. Little’s priorities outlined in his first State of the State address. We agree Proposition 2 deserv...

Comments

Read More

Poking holes in Mann’s ‘global cooling’ assertions

January 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press I’m writing in response to Randy Mann’s “Sunspot Activity is Non-Existent” weather column that was published in the Press on Nov. 26 of last year. In the column Mann predicts that a multidecadal peri...

Comments

Read More

OPINION: SCOTT JONES — Compensation system unfair to sheriff’s deputies

January 16, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The men and women of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office are grossly underpaid. This must be fixed — the status quo fails to recognize the risks they take and the sacrifices they make; harms public ...

Comments

Read More

OPINION — CHUCK MALLOY: No ‘learning curve’ for this governor; he’s ready

January 11, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Gov. Brad Little. That has a nice ring to it. Almost any change at the top looks good to me, whether it’s the presidency, or governor of Idaho — and Little’s rise to the state’s highest office is no...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2019 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X