A different perspective

Chelsea Baars, Jay Em, Wyoming

A different perspective


To the editor,

I wish to address the editorial published by the Newcastle News Letter Journal on Oct. 27th entitled, “Transparency is in the public’s best interest.” The sentiment expressed in the title isn’t bad. Transparency requires integrity and honesty, something extremely rare in politics and the media. However, I believe the viewpoint expressed doesn’t accurately reflect what happened during the HD 2 Representative replacement process and creates unnecessary controversy. I can attest to the procedure as I was able to attend both public meetings in mid-October. I submit that the process was extremely fair. Both meetings were run efficiently and professionally.

Following candidate interviews at the tri-county commissioner meeting, each elected official was given a prepared paper ballot, marked with their respective county so it would be calculated correctly for the weighted voting process (See W.S. 22-8-111 (a)(iii)(D) for details). As the ballots were distributed, a lady from the audience asked why the votes were being cast privately. It was a public meeting, why not a voice vote? Admittedly, it was a valid point. Commissioners Wade and Ellis courteously explained that voice votes tend to influence individuals who vote before or after another. The ballot process encouraged those voting to think for themselves. Additionally, when an individual knows someone voted against them, it inevitably causes friction in the future – this permitted a good working relationship from the start. All were invited to watch the ballot counting/tabulating process, and copies of the ballots would be filed with all three county clerks. Extremely polite and honest about their thought process, the Commissioners inquired if that was satisfactory, and with no objection, the voting resumed. Their transparency required a lot of integrity. 

The meeting recessed while the votes were tabulated. Many of those present wandered the room to visit with friends and neighbors. Meanwhile I stayed near my seat, but positioned myself to watch the county clerks handling the ballots. Sitting at the fore-left of the room, they did everything in plain view, extremely transparent. 

Contrary to the editorial published, I don’t think the selection procedure was secretive or underhanded at all. I believe it was handled with extreme care and professionalism. If you have concerns about it, I’d encourage you to go to the courthouse and examine the ballots. I also trust the Commissioners would happily visit with you about that meeting in
further detail.



Chelsea Baars, Jay Em, Wyoming 


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