It was a long morning for a few candidates running for elected positions. There was plenty of confusion in the Secretary of States office when several delegates found their names absent from the Candidate List. For reasons ranging from the absence of expenditure forms, misplacement of forms by the SOS office, and uninformed candidates, the morning has called into question the operations of the that office.
One story in particular may raise some eyebrows. Marika Hanson had many troubles with the SOS office starting early this morning. Hanson was running for Executive Director of the Lobbyist Program, but found out today that her name was not on the Candidate List. “I handed it in [the forms] before noon on Friday and they took them and told me it was good and I was fine”. Hanson was confused why her name was left off the ballot, as she did everything right. She spoke to the Secretary of State, who informed her that she never handed her forms in. Delegates witnessed Hanson filling out and submitting the forms, but the SOS office still rejects the possibility of the mistake being on their end. She filed multiple formal complaints and the responses have told her she still is not eligible to run. Marika shared her disappointment and worry with the whole situation, and the possibility of the problem reoccurring.
This was not the only sort of issues to occur this morning. I myself ran into complications with the SOS office. Last night I was made aware that my name was not on the Candidate List. I spoke with the Secretary of State and she eventually found out I was not on the list because her office had never received all of my forms. This was shocking to me because a SOS staff member had informed me, when I requested the necessary forms to run, that there was just one form needing to be filled out. I completed this step, and was unaware of any further ones. I handed in my expenditure form the following morning bright, early, and much before the deadline, and an SOS staff member took the form, and my picture for the Voters Guide. They did not inform me when I picked up the form, or when I returned it about any further forms, so I was under the impression I had all of the paperwork done and was good to go. Then I was made aware of the lack of a Program Area Candidate Filing form, Saturday morning. As a delegate I would assume that SOS staff members would have given me all the forms I needed for candidacy without me needing to double and triple check each form myself, considering candidate forms are a main job of the Secretary of State staff members. It was a highly frustrating situation being that I lacked prior knowledge of both of these forms, and learning of other delegates with similar situations. To further the list, there was a further problem of misspelled names on the Candidates List.
Overall, my hope is that in future years we build upon our mistakes and fix our problems. I have most certainly learned my lesson to double check and even triple check processes of this degree of importance. I hope the Secretary of State office will improve on these issues by informing candidates of all the forms required, in full and at the same time, as well as focusing on organization to avoid mishaps of lost forms and misspelled names. The Secretary of State’s office puts in incredible amounts of work for the program, and that does not go without notice. It is unfortunate that these situations couldn’t be resolved to the extent that the would-be candidates had hoped, but my goal is to continue to improve upon the current systems, and weed out as many mistakes as we can.
Written By Belen Benway, Digital Media