LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The Office of Election Administrator has been the talk of news stories across our state. In some counties, the entire office seems to be corrupt; there are others, in which the opposite seems true and dirty politics seem to try to overtake. We must all take initiative and follow the trail to determine the truth for ourselves. There is but one Truth, “ The love of money is the root of ALL evil” Since our EAs arrest in December, our office has been under constant attack by dirty county politics. We seem to have been fighting off some in our county leadership who want to see this office fail. They seem to dislike how well Klint and our team did their job and our loyalty to this county. Anyone associated with Klint Bush, it seems, is seen as a threat to the status quo by some within political leadership. They have gleefully jumped on the chance to use unrelated drama to destroy the good work we have done for the voters of Liberty County. I can be silent no longer.
On December 20, after the SOS opinion that the Commission was given wrong advice and the County Clerk could not be in charge with an EAs office present, I was put in charge of running the election office.
Over these last 3 years, the jurisdictions that contract with us are satisfied with our work. Our seasonal election workers have repeatedly told the county in public meetings how well our elections work under our current team. Both major political parties in the county are united in their approval of how this office handles elections.
This week’s ruling by Commissioner’s Court and the complete silence of the Election Commission has caused our county to take steps backwards in time! With May elections looming quickly, the decision was made to completely abolish the Election Office.
We have worked tirelessly to keep the integrity of our office. I have continued studying new laws, and we have contracted with the 13 jurisdictions, dealt with 5 cancellations, and one special election. Each of these requiring different postings, paperwork, and timelines, we have dealt with getting answers from SOS lawyers, figuring out the logistics of running an office, making sure bills are paid and vendors are happy, organizing voting locations, times, election workers, all while still making sure to keep voter registration up to date. We have done this because we care about the honesty and integrity of elections and that can be proven in the fact none of us received any compensation for stepping up.
We received no consideration when it came to what to do with the election’s office. Not one Commission member, not one Commissioner or the County Attorney have ever asked any of us what our thoughts might be or what qualifications we might have. I have Bachelor’s degree, I have worked in elections in some capacity for 35 years in Harris and Liberty County, I worked for our previous County Clerk, worked in the ONE election our current County Clerk ran, and have worked all three years with the now abolished Elections Office.
I have been asked by some friends and even some of my family why I have stayed so long. I have thought of this and heard recently everyone must have a “why” to continue doing any job when the going gets tough. My “why” is to be able to hear from my Saviour, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” My “ why” is my family knowing I can do my best even in hard times. My ”why” can be found in Psalm 37. My “why” includes the next generation seeing and learning to stand strong for the right. My “why” is I do care for this county’s voters and My “ why” is that in my heart I love elections and seeing the process be protected with integrity, honesty and loyalty. My “why” is definitely still the reason I will continue as my road takes a different turn.
At the writing of this, I am the only full-time staff member left and I would like the voters to know, it is now in your hands alone to be ensured that your vote counts as you cast it every time. Know the laws, learn how to be poll watchers and be vigilant.
I am sure elections will go on; however, I will not be a part of the process and will not feel used any longer. I feel assured fingers will be pointed that it is the fault of our office for the way in which the county must scramble to make sense of the coming election. We have NOW been asked to stay and/or come back to get the county through elections. I worked quietly for as long as I could. I did give adequate notice that I would not be continuing to work for the county if the office was abolished. There were other decisions that could have occurred by the Commission who sat and did nothing and by the Commissioners who jumped to abolish, IF they really had the people’s best interest at heart. I heard their decision loud and clear.
To the jurisdictions having an election, I have truly enjoyed learning with you. I am asking you to understand, but more than that, I also ask that you study the law carefully and know the steps you need to take as well.
Voters, please follow through to ensure your vote counts in the proper manner. Get involved and let your voice be heard, not just commenting on what you think is the truth; but join me to get involved in County Commissioners court every other Tuesday. Learn to be a poll watcher, and then let’s vote in change in 2024!
— Anita Sikes Former Chief of Staff, Deputy EA Jude vs 22