Blame game doesn’t solve problem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Blame ought to be a four-letter word. Sometimes it seems folks get so caught up in assigning blame in an issue — so caught up in trying to prove that whatever happened was somebody else’s fault — that they overlook the real issue at hand.

That seems to be just what is going on with the controversy over a box of nearly 200 unprocessed voter applications found recently at the Adams County Courthouse.

Let’s set the record straight — the fact that nearly 200 applications to vote were apparently lost in the shuffle is appalling. And, yes, alarming. And, most important, unacceptable.

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The current circuit clerk is inferring that his predecessor is to blame; the election commissioners have stepped forward to take the blame, but at least one vocally objects to accepting that blame; and calls for an investigation into who’s to blame abound.

But, ultimately, who is to blame is not the issue here. Nor is assigning fault in the incident.

The truth is, we may never know what really happened with those voter applications, and that’s a shame. But we can know what happens to each and every voter application brought into the circuit clerk’s office or forwarded on to the election commission — from this point forward.

We, or more aptly the officials in charge of both those critical components of government, can make sure a system of checks and balances is in place to prevent this type of mistake happening in the future.

And, these same people so determined to find out who is to blame right now, can turn that energy to purging and updating voter rolls; to increasing voter registration; to creating and implementing efficient, effective systems for registering and tracking those voters; to doing their jobs in a way that guarantees another box of voter applications won’t be misplaced in the future.

It’s incredulous that in the 21st century voters in Adams County should have to worry that their application to exercise their right to vote could get misplaced in a cardboard box. And, it’s incredibly frustrating to watch politics and finger-pointing — the search for blame — turn the resolution of that problem into a controversy.