Legislation planned to end partisan selections

Sen. Kenneth Corn on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit the partisan appointment of County Election Board Secretaries.
Corn said it was important that the Legislature make a firm commitment to ending political patronage, without exceptions.  The proposal would require that Election Board Secretaries have at least three years of experience with the system.
“If we truly want to end political patronage and provide better services to the citizens of Oklahoma, then our approach to County Election Board Secretaries should be no different,” said Corn, D-Poteau.  “These are particularly demanding and consequential posts, and they should be filled by qualified and experienced administrators.  These positions are far too important to be determined by patronage.”

In 2005, Corn authored legislation that would have prohibited Oklahoma legislators from recommending tag agents to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, but the measure was not heard by the Legislature while Democrats controlled the body.  Now that Republicans hold the majority, change is possible.  Corn said efforts to end political patronage would result in improved government services.
“An office charged with administrative oversight of elections is an office that shouldn’t be treated as a patronage spoil,” Corn said.  “This is a common-sense effort to reform an out-dated system with a non-partisan, merit-based process.  I’m sure my colleagues would agree that a system without patronage would yield the highest caliber individual for any position.”