County addressing concerns as election draws near

A couple of Clark County residents have been worrying over foreign involvement in the election process as Nov. 6 draws near.

Officials have responded to some of the concerns, and since it’s public record, we might as well share.

Birth certificates

Clark County commissioners were asked for their birth certificates during a public meeting back in September. The petitioner, Jeffery R. Stanton, pointed out that President Barack Obama released his birth certificate. And Stanton had a copy of his own.

Commissioners responded by letter on Oct. 3.

“There is no such record of citizenship kept nor is any required to be submitted by citizens to the county commissioner’s office,” says the letter, signed by all three commissioners.

The letter also addresses some concerns over mail-in ballots and polling places. In a verbose way, it explains the county can’t do anything about that as it’s mandated by the state.

Stanton wrote back on Oct. 10, asking a number of questions including a query if commissioners believe candidates for office should have to provide birth certificates as part of the public record.

As of now, that’s the end of the communication.

Foreign observers

The Columbian was included on an email sent to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey on Oct. 26 requesting assurance that no foreign influences will be meddling in Clark County elections.

Robert R. Larimer Jr., author of the email, says he’s heard reports of United Nations observers heading to the United States to oversee the 2012 election, and he wants to make sure that won’t be happening in Clark County.

Larimer writes: “My vote and the sovereignty of the United States of America are of utmost importance to me, and I therefore urgently request a signed letter of assurance from your office stating that no foreign nationals claiming observer or inspector or any other special status will be allowed near polling places, areas where U.S. citizen’s votes are being counted, ballot storage areas, or Elections or Auditor’s offices.”

Kimsey is working on a letter to assure Larimer the process won’t be compromised.

Certified elections observers, local individuals named by their political party to serve as observers of the process, are allowed to watch over local elections. But other than that, Kimsey said he’s not aware of any plans for extra eyes on ballots.

I hadn’t heard of this, so I did a bit of investigating. (I searched around on Google for as long as a lunch break lasts.)

I couldn’t find anything on a UN group (maybe because the UN website was down) but did find a group called the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. They are observing the elections, and apparently they’ve done so since 2002.

Here are the reports from 2004 and 2008.

And here are the first and the second reports from the current election.

Reading through the reports doesn’t reveal anything nefarious. In fact, they generally praise the United States for its process. The reports go into some controversies debated during the election cycles, but on the whole these read like book reports – simply stating what they saw.

And while this group apparently won’t be in Clark County, Kimsey said he’s heard of such things before.

“It’s not unusual in the elections world,” Kimsey said. “We’ve all heard of Jimmy Carter going overseas to observe.”

That’s true. The Carter Center has checked out quite a few elections over the years.

I wonder if an official for China’s Guangdong province has ever drafted a letter reassuring a concerned voter over Carter’s observations.

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle covers Clark County government for The Columbian. He can be followed on facebook at, on Twitter at @col_clarkgov or contacted by email at

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