Missing words anger candidate
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
July 25, 2008 · Updated 11:30 PM
A candidate for Island County commissioner is outraged that her statement in the voter’s pamphlet was truncated. And she’s not pleased with the remedy, either.
Angie Homola, who’s running against Mac McDowell, said she and her husband received their military ballots and voter’s pamphlet for the Aug. 19 primary in the mail this week. Military members who sign up receive the documents early.
Homola, a rural Oak Harbor resident, said she was shocked when she discovered that the last 33 words of her 200-word statement were cut out.
“It’s a candidate’s most important piece of advertising. Period,” she said. “And the auditor screwed it up.”
Homola, a Democrat, said she called Island County Auditor Sheilah Crider to complain and was met with ill-mannered excuses.
“I was so shocked that a department head would be so extremely rude,” she said, “and blame it on an underling and then the publisher.”
Crider admits that she was “brisk” with Homola. But Crider, a Republican who was appointed to the position, explained that she was “totally blind-sided” and didn’t realize Homola was talking about the pamphlets sent to the military.
Crider said she quickly looked into the matter and realized Homola was right. She found that the last three sentences of Homola’s statement were inadvertently chopped when a computer file was shrunk to fit the page.
“We screwed up. We did. We apologized, we are sorry and we take ownership of it,” she said.
“If I was rude, rest assured I have apologized to Ms. Homola several times,” she added.
Crider contacted the county prosecutor’s office and office of the Secretary of State. She was advised that the corrective action should be to copy the page with both candidates’ complete statements and re-mail them out to the 2,000 military personnel. She said her office immediately followed the instructions.
Crider explained that her office will mail out the voter’s pamphlets to the rest of the Island County voters late next week. Ballots will be sent separately Wednesday and Thursday.
But Homola isn’t appeased. She thinks the ballots that went with incomplete voter’s pamphlets should be rescinded. A complete package should be re-sent to those voters, she said.
“There’s no other way it can be fair,” she said.
Homola said the pamphlet error could ultimately have an effect on her chances, even though she’s guaranteed to make it through the primary to the general election. She said statistics show that the vast majority of voters make up their minds in the primary.
“This is supposed to be a fair election,” she said. “This is completely unacceptable. I have to make a very strong showing in the primary to be competitive.”
Homola is also concerned that the omission may not have been an accident. She claims that Crider told her that at least one other candidate has a chopped statement, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
“Either the auditor doesn’t have a clue, or possibly, she has a very big clue,” Homola said.
Homola said it’s ironic that one of the omitted sentences was about accountable government.
For the record, the missing text stated: “Accountable government means public notice must be clearly provided so that citizen participation is assured. Planning objectives must be fulfilled, not lost in loop holes. I will represent you with passion and dedication.”Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.