WILMINGTON — As of Friday, Aug. 15 the Clinton County Board of Elections’ director is resigning, with her successor possibly appointed as early as next week.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Hart has been elections director since February 2006. The director manages day-to-day operations in the county board of elections office.
“I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done here, and am passionate about the work. I expected to get in a full 10 years, and maybe work part-time after that,” Hart said Wednesday.
She held off comment on her reasons for resigning until Friday, saying heath is a small part of it.
In addition to the position of director, the board is accepting applications for deputy director. Currently, no one holds that title in the elections office.
Presently, the chairperson for the Clinton County Board of Elections is Steve Fricke, a Republican. The board’s chairperson and the new director have to be from different political parties.
Likewise, a director and deputy director have to have different political party affiliations.
Fricke said Wednesday, “We of course are saddened to receive Betsy’s resignation. She’s done a terrific job for us and for the voters the past eight years and certainly will be missed.”
Regarding the deputy director opening, Fricke said the board decided to have a deputy position going forward. It will not mean the staff will be expanded in size, he said.
Hart said she thinks during her tenure, the office was able to modernize and organize the elections process.
The first couple of elections, she said, were “kind of bumpy. But after that there were no major election issues.”
When she assumed her position, it coincided with the arrival of new voting equipment. The new equipment stemmed from the disputed 2000 presidential election and its problems elsewhere in counting punch cards with hanging chads. Clinton County had opted to switch to an optical-scan type of voting equipment, with the main alternative being touch-screen machines.
One thing she’s particularly pleased about is the office’s performance in communicating with voters about the voting process, something “extremely important” in a democracy, Hart said.
She said she tried to learn from each election and to that end, examined poll workers’ comments among other things.
“I gave it my all,” Hart said.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574, ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.