Claremore Daily Progress

Government

May 16, 2013

UPDATE: Recent county tax vote could be invalid

Legal notice of election not published as required by law

CLAREMORE —

 

Voters went to the polls on Tuesday passing the renewal of the Rogers County One-Cent Sales Tax, however doubts over legal publication of the election are creating concern that the election could be invalid.

Across the county 3,241 voters participated casting 1,887 ballots for the measure and 1,354 against the tax renewal.

The legal notice for the May 14 election was not published in any newspaper in Rogers County as required under Oklahoma State Statutes. 

Citizens may file a protest to contest the election in Rogers County District Court, according to Fran Roach of the Oklahoma Election Board. The election cost the county approximately $25,000.

Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson said she did not publish the legal notice for the election, when contacted by the Claremore Daily Progress. 

“Julie Dermody is responsible for that,” Anderson said.

Rogers County Election Board Secretary Dermody said after confirmation from the Oklahoma State Election Board that it is not the responsibility of her office, but that of the county clerk to publish the legal notice. The Claremore Daily Progress verified Dermody’s comment with Roach, who said the entity that calls the election via the county clerk’s office is responsible for publication of the legal notice of election.

When the tax was last renewed on Feb. 5, 2008 the legal notice was submitted to local newspapers for publication by then County Clerk Peggy Armstrong.

“I was not aware if it was published or not,” said Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker.

“Not being an attorney, I am not questioning if [the election] is legal or not,” Thacker said. “It is going to be what it is going to be.”

Thacker was informed of the issue Thursday morning and is consulting with the Rogers County District Attorney’s office.

“I don’t know which way to proceed at this time,” Thacker said. 

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