Claremore Daily Progress

September 19, 2013

Grand Jury petition signature collection continues

Verification process clarified by Dermody

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Organizers of the Rogers County grand jury petition have three weeks left to collect signatures.
As the deadline approaches, the offices of Rogers County Court Clerk Kim Henry and Rogers County Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody are preparing for the verification and certification of the petition signatures.
Petitioner organizers recently announced on Facebook the effort has resulted in the collection of about 5,000 signatures, none of which have been validated.
Since the petition was filed 372 new voter registrations have been processed by the election board, according to Dermody.
Due to the extent of petition questions and the Rogers County District Attorney and staff being named in the petition, the officials say they have not been able to use Assistant District Attorney David Iski as legal counsel.
The issue is a conflict of interest for Iski, as well as, Dermody and Henry. 
As a result, the two offices have been seeking assistance from Attorney General, state election board and neighboring county officials.
As a result of these efforts,  Dermody sent a letter dated Aug. 29 to Henry, including petition verification procedures.
Henry posted the procedures online at www.oscn.net in case number GJ-2013-1.
According to the documents, signatures must be   registered voters and can be printed or written.
Although the petition has columns for voters to print, sign and list their address, the election board will count a signature, which is placed in the wrong column.
Both active and inactive voters may sign a petition, according to the document.
The instructions clearly instruct the officials to “assume each name is valid” and give the “benefit of the doubt” to the signer.
“Example: if the name on the petition is C.P. Jones and a registration is on file for Charles Paul Jones, the signature should be counted as valid unless it can be proved absolutely that they are not the same person,” according to the document.
Signatures listed with partial addresses, no address or the wrong address should be counted, according to the document.
“I encourage people to continue to get out and sign the petition. We have about 20 days remaining and we need everyone to participate,” Steve Cox. “Even though we have made great progress, we need to collect more signatures to make sure we can meet the 4,487 signatures required after any challenges.”
Cox said the group will be hosting signing drives this weekend at the Inola Hay Days Sept. 20 and 21.
“Every signature counts and we need people to turn in signature pages they have collected.” Cox said. 
“Every signature is a person’s voice and each voice needs to be heard.”
Petition headquarters are  open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.

Read the instructions on the Grand Jury Petition