- E-mail interview conducted with Clerk of Superior Court candidates Carter Brown (incumbent) and Kellie Maples. Second of twelve Q&A’s scheduled before the July 31st vote.
LU: What is your full name, and what name do you generally go by?
- BROWN: Carter Eugene Brown – I go by Carter
MAPLES: Kellie Jean Maples I go by Kellie.
LU: What is your age?
- BROWN: I am 49 years old
MAPLES: I am 45.
LU: What is your address? (We will only publish the street, not your house number.)
- BROWN: My apologies, but the safety and privacy of my family precludes this answer.
MAPLES: [redacted] Corinth Road LaFayette, GA 30728
LU: How can voters contact you or stay in touch with your campaign? (Please include info like e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. if applicable.)
- BROWN: www.carterbrownforclerk.com cell 423-504-7067
LU: How long have you lived in the county, and (if applicable) where else have you lived?
- BROWN: Lifelong resident of Walker County, except for a period of 5 years I lived in Dade County on Lookout Mountain.
MAPLES: 34 years, I was born in Michigan and lived there until the age of 11, my parents were both from Walker Co. but relocated before I was born for employment purposes. We had a home here since I was 4 or 5 years old though and now I live in that home.
LU: What’s the best thing about living in this community?
- BROWN: It’s peaceful, it’s friendly, it’s small. I’ve travelled to 8 different countries and 20 different states – This is still the best place in the world to live.
MAPLES: Love the people and the fact everyone is friendly and are always there for you in your time of need. We have a community that really comes together to show support when needed. One example is when my mother had surgery and was in ICU for weeks before she passed away. Several members of the community came to visit her and were there for my brother and I. They took time away from their own family to spend time with us in our time of need.
LU: Starting as early as you want, what kind of education do you have?
- BROWN: Graduate of LaFayette High School, Graduated from Covenant College w/ Bachelor’s Degree in Management, Concentration in Accounting – Graduate of the Basic Superior Court Clerk Certificate Course – Completed 3 years of Advanced Superior Court Clerk Certificate Courses at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia”
MAPLES: 1985 Graduate of Lafayette High School and attended the Carl Vinson Institute for Government at The University of Georgia.
LU: What previous jobs or elected positions have you held?
- BROWN: No Elected Positions, except for the current one. I’ve hauled hay, dug ditches, and been a groundskeeper up through college. As a Marine, I’ve warehoused, documented, and distributed high volume inventories of ammunition, both in peacetime and in a combat zone, as well as leading a platoon of Marines. I’ve been a Maintenance Clerk, managing the budget and the records, then risen to lead the department as supervisor. I’ve been a Business Manager at a high end construction firm. I’ve been a Management Accountant, responsible for intake, receipting, and accounting for several million dollars in Revenue per year, as well as accounting for and auditing several million dollars in Operating Expenses per year.
MAPLES: I worked 10 Years full time for the Walker Co. Assessor’s Office and 1 Year for Walker Co. Planning and Enforcement full time. I then began working as a Title Examiner and have continued as an Examiner for the past 8 years.
LU: Do/will aspects of your education or job experiences make you a Clerk of Court? If so please explain.
- BROWN: Absolutely. I have 20 years combined previous experience in various settings, developing the 3 main skill sets necessary for A Clerk of Superior Court, which are: 1) BUSINESS PRACTICE / DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT – Develop, implement and maintain high volume computerized records systems, 2) FINANCE – Multi-million dollar custodial finance and expense accounting, and 3) PEOPLE – Team Leadership, Management and Supervisory Experience, and Customer Service” – Further, I am the only person currently qualified to serve as Clerk of Superior Court in Walker County. All my mandated training hours are up to date, and a new Clerk, prior to taking office, would have to complete the 40 hour basic clerk training course – at an additional cost of approximately $2000 to Walker County taxpayers – a course that I have already successfully completed.
MAPLES: I have experience in County government and experience of working as a public servant for more than 20 yrs. With my current job I have the opportunity to visit other clerk’s offices in our District and see how they are run. It is much easier and quicker when I go in those offices compared to when I go in the Walker County Clerk’s office. I also have the qualifications that Mr. Brown did not have the advantage of when he took office in 2009.
LU: Several have asked us exactly what the Clerk of Court does. In your own words, please explain the duties of this position.
- BROWN: First, I will discuss the overall responsibilities of the office. I will then discuss items that are specific to the Clerk himself. 1) The Clerk is the Legal Custodian of Court Case Files for Superior, State, and Juvenile Courts, and the Legal Recorder and Custodian of Real Estate Documents for all of Walker County. In both Court Files and Deed Records, the process is similar – Receive a document, Receipt fees, stamp, scan, index, file, preserve, and retrieve documents. The Clerk manages the Jury Pool and the General Jury Process, in partnership with the Presiding Judge of each court. The Clerk collects, accounts for, provides safekeeping of, and disburses court fines, court and user fees for the three courts and the Real Estate Division, which is roughly $1.5 to $2 million per year. The Clerk also acts as custodian for funds paid into the registry of the court, and held separately until paid out to individuals, in amounts ranging from $1 to $4 million. The Clerk also provides similar custodial finance services when the County conducts a tax sale, safekeeping excess tax sale funds until paid out to legally entitled private citizens. This amount will typically be less than $100,000 per year, but of course can vary. There are seven distinct customer groups the Clerk’s Office serves: Superior Court Criminal / Superior Court Civil / State Court Criminal / State Court Civil / Juvenile Court (Both DFACS and DJJ)/ Real Estate (Both RE Professionals and Regular Citizens) / Administrative (This includes Notary Public Certificates, Trade Name Registrations, Veterans, etc.) Each customer group is distinct in their particular needs and characteristics. Each division of the Clerk’s staff has different sets of laws, rules, document flow, and schedules that govern it, with varying types and levels of demands placed on it.
2) The primary tasks of the Modern Clerk have changed significantly in the last 15 years, with much of it being behind the scenes. The majority of my time is spent doing 6 things: 1) Technology – building and taking advantage of a new technology platform takes much time and focus. It is much more than just “computers” – it is managing and distributing information in a variety of ways to a wide variety of users, through the use of a variety of electronic media. – 2) Cost Management – Much of my time is spent reviewing, revising, and adjusting our actual expenditures, to make the most of the tax dollars allotted to us. 3) Personnel – Managing any group of people can be a challenge and a great reward. I am proud of the tremendous staff that I am blessed to work with. 4) Finance and Banking – Much of my job involves keeping safe custody of private citizens’ money that has been paid into the registry of the court. I have to make sure the funds are secure, portable, continually accounted for, and readily accessible. 5) Decision Making – I serve 7 Judges, 11 employees, 1500 Jurors, 200 plus attorneys, and thousands of citizens per year. We file 10,000 court cases per year, and maintain millions of pages of documents stretching back to 1883. People’s lives change every day in the courthouse, and most often those lives intersect with the Clerk’s Office – There are dozens of decisions that have to be made concerning the running of the Clerk’s office, that fall to me. This is one of the most important, and one of the most rewarding, parts of the job for me. 6)Leadership and Vision– The absolute and most important task I have is to Set a Vision, and Lead the Office toward it.
MAPLES: The Clerk’s office is the Custodian of records for the Judicial System and the public.
LU: During your time as Clerk of Court, what would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? (Brown only)
- BROWN: This answer has several aspects to it, but the short version is that I have opened the door to the future, and begun to move the Clerk’s office into it, in tangible, detailed, visible ways. We aren’t there yet, but we are making steady progress.
LU: What would you say is the greatest accomplishment of the sitting Clerk of Court, and is there anything your opponent has done during his time in office that you intend to emulate? (Maples only)
- MAPLES: Mr. Brown has made the process easier for those having to serve on a jury, by implementing a check in process for possible jurors.
LU: Is there anything from your time in office that you regret or wish you could do differently? (Brown only)
- BROWN: No, not at all. Now, everyone has things they can do better, and I certainly have room for improvement. I am just a man, so I have plenty of shortcomings. But your question is not about performance or perfection, but about regret. So in relation to regrets, I have none. Each day, I have tried to do my best. When I came into office, I brought with me a vision for the Clerks Office, and a set of standards to go by. While I have tried to be flexible in applying them, I haven’t backed off my vision or my standards. At times people have misunderstood that, but I am at peace about every step we’ve taken, and every day I have been in office.
LU: What would you say is the biggest failure of the sitting Clerk, and what actions of your opponent would you have done differently? (Maples only)
- MAPLES: Mr. Brown has locked down and closed off the employees from the public which makes it very impersonal for those visiting this office. The fact that the Books from 2009 until recent are only on computer and there is no hard copy available makes it inconvenient for those who are not computer friendly. Also, if the system were down the records would not be readily available.
LU: What are your priorities for the next four years if you’re elected/reelected?
- BROWN: MAKE JUROR SERVICE EASIER BY: 1) Expanding our juror reception services by developing a jury assembly room, and implementing a juror orientation session prior to court. 2) Acquiring more comfortable seating arrangements for jurors; 3) Improving our communications with jurors both before and during court; 4) Improving the data (names, addresses, and status) we have on jurors, and continue working to eliminate sending summons to those who have moved, are full-time students, and those who are resting in peace.
• CONTINUE ADVANCING OUR COURTS DIVISION BY: 1) Processing and Delivering information on open cases more effectively by staying on the cutting edge of court technology and changes in the court system; (Developing and implementing an e-filing system and procedures will be a large component of this) 2) Build an archive system that will save money, free up space, and still keep records readily available via electronic means
• CONTINUE ADVANCING OUR REAL ESTATE DIVISION BY: 1) Implementing the 2nd phase of my Real Estate improvement plan (THE 1ST PHASE WAS TO GO ‘BOOKLESS” which we did on January 10, 2011.) The 2nd phase is in 3 parts: A) Achieve certification for myself and my Real Estate staff from the Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority in Historical Re-Indexing B) Re-Index and Scan Deeds and Liens into the software system, back to 1961, enabling a 50 year title search on computer. C) Achieve certification for this set of computerized records, and make them available on my local website to the general public as an official source document. 2) Develop and implement a fraud deterrent plan, which will notify property owners when documents are recorded that reference their property.
• CONTINUE ADVANCING OUR FINANCE & BANKING OPERATIONS BY: 1) Upgrading our auxiliary (support) bookkeeping function to a software customized for government accounting 2) Take advantage of emerging bank technology to streamline our custodial fund functions
• CONTINUE ADVANCING OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE FUNCTION BY: 1) Implementing a Customer Feedback process – Continue listening to what’s important to our customers – Take steps to improve; 2) Developing and Conducting Staff Training that Focuses on “Customer Experience”. 3) Continuing to improve our skills and knowledge in each of the seven divisions of the Clerks Office. 4) Build on our current web presence, and develop further ways to provide information to our constituents and citizens via the Internet and emerging Mobile Apps. 5) Expand the Community Outreach program that I began last year, taking information, education, and services from the Clerk’s Office out to the Community Centers 6) Setup to receive credit card payments in the office, not just online.
MAPLES: My priority is to make The Clerk’s office easily accessible to Attorneys, Abstractors, and Surveyors, all which depend on this office to do their job and especially to the public. All divisions, (records, criminal, civil) will be open to the public from 8-5pm even during court there will be someone to help answer your questions. I want all records easily accessible by book and on computer. I want to make it more convenient to file or retrieve documents that are public record
LU: Is there any criteria, philosophy, or overall guideline you will use when making decisions for the Clerk of Court office?
- BROWN: There are layers to this question also, but I basically examine these things: 1)What will it cost, 2)Who will it serve, 3)Is there applicable law, uniform court rule, agency regulation, or court order, and what does it require, 4)What is the context? Is there a best business practice or a developing trend that affects this situation? 5)For tougher decisions, I refer to the Book of Proverbs, and I try to stay prayed up.
MAPLES: State Mandated.
LU: We understand you have made a number of changes to the processes, security, and customer service at the Clerk of Court office. Please explain some of these changes and how they impact your office’s ability to serve the public: (Brown only)
- BROWN: A couple of examples from Real Estate: A): When I took office, the process of receiving original documents, receipting money, recording, scanning, indexing, and retrieving a real estate deed was done in two separate places, involving up to 5 different people across 3 departments, using 3 separate software packages, and taking as much as two weeks to complete. I consolidated that process to one location, 3 people in the same department, one software system, now completed in ten minutes or so. A customer can walk in, go to one place, get what they need at that one location, and be on their way. Real Estate B): By Sept. 2010, we had run out of space in our Deed Room. We had freed up all the available cabinets we had, and book #1668 went on top of the shelf. Over the next several months, several other books joined it. I recognized at that point that, along with the fall hazard, the value of the “books” was minimal because 1) the documents in them were simply extra copies printed from the computer scans, and 2) Most of the people we served simply had us print the deed they wanted from our computers and never went to the deed room to start with. This milestone is a perfect example of the decision making process I outlined above, so let’s go through the paces: 1) What will it cost? Keeping the books was costing $ 10,000 plus per year – Eliminating them cost zero – 2) Who will it serve? The books only potentially served a handful of people at the time – the 10 or so regular title abstractors that frequented the office. 3)Is there applicable law, uniform court rule, agency regulation, or court order, and what does it require? – There was no law or regulation at the time that either required or prohibited the elimination of the “books” – the law did make provision to allow it.
4) What is the context? Is there a best business practice or a developing trend that affects this situation? – In this case, there were several best business practices, and developing trends, that have since matured and intensified. Some of these are: The Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority has implemented several electronic document initiatives – PT-61 e-filings, online notary e-applications, the development of Child Support e-filing to name a few. Later this year they are expected to roll out further developments in Real Estate e-filing capabilities. Changes in state law – Recently enacted law now REQUIRES the electronic filing AND STORAGE of plats recorded in the Clerks’ office. HB 665 became state law on July 1st, and has multiple provisions both permitting and/or requiring electronic filing and/or storage of documents in the Clerk’s Office. In surrounding states, the electronic filing and storage of court and real estate documents is not only established, but in many cases is required. The Federal Courts no longer make any real provision for a paper document. The Judges’ signatures are even done electronically. Well, I saw all these trends and practices developing, and they were one more reason I felt it was time to change 5)For tougher decisions, I refer to the Book of Proverbs, and I try to stay prayed up. I did pray about this one – a lot. I knew it would create fear in some, and that change is difficult for folks to deal with. In the end, I knew it was right for the citizens of Walker County, so I made my decision and went through with it.
So on January 10th, 2011, we went “bookless” in Real Estate. Real Estate documents now are more secure, more readily accessible from a variety of locations, are readily adaptable to emerging technologies (such as smart phone apps). An electronically stored document can’t be altered, stolen, lost, Our Real Estate Division is saving at least $10,000 per year by eliminating the unnecessary duplication of the deeds.(That cost only includes the cost of printing and the binders. The true cost is actually higher, when floor space, new cabinets, and labor costs are figured in.) Further, the time and focus we placed on making those unnecessary extra copies, is now being turned to scanning the older deeds, re-indexing them and making them just as available as the new deeds.
Additionally, here is an excerpt from my website about improved services:
•Full service to Juvenile Court – The first task I accomplished when I took office in 2009 was to recruit and hire a deputy clerk with experience in the juvenile justice system. From the Clerk’s office, we are now fully serving Juvenile court. Later we worked with the court to implement a “One Child, One File” document management system. This places complete information at the Judge’s fingertips when he is making critical decisions. Information that once took hours to compile, is now within his reach in seconds.
•NO $ Needed to Get a Court Date -In 2011, I took on the added responsibility of transferring the entire process for paying a traffic ticket, from the Sheriff’s Office to the Clerk’s Office. These payments had been made in the Sheriff’s office since 1957. We also eliminated the requirement to post a cash bond as a requirement to get a court date.
•Online and Phone Credit Card Payments Now Accepted for Traffic Citations
•Faster Recording Time in Real Estate – Average recording time reduced from 2 weeks to 10 minutes
•Ongoing Training and Staff Development – We study new and existing regulations on a regular basis, working to keep pace with changes in the court system and in technology.
•Clerks in the Courtroom – I have either myself or a deputy clerk in court, each time court is in session – This is challenging when we sometimes have three courtrooms going, but it is a commitment that I made and that I’ve kept.
•One Stop Customer Service Points – When I first took office, there was only one desk where payments of any kind could be made. That meant a citizen would get service in one office, then have to go to another one to pay for it. I reorganized staff and facilities, placing 4 new One Stop Customer Service Points, each able to receipt payments. If a citizen only needs one service, such as a copy of a document, they can be in and out much faster than previously.
•Streamlined Payments to Child Support – In 2010, at the request of the Dept. of Human Resources, I took on the added responsibility of receiving Child Support Purge Funds received by the Sheriff, and transferring those funds to Child Support Recovery. By doing so, we have increased the consistency, accountability, and speed of these payments getting to the Child Support Recovery Unit.
•More Convenience for Jurors – Jury service can be a tedious experience for many folks. I am working to improve that experience with a Juror Greeting process, and by turning our break room into a place for jurors to relax for a few minutes. We also strive to deliver pay packages in person before jurors leave for the week.
That covers much about processes and customer service. I will briefly address security. I realized we needed added security measures when:
- I placed cash drawers at several points in the office
- Had an arrest of a man with an outstanding warrant that took place inside our offices
- I found that from time to time one of my ladies would be alone in an entire wing with a convicted felon, or the angry family member of a convicted felon.
So, in 2011, my staff designed their own customer service windows, with keypad entry doors. I simply afford my staff the same security measures that are in place for the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defenders’ Office, the Magistrate Court, the Planning Agency, the Tax Commissioner’s Office, the Private Attorneys’ Offices in town, and the Sheriff’s Office. While we have added security, appropriate access to documents is not restricted by our customer service windows. INAPPROPRIATE access to my staff, taxpayers funds, and vital document, IS restricted.
- Mr. Brown obviously knows a lot about his job, and has provided answers above and beyond what was asked or expected. In future election years we will note that essay answers aren’t necessary. Wow.
LU: Your opponent, the incumbent Clerk of Court, has made a number of changes to the processes, security, and customer service at the Clerk of Court office. How do you feel these changes impact the office’s ability to serve the public? (Maples only)
- MAPLES: I feel the current process has made it difficult and time consuming for the Public and Attorneys that have busy schedules when it should be a simple process with little difficulty.
LU: In this economy, voters are concerned, about fiscal restraint and responsibility. What changes, if any, have you made to the Clerk of Court office to save money for Walker County taxpayers? (Brown only)
- BROWN: Before we begin this one, let’s eliminate the smoke screen – the word “budget”. It means different things to different people. So I will not use it. The only truly meaningful number is the total actual expenditure – how much cash did you pay out? So that’s all I am going to talk about, the actual cash expenditures that I authorized. That said, let’s begin.
First, let’s talk about how much I saved. In the 3 years prior to my taking office, actual operating costs in the Clerk’s Office were on a steady rise. When, FY 2008 ended on Sep. 30, 2008, the actual total expenditures came in at $726,000. I calculate the savings using the $726,000 figure as a baseline. I took office Jan 2nd, 2009, three months into the 2009 Fiscal Year.
|FY ending||Actual Expenditures||Savings|
- As of close of business on June 30, 2012, my actual expenditures through the 3rd quarter were $440,000. Based on my total expected spending for the next three months, FY 2012 will look like this:
|FY ending||Projected Total Expenditures||Savings|
|Total Savings, 9/30/2008 through 9/30/2012||$400,000|
- To accurately reflect the savings that I can take credit for, I have to subtract the difference between my annual salary and my predecessor’s salary. That’s an annual difference of $28,000, x 4yrs, totalling $112,000.
So that brings the net savings I have produced to $288,000 through 9/30/2012.
Add in the 3 months of October, November, and December of this year saving at a rate of $8333.00 per month, and that’s $313,000 of actual net savings by the end of my first term. In my campaign adds, I have simply rounded that down to $300,000.
Second, let’s talk about the main way that I did it. There are several ways, but I will highlight one. When I took office, the Clerk’s office was paying the Cott Company between $65,000 to $70,000 per year, to provide a leased real estate software. This software did not serve any of the other six divisions of the Clerks office, thus required other software packages for the other divisions. (There were three, an obsolete one for courts, Georgia Jury, and the generic Microsoft Office suite that the staff was trying to adapt for Clerk use.) I simply cancelled the contracts, and brought in one software vendor who provided a module for each of the divisions, including all the courts, real estate, accounting, jury management, everything. The contract I negotiated had imbedded in it the future additions of e-filing, credit card processing, and web-based delivery, all at no additional charge. My negotiated price for the entire set of software and all support, is just over $12,000 per year, yielding a net savings of $53,000 per year. At the end of this year, the overall price for this software DROPS, to just over half of the current price – Another annual savings of just under $6,000 in future years, that I imbedded in the initial contract.
The other cost containment measures I have used:
-Cut back employee overtime
-Use a purchase order system to track our spending.
-Use a “zero-based” budget process each year.
-Eliminated the unnecessary duplication of deed records.
I said this in my campaign ad, and I meant it: I am very careful when I spend taxpayer money, and I always will be.
LU: One complaint you’ve made about your opponent is related to the department budget. What are your issues with the current Clerk of Court budget, and what changes will you make to bring the budget under control? (Maples only)
- MAPLES: According to his current ads Mr. Brown has saved the County 300,000.00 in spending I have received the past 4 years of budgets from the Commissioner’s office and he has actually increased his spending from the previous administration.
LU: Please summarize in a single paragraph why residents of Walker County should vote for you in the upcoming election:
- BROWN: I’ve saved taxpayer dollars, I’ve assembled a great staff – Together, we have improved services to our citizens and upgraded our technology and processes. I have a Vision for the future of the Clerks Office and a working plan to get there.
My message is entirely positive. No part of my message deals with what other candidates have done or will do. My message is centered in who I am, what I have done, and what I will do for Walker County citizens. It always will be.
MAPLES: My job requires me to visit the Clerk’s office on a daily basis. Upon my visits I have seen many things I feel could be improved. I have the experience and knowledge of how the office should operate. I want this office convenient and user friendly for the people. I bring the qualifications needed to make a difference. I will work with the Attorneys, the Abstractors, the Surveyors, the Judges and the other Government offices, but first and foremost the people to make the Clerk’s office more efficient, convenient and user friendly. I will work side by side with my employees to ensure the public’s needs are met. The changes I make will only be for the better.
LU: Is there anything else voters should know about you? Family, faith, philosophy, inspirations, etc.?
- BROWN: I love my work, I enjoy working with people, I believe deeply and completely in what we are trying to do in the Clerks’ office. I’m not a great politician, or even a good one, but I am a pretty good administrator and I am working very hard to continually improve the Walker County Clerks Office. Ultimately, it isn’t about me, but for now I have an important role to play and I am striving to do it is as well as it can be done.
MAPLES: My philosophy is everything is possible through Faith. I am of the Baptist Faith. A mother of 2 grown children, Hope Fults and Luke Williams and grandmother to a precious 9 year old boy.
Both candidates provided complete responses and show they understand the duties of the Clerk of Court and have good intentions for the office. Mr. Brown’s detailed answers, in contrast with some of Maples’ abbreviated responses, reveal that he has a good bit of knowledge and detailed plans for the future.
Maples’ main complaint against Carter is his department’s financial situation, but he provided a lot of figures to support his argument vs. her claims that don’t have much detail. Maples’ other complaints about Carter’s office changes involve employees who aren’t happy with some of the security measures put into place – but most visitors to the office we’ve heard from are happy with the changes.
In light of these responses we are personally leaning towards Mr. Carter for a second term as Clerk of Superior Court, while noting that Ms. Maples wouldn’t be a detriment to the county either if she was elected in his place.
Elections are next Tuesday, July 31. LaFayette residents will vote at the Walker Co Senior Center, voting locations for other residents vary. Early voting is still being conducted at the Walker County Elections Office in the Courthouse through the end of this week.
Last week the Underground e-mailed candidates for 12 competitive local races (all except County Surveyor) a series of questions. Candidates who have no opponent on the July ballot were not included; those with opposition in November will be contacted before the November vote.
Candidates were asked to respond to the questions via e-mail by a certain deadline, and were instructed not to share their answers with each other before we made them public. Every candidate in the same race was given the same set of questions except where noted above.
Candidates who did not respond by the deadline have [no response] after their name for each question asked, and candidates who responded but chose to skip certain questions are marked [no response]. Responses received after this point will not be accepted for a full post, but candidates are welcome to add to their responses, answer questions, or respond to our opinions in the comment section below.
Answers are copied directly from e-mail without corrections or changes except for redaction of addresses. Redactions or any editorial clarifications of questions or answers are made in [brackets]. Our thoughts are in italics beneath the responses.
Q&A responses will be posted up until election day.