Election 2016: Calhoun County Clerk
Calhoun County Clerk/Register of Deeds Anne Norlander is facing a challenge from opponent Joan Melekian in the November election.
Both sat for individual interviews with WBCK. Melekian, an administrative office specialist with Kalamazoo Metro Transit, expressed concern about what she perceived as a lack of visibility and customer service in the Clerk's office. Without naming her, Melekian suggested Norlander - who has been the Calhoun County Clerk for 28 years - is complacent.
"There comes a time when it's time for change," Melekian said. "I think after one person being in an office for 28 years, there probably comes a level of complacency."
While telling the WBCK listening audience the clerk's office needs a "fresh approach," including "voter registration, voter turnout, modernizing the technology - making it current," Melekian also expressed discomfort with electronic voting procedures.
"I'm a big fan of going back to the 'punch a dot' - the 'hanging chads' - I think it's a cleaner, smoother, no-denying-what-your-vote-was; I think accuracy is very important," Melekian said.
Norlander tells WBCK those days are gone.
"That flabbergasted me," Norlander said, in response to Melekian's call to revert back to paper voting. In her estimation, Norlander said the tide is moving the other way.
"We've transformed into a digital environment," Norlander said. "We just did a request for purchase for a new register of deeds software system," she added, saying the special technology fund has been set aside for such advancements. Norlander also said the near future likely holds another transition to the next level of voting technology.
With regard to the lack of visibility assertion, Norlander said she focuses on a wider view.
"I do not work the counter," Norlander said. "My role, as I see it, is to look at hte big picture...that's my strength."
Hear both candidates' full interviews by clicking the respective players below.