Bob Bartelsmeyer has only been Cochise County’s elections director for less than two weeks but he already wants the department to succeed following the tribulations after last year’s elections.
We need to learn from the history,” Bartelsmeyer said. “We need to correct anything that might have occurred here in the department. With the perception of the public out there, we need to show them that we are an elections office that will demonstrate transparency, integrity at all levels.
He said he wants to be transparent and move forward from what has happened over the last year. Bartelsmeyer has more than three decades of experience working and running election departments. Last year he ran the elections department in La Paz County.
“I hope in the future I can have a tour, public tour, of the of the elections office here and show them the process and show them the machines and everything that goes a long with an election so if they have questions we can answer those, Bartelsmeyer said.
Bartelsmeyer was elected as a county clerk in Missouri at the age of 21. He said he was inspired to become involved in politics and election by a teacher he had when he was in school.
The new election’s director said his first priority is finding a manager and assistant for the department, after the prior employees resigned. Bartelsmeyer said he has spent his first days in the role meeting other county employees that he will be working with in the future and attending a training in Phoenix.
He said he’s going to continue to learn and go through the files that were left by the previous elections director to better understand the current processes and routines of the office. Bartelmeyer wants his department to follow the state statues and legislation in place because that’s the law and what is in place for election departments across the state and country to follow.
He said he will look at the statutes regarding hand-counting ballots because he knows the community and some members of the Board of Supervisors have expressed concerns about the machines, wanting 100% hand counts of ballots. Bartelmeyer said there is a percentage of ballots that can be hand counted to make them random and bipartisan. The hand count is to serves as a “checks and balance” system for the machines.
The election director reports to county recorder David Stephens, since the board of supervisors voted to make him interim elections director earlier this spring.