Enquirer Herald

City to pay for campaign expenses

YORK -- Debra Martin went to the York City Council meeting to vent and left with a promise that the city would make restitution for time and money she spent on a campaign she couldn't finish.

She'll get $672.30 to cover her campaign expenses including registration fee, signs, a day and a half she took off work, gas, paper and a cartridge she bought for her printer.

Martin, who works as a secretary for the York School District, had filed to run against Councilman John Smith for the York City Council District 5 seat in next week's city elections, but was later told her voter registration card was wrong and she belonged to District 4, which isn't up for reelection. Councilman Johnny McCoy was the first to notice the potential for a mistake and told interim city manager Charles Helms. Helms double checked a map and confirmed the mistake.

"I think it was just a matter of error," Martin said.

However, the way the error was handled, wasn't right.

She told McCoy he should have told her about the problem immediately after discovering it instead of going to city officials first.

"It's kind of embarrassing when you think you've done the right thing and gone to the right people and you end up all wrong," Martin said.

The York County Elections Office admitted mistakes happen, but did not issue a formal apology.

She also criticized council members for not knowing their district lines and for not visiting the people in their district.

"You don't get a free ride because you don't have anybody running against you." she said. "Even if a person runs unopposed, you get out. You see who's died, who's been born, who's moved away, who's moved in."

During the meeting, several council members expressed their regrets and explained that the district lines are very complicated.

"I hate that it happened and I hate that I didn't apologize to you and I want to do that openly," McCoy said. "I think it would have been a lot worse had it gone on and not been recognized at that point."

Mayor Eddie Lee said he hopes she'll harbor no ill feelings.

"I hope we can use your talents in the future on commissions and boards," Lee said. "I hope you won't be discouraged or mad about it."