Editorial: Government sites prove our point

Jul. 01, 2013 @ 08:26 PM

At the risk of repeating, we’ll repeat by giving evidence.

During the current legislative session on Jones Street, some of the lawmakers attempted to launch bills that would have struck down the best interests of the people they serve. They were attempting to put public notices on government websites.

If government websites were the regular places people looked for information, in other words were among the leaders in traffic, we’d have thoroughly endorsed the idea. We readily admit our financial stake in newspapers, but public notices are a small part of our revenue at The Dispatch and will neither make or break us when the current fiscal year is done. Or next year, or the year after for that matter.

But here’s what we found most recently, showing government sites have no business replacing newspapers for public notices.

This past Saturday, less than one week prior to the opening of the filing period for the fall municipal elections, the site for the Warren County Board of Elections still had information for 2012 filing. Nothing was posted regarding this Friday’s opening of the filing period.

That’s less than seven days.

On the site for the Granville County Board of Elections, there were helpful links to 2012 election results, primary results, and the 2012 election notice. Also there was one-stop voting information for the 2012 fall election. There were forms for those wishing to register to vote.

But there was nothing on the filing period scheduled to open in less than seven days.

At 5 p.m. Monday, our search was the same — nothing on Friday’s opening of the filing period.

Vance County did have the information prominent on its Board of Elections page. So did the state board site.

We don’t share the information to embarrass the respective election sites in the Tri-County region. But we do point to our earlier points, those championed by some of the lawmakers in Raleigh who sided with the public — not us, the public — in determining how and where public notices should be displayed.

The goal is for the most eyes to see them, and in the easiest manner.

Warren and Granville counties have done nothing wrong — the notices were in the newspapers on time. And that’s where they should be in the future.