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Canadian County court clerk's race remains nasty

The race for the Canadian County court clerk's office, which has become one of the nastiest contests in the state, is winding down as next week's primary approaches.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: June 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm •  Published: June 20, 2012

— The race for Canadian County court clerk, which has become one of the nastiest in the state during the current election cycle, is winding down as next week's primary approaches.

The race has seen one candidate sue the other, acts of vandalism, allegations of sexual misconduct and a vehicle left with $3,000 in damages.

Incumbent Marie Ramsey says her opponent can't be trusted and wants to hide his past from the public. Her challenger, Edward Kremeier, says the court clerk has broken the law and doesn't respect the privacy of the residents of the county.

Yet both candidates have similar plans if they are elected in Tuesday's GOP primary, which will decide the winner because there is no Democrat in the running.

Ramsey says she looks forward to completing the work she's done on two state subcommittees formed to help simplify the existing court records system. As it is today, court records are available on two separate websites.

“We're working on getting them all on the same system, which will make it easier for people to find what they need when they're doing research,” Ramsey said. “I get calls all the time. People ask, ‘How do I find this? Or where do I get that?' Having everything all on one website would just be much easier.”

Kremeier also would like the court records system changed, although his ideal website more closely resembles the one that makes federal records available to the public, called PACER.

The way the state records are managed provides little security to the public, Kremeier says, adding that “criminals” are free to browse documents that often contain birth dates and Social Security numbers.

“Right now, there is no tracking whatsoever,” Kremeier said. “The court has no way of checking to see who has looked at those documents.”

Kremeier said he would also like to see a fee charged to view documents, similar to PACER, in order to “help pay for the system.”

Ramsey has raised $2,619 during her re-election campaign, according to ethics commission documents. Her opponent hasn't filed any reports, which means he simply hasn't done it or he didn't exceed $500 in contributions or expenditures.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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