Klint Bush was sworn in as the Elections Administrator designate for Liberty County on Monday by County Judge Jay Knight. Bush, a lifelong resident of Hardin, will officially become Liberty County’s first Elections Administrator on Jan. 1, 2020.
Historically in Liberty County, elections have been handled by the County Clerk’s Office, but with population growth and more complicated elections laws and processes, the need for an elections administrator became more apparent to county commissioners who voted to create the Office of Elections Administration earlier this year and funded the position in the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget that was passed in September.
The newly-created office will be located in rooms previously used by the county clerk’s office on the second floor of the Liberty County Courthouse. Bush and Melanie Croker, the voter registrar, will be the department’s only employees. Croker’s position as voter registrar was previously under County Tax Assessor-Collector Ricky Brown. Bush previously worked in the County Clerk’s Office.
“Most other counties our size have elections administrators. We are a little behind on this. Most people don’t realize that elections are a full-time job,” Bush said. “While there might be only three elections and three run-off elections each year, there is a lot of work that happens throughout the year. It’s a full-time job just keeping up with voter registration with 45,000 registered voters in Liberty County.”
Though the March primary election and city and school elections in May are still months away, preparation for those elections is taking place now.
“Machines have to be programmed, ballots have to be ordered and polling locations have to be identified,” Bush said. “There is also an immense amount of law to keep up with that goes with this position. The Secretary of State sends out information almost daily regarding elections.”
Bush was picked for the position by a five-person Elections Commission made up by the county judge, county clerk, tax assessor-collector, and chairmen of the Liberty County Republican and Democratic parties. For the last several years, he has served as presiding judge for the Early Voting Ballot Board. With Bush’s appointment as Elections Administrator, the new presiding judge of the Early Voting Ballot Board will be Ryan Daniel, chairman of the Liberty County Republican Party. Daniel, who previously served as a board member, was appointed as presiding judge by county commissioners during their Nov. 26 meeting.
Elections and public service are a lifelong passion for Bush.
“I helped with my first election when I was 15 years old over in Raywood. I have been working up to this point my entire life,” he said.
Though he is a lifelong conservative Republican, Bush vows to fairly administrate elections for all political parties in Liberty County.
“Our elections will be free, fair and with integrity. I cannot guarantee that we will not have lines on election days, since there is only a certain number of voting machines, but we will do everything in our power to make sure folks can vote,” he said.
Bush also hopes to visit local high schools in the future to spread the message that voting is an essential right for all Americans and to encourage students to exercise their rights.
“I enjoy the election process. I believe that if you want to be called an American, it’s your duty to vote. If our military can fight for our rights, I can dang sure take an hour out of my day to go vote,” he said.