The Mobile Press-Register reported yesterday
that Nancy Worley
, the incumbent Secretary of State, is just now delivering checks owed to the counties despite the checks having been printed in July.
Secretary of State Nancy Worley is personally delivering millions of dollars in reimbursement checks to counties across the state for voting machine upgrades required under federal law.
Worley, a Democrat seeking re-election to a second term, said she delivers the checks when she is in the area on business.
Worley's opponent in November, Beth Chapman
, has stated that Worley could be serving the counties - and the taxpayers - better if Worley would mail the checks to the counties rather than waiting to present them personally as she travels the state.
Lester Sellers, a voter registration official in Coosa County, has filed an ethics complaint
against Worley, alleging that Worley's state-paid trips to deliver the checks is an improper use of state funds. He has charged that Worley is staging the unnecessary trips with photo ops and other press coverage to boost her re-election campaign.
Worley blamed the delay in delivering checks on staff problems:
Worley said checks have been slow to arrive in counties, in part, because of the loss of key staff in her office, including an attorney and a finance director, who were working on reimbursements. She said her office is working to straighten out paperwork for the remaining counties.
However, that excuse doesn't explain the check that sat on her desk since July:
Worley said the check would not have arrived in her office July 20. That's the date the check was processed in the comptroller's office, she said. Worley said officials with Clarke County called earlier this month looking for the check and she responded promptly once she realized the check was sitting in her office.
Some counties have expressed concern about the delays in receiving the checks. They have expended large sums of money to purchase voting machines to comply with federal law, money that would normally go toward other county programs. The delays in reimbursements are apparently causing some counties problems with balancing their budgets for this fiscal year.
Worley's response, despite holding checks for months for her personal delivery:
Worley said she knows some counties are in a bind and are borrowing money. She said her office has tried to expedite reimbursement for those with the proper paperwork that are in a financial bind.