Former Garfield County sheriff appointed secretary for election board

·3 min read

May 4—The Oklahoma State Election Board has approved the appointment of former Garfield County Sheriff Jody Helm as secretary of the county election board.

Helm was recommended by Sen. Roland Pederson for the position after the resignation of former Garfield County Election Board Secretary Michael Frisbie effective last month. Helm was then approved April 27.

Helm, who has 15 years of experience in law enforcement, said he was ready for a different career path when Pederson approached him about the job.

"I thought this would be pretty good," Helm said. "Everything's laid out in statute in law enforcement. Well, guess what? Everything is laid out in statute in this, too, so it's a good fit."

After Pederson reached out, Helm said he would have to investigate the job a little more, and he shadowed Frisbie during the April 6 school board races.

Helm said he sat back and watched Frisbie throughout the day, asking him questions about the job and beginning to learn the ropes.

"I knew some of it since I had ran once, but there was a lot of stuff in the background I didn't know," Helm said. "What it takes to really put this on — it was incredible. The manpower, the logistics, the coordination — it was great."

Pederson gave his recommendation letter to appoint Helm to the Oklahoma State Election Board on April 7. At OSEB's meeting on April 13, board members tabled Helm's appointment until the April 27 meeting, where they went into executive session to discuss the appointment before reconvening to approve it.

During the meeting last week, board members mentioned a complaint had been filed by an individual regarding Helm's appointment to the role, and that in the two weeks since the April 13 meeting, no other complaints had been filed nor had any other person been recommended for the role.

As secretary, Helm said he will have to learn how to better manage his time since he is used to 12-hour shifts. Some of his duties and responsibilities include day-to-day and election operations, doing the budgets and taking care of personnel needs, he said.

Helm started on April 28, still has training to do online and at the state Capitol, and in the meantime, he's setting up his priorities so he can "keep everything flowing."

Even though he said he misses working in law enforcement, he's ready to try something new and said he's looking forward to learning and knowing everything he needs to so he can do his job.

"I'm excited to get started, and I'd like to ask people if they want to do their civic duty and help with the election process, feel free to come by and talk about it because we always need people for polls and for backups and all that — join the team," he said.

Kelci McKendrick is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

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