I voted yesterday…

And heard this on the news today….

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) — A Republican county election clerk distributed copies of an apparent chain letter referring to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as a “young, black Adolf Hitler” to two employees but later told police she intended it to be a joke.

The employees, who had voted for Obama in Indiana’s Democratic primary, discovered the letters at their desks after returning from Labor Day weekend, Deputy Sheriff Doug Cox said in a police report made public this week. One of the workers complained, and surveillance video showed Johnson County Clerk Jill Jackson placing an item one worker’s desk at 5:27 p.m. on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, Cox said.

“She admitted to being responsible for the letter, but only did it as a joke,” Cox said. Jackson told police she had intended to speak with the workers upon returning to work but forgot.

Jackson could not be reached for comment Thursday. She told the Daily Journal in Franklin, which first reported the letter’s contents, that the issue was a personnel matter.

Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said Jackson did not violate any laws. One of the employees also filed a complaint with County Coordinator Kathleen Hash, who said Thursday she didn’t know the status or disposition of the complaint.

Officials from both parties called the incident unsettling.

“I don’t find anything funny about Adolf Hitler,” said Jonathan Swain, Indiana campaign spokesman for Obama.

Doug Lechner, Republican Party chairman in the county just south of Indianapolis, said the letter was unacceptable and taints Jackson’s ability to appear unbiased in administering this year’s election. County clerks are responsible for training poll workers, providing all voters an opportunity to cast their ballot without influence, and overseeing vote counts.

“She’s in a sensitive position and she has to give all the appearance of fairness,” Lechner said.

The letter does not mention Obama by name but makes references to his ties to a Chicago church whose pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, adheres to black liberation theology. It is heavy with racial references, criticizing the candidate’s parentage with such comments as, “He is proud of his ‘African heritage’ (a father who got a white girl pregnant and deserted her)” and asking, “Where is the pride in his ‘White heritage?'”

The unsigned letter urges readers to send it to everyone they know.

“The U.S. citizens are just not ready to give up their country to this young, black ‘Adolf Hitler’ with a smile, poor direction and absolutely no experience!” it said.

Indiana this year is considered a battleground state, and Obama campaigned there Thursday, drawing an estimated 35,000 people to a rally in downtown Indianapolis.

Johnson County is heavily Republican, with nearly three-quarters of the votes cast in the 2004 presidential election going to President Bush.

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It makes me seriously paranoid about how much my vote really counts in Johnson County…