August 22, 2006
Courthouse Democrat Machine is afraid to let voters decide future of elections office
Yesterday's Council meeting and the machinations of the Democratic leadership shows that the Sims cabal is scared witless at the prospect of electing the county's Elections Auditor. This is solely about power. Sims wants to keep the elections office under his thumb and is doing whatever he can to prevent the question from even being presented to the voters for consideration. The arguments to defend the status quo of a Sims-appointed elections director don't make any sense. And the Democratic Party is desperately trying to intimidate Councilman Bob Ferguson into backing down from supporting the proposal for an elected auditor.
What were the arguments in favor of the Deanron-style status quo?
The only plausibly sensible argument is that other large jurisdictions with the most complex elections prefer to appoint their election directors. But this is misleading. Many large jurisdictions elect their election directors and of those who appoint, almost none are accountable only to the County Executive or Mayor. Nearly all are appointed by the legislative branch or by bipartisan commissions (more below). The reasoning is clear. Having the elections office be just another agency controlled by the chief executive means that it will inevitably be just another cog in the political machine, prone to abuse and difficult to hold accountable, as we've seen here and in other jurisdications that have this model -- Miami-Dade, Milwaukee and Boston.
But Sims and the Democratic machine undermine their own purportedly principled opposition to the concept of an elected auditor by saying that they're only opposed to letting the people vote on the issue this year. Sims' Chief-of-Staff Kurt Triplett and the woman representing state Demo Chairman Cuba Dwight Pelz both testified that they're willing to let the people vote on the question at an indefinite future time (after Ron Sims has left office). Triplett claimed that this is a bad time to put the question on the ballot because they've found an unnamed candidate to replace Dean Logan (call him: Deanron 2 the Sequel). According to Triplett, Deanron2 has already visited a few times, met with elections staff and is seriously interested in the job. But he would not be interested in the job if it were put up for election next year.
Never mind that if an Elected Auditor is a good concept, it should be implemented whether or not Ron has another Deanron to fob off on us. The whole story is a non-starter. First of all, Ron Sims and his people have negative credibility. Believe nothing they tell you without checking the facts first. In the same breath that Triplett said they're close to hiring a candidate, he also said that they have a "strong plan for mail-only voting". (I've seen the "plan" and it doesn't exist) How can we believe they have a strong candidate on deck any more than we can believe they have a strong plan?
Second, the public has no idea who this person is (but if any insiders know, please tell me), how serious they are, how qualified they are, whether they would be approved by the Council, when they would start, how they would work out, etc. The only information we have about the alleged candidate is that he is unwilling to be approved by the voters. If he reallly was as good a fit for the job as Triplett says he is, then he should be electable. But Sims seems to believe that the voters would reject his choice.
The Democratic district organizations are smearing Ferguson with hit e-mails like this one from 46th District Chairman Scott White
the Republicans on the King County Council and Bob Ferguson have proposed to turn our elections office upside down by creating the position of an Elected County Auditor to run elections here in King County. The right wing wants an elected auditor badly because they know that if they can get control of the office they will have an advocate for changes in state law and be able to implement on a management level the types of voter suppression activities described in [this article].
Whatever, dude. Anybody who thinks that the "right wing" can take over the King County elections office and suppress voters needs to be medicated. Realistically, any elected Auditor will likely be a Democrat, or at least require a lot of Democrats to vote for them. The advantage is that this official would be accountable to all voters solely on the basis of their performance in the elections office .
It's important to note that while much of the party leadership supports machine control of the elections office, many grassroots Democrats believe in electing the Auditor. Most of the (mostly Democrat, some Green, some Republican) members of Washington Fair Elections support the concept. They're meeting tonight and will be discussing the proposal.
Councilmember Julia Patterson yesterday proposed an unspecified compromise on the issue. The best compromise is to take the issue out of the hands of the elected officials and give it to the voters to decide. This year.
This academic research paper
and some follow-on research sheds some light on the question of appointed vs. elected. The issue is not merely appointed vs. elected, but who makes the appointment and to whom is the elections office accountable. A number of the largest jurisdictions do elect their election chiefs -- notably Maricopa County, AZ
(Phoenix), Harris County, TX
(Houston), suburban (excluding Chicago) Cook County, IL
. And the jurisdictions that appoint their election chiefs? There are very few cases similar to King County where the election director is accountable only to the County (or City, as applicable) Executive. In the California counties that appoint the Registrars, the Registrar is a separate agency that is accountable to the legislative branch
. In other jurisdictions, such as New York, there is a bipartisan commission that is appointed by the legislative branch. In the City of Chicago, the Board of Election Commissioners is no longer selected by the mayor's machine it is appointed by the courts.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 22, 2006
01:51 PM | Email This
1. Losers always whine. And whiners always lose.
2. Ivan - Spoken like one who knows.
3. If memory serves, Scott White was County Council Chief of Staff and worked behind the scenes in support of Carolyn Edmonds and against Ferguson. No longer Chief of Staff, he seems to have an axe to grind.
4. "Ivan", who has doubtless been whining ever since the 2000 elections. Thanks for the laugh!
5. Bill - Ivan is not "Ivan". He is a Democrat party and union stalwart, he doesn't hide it. He is the Chair of the 34th District Democrats.
6. I see. I stand corrected.
7. Coming out against an elected auditor is a losing proposition. So I'm in favor of letting the other side homestead this political patch of soil.
Having Sims explain why he's the only one qualified enough to choose an auditor and why the hundreds of thousands of unwashed masses in King County shouldn't have a say will prove to be entertaining in the upcoming months.
Ivan "Losers always whine. And whiners always lose.".
That certainly applies in this case, where Sims, Patterson and Phillips are losing in the court of public opinion and on the Council and are whining and digging in their heels to try to deny the public a chance to vote on this issue.
I can't believe you haven't mentioned Ron's childish drivel in the Times' letters to the editor the other day. The only thing that I kept thinking while I was reading it was...me thinks he doth protest too much...
The more he sqeals and complains, the more corrupt he seems. What a wonderful world it would be if we could consider what was best for the voters, county and state rather than having to deal with a select group of officials' self-interested politcal machinations.
Stefan at 8:
I'm insulted that you left out my Councilman, Dow Constantine. And now Ferguson, too.
As for "losing in the court of public opinion," hey, it's your blog, so you can spew whatever nonsense you like. Nobody's going to beat these Council members at the polls over this issue. You know that perfectly well.
And do you know why that is? It's because right-wingers like you, and the whack jobs that post on this blog, and the EFF and the BIAW are pushing it.
Mobilizing against you lot in King County is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Um, yeah, whatever, Ivan.
Among what you call the "right-wingers" who support the concept of an elected auditor are former state Democratic Chairman Paul Berendt. Not to mention Councilmember Bob Ferguson, who is a Democrat.
But back to the mainpoint. Why are you against letting the voters decide the issue, Ivan? Are you afraid they'll vote for a clean and accountable elections office?
Well, How many years has King County Elections been a screwed up disaster waiting to strike?
10 years? 12 years? When will the people in Seattle say "Enough!"
How many taxes are enough for you rich guys there? I looked at the WSDOT's plan yesterday that said there is ANOTHER 4 billion dollars in high priority fixes for the 520 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct..........
How many pink pigs and 6 foot salmon do you need?
How many times must this council screw you (the voters) before you get them out of office?????
13. It's simple, Stefan. I'm against whatever you're for, and for whatever you're against. It's nothing personal. It's just business.
"It's simple, Stefan. I'm against whatever you're for, and for whatever you're against. It's nothing personal. It's just business."
And the people's right to decide be damned.
Bill @ 14:
You get to vote for the County Executive and your County Council members.
What a shame that a person doesn't personally believe in anything. It is sad when you fix all of your beliefs and values on what someone else does or doesn't do.
So, if Stefan is against murder, rape, and mayhem, Ivan, are you for it?
I think it's only an excuse to condone bad behavior. It's almost the same as Osama Bin Laden, all he needed was an excuse to attack America, it didn't matter what the perceived sin of America's was, if he couldn't find one he'd have made one up.
"Bill @ 14:
"You get to vote for the County Executive and your County Council members."
Until you lefties figure out a way to have them appointed.
18. Ivan shows what the Democratic leadership is all about. No rights but their own. Higher taxes because they can not spend within their means. Always a new social program idea that failed just needs more money. But this is the leadership that democrats in this state support. It is a sad state of affairs. Since I am for a strong miltitary. I guess Ivan and the democrat leadership are for a weak military. If I am for Strong border enforcement and no jobs or welfare for illegal aliens (Undocumented aliens in case you do not understand the word illegal -IVAN) YOu are all for taking tax money to give to illegals/undocumented aliens before State Citizens. Thats right the Health Insurance program cut state citizens to allow illegals to get into the program. Illegals get head of the line for this benefit that is suppose to help our legal citizens who need the aid. Oh well you can always ask for more money right.
Democrats look at the leadership and how they spend the money. How much waste will it take to get you to standup against these corrupt politicians and clean house. As long as these liberal can hide their spending they know they can keep on taking more and more. Like they do in the elections office for votes. There are no real stateman in the Democratic party in this state. Where Citizens take priority. Where the infrastructure takes a priority instead of social programs. Where personal responsibility and honor mean more to the politician than the behind the scenes stuffing money into FREEZERS. Maybe we should demand a search warrent into all freezers since we know of one out of state democratic politician uses as a hiding place.
The bottom line Democratic leadership thinks more at keeping its power no matter how much damage they do to general public or thier safety. They can keep cutting Police and Fire departments to pay for thier social programs.
19. What I was saying about political real estate is correct. Ivan and Ron Sims, and they're not alone, want to die on the hill of not allowing voters to be able to choose their county auditor. Let them form squares on this issue while we pour cannister and grapeshot into their ranks.
From the halls of Western State Ivan said:
I'm against whatever you're for, and for whatever you're against.
Spoken just like Democrats at the National level.
So you're for terrorism, against US soldiers, against marriage, love taxes, love killers, and love pedophiles. The list goes on and on.
21. An elected County Elections Auditor is the only sane answer to filling the vacant spot. That election needs to happen soon as well. If a candidate for the position is not willing to run in an election for the position, then that person is not qualified. And yes, Scott White's "concerns" are unfounded and appear to only be a lame attempt at strengthening Ron Sim's roadblocks to making this an elected position.
I simply curious as to why King County can't do what the state's other counties already do and elect its auditor.
Ivan? Why? And don't feed me some cockamamie excuse about size and scope. If it's good enough for Pierce and Snohomish, it should be good enough for King.
23. Ivan - keep shooting yourself in the foot and exposing your ideology for what it is - socialist and totalitarian - George Soros would be proud of you. You are like the rest of the liberal Democrats - smoke and mirrors, non-constructive criticism and no practical solutions. There's a place for you in Iran...
24. Good grief! What are these trolls afraid of? King County is certainly not going to elect an obviously consesrvative, Republican auditor, so what's the beef?
25. "Voter suppression" is simply a democrat deceptive term meaning "Fraud suppression". Anyone against suppression of fraud? I didn't think so. But they know the phrase "Voter suppression" sells better.
They once again use false language to throw people off.
It won't work! The truth is, an appointed auditor has not produced the level of accuracy and fairness that this county deserves.
Elected auditor NOW! Clean elections NOW!
26. Ivan, I'm pretty sure that Green Party member Gentry Lange supports an elected auditor, too. Recall that the Green Party is a bit to the left of your party. Are you going to accuse HIM of being a right-winger? Or is anyone who supports more public accountability automatically just a whiner to you?
27. Gee, If there were an accountable auditor there would not be so much funny biz?What a horrifying though for the Kool Aid Drinking bafoons running the show!! I hope next King County Executive election Bob Fergeson returns Ronnies boy's generousity by running against him in it and beating him soundly. You could hear the weeping wailing and knashing of teeth from socialist Seattle to Enumclaw.Wev'e been needing some comedy relief for some time!!
28. Gee I hope Ivan can handle this!!
29. I understand that Stefan is against having iban put his head in a microwave oven and setting the dial on "charcoal". Hmmm, I wonder what iban the wonder-schmutz will do with this information?!
Ivan - "I'm against whatever you're for, and for whatever you're against.
Is this your way of saying, "If you're not with us, you're against us"?
I thought you were against that type of political approach.... I could've sworn (or affirmed) that you denigrated a politician as being stupid and dangerous for having that approach...
I guess it depends on whose Gore is being oxed.
You are the quintisential left wing Democrat. You believe in something that you can not articulate and if you try you see how wrong it is and so does everyone else. So instead of trying you just decide to hate what the opposition says. That way you have something to believe in...still can't explain it or defend it, but can swear at it.
I'm sorry you life has gone down the path you chose for it. You seem very disturbed and in emotional pain. I hope you decide to learn about life and take a serious stab at being accountable for your actions.
Remember you can't have a good day you have to make it a good day.
If the candidate Sims has already chosen is really qualified for the position, then he should have the applicant run for the office. However, this is another case of Sims selecting another a$$kissing lackey who will ensure the elections department remains the laughing stock of the country. Once again Sims had the opportunity to show he was actually serious about fixing the elections department and once again he is letting his arrogance get in the way.
There is no reason for us not to have an elected auditor. I have yet to see any evidence on the part of those against this idea as to why this should not be an elected position. The notion that this person would go through and cherry pick the ballots to deliberately disenfranchise voters is laughable. Besides, that is one reason Deanron has decided to slither out of town before the tar and feathers come out.
So, Ivan and other members of Sims cheer squad, how could having an elected auditor be any worse than the morons currently in charge? There have been many promises made of fixing the problems and so far no results. Making everyone reregister would be the first step, but your buddy Gossett won't allow that. Apparently his constituents aren't bright enough to understand what social security cards, birth certificates, and passports are and therefore can't prove that they are eligible to vote.
I think we should create a Political Action Committee to get this on the ballot. Put Stefan or Mary Lane in charge and call this PAC "Let the People Decide King County Edition".
W/ thanks to THIS left-wing website and THESE talking points for a simple majority school levy - Maybe we should say, "1. It is time to let the people decide. The people have not been allowed to vote on this issue since" ever.
K2 at 9 and Burdabee 32: exactly--democracy is a bytch when it backfires on libs and one has to vote for an elections official;
i also like the Gossett point--can you see happy voters a-la mideast style holding their purple fists (not fingers) up in a Former Black Panther 'Salute?'
I think attaching labels to people gives the perception that it is easier to understand them (R's do this and that and campaign for x and y, D's do that and this and campaign for y and x). It is a flawed perception as people are inherently greater and lesser than the labels.
I think attacking people is a failure of debate. The ideas of a person are what will create good or evil; not the individual themselves. The person is inconsequential; the idea is all-important. If my mortal enemy had a better way of doing something, I would be stupid to ignore it. It follows that chastising an idea because of who proposed it is a stupid process.
I think voting is the cornerstone of our republic. I think denying the public the ability to decide who should oversee the voting process is tantamount to allowing the ref at a sporting event to wear the jersey of one team. (superbowl anyone?)
I think the left- and right- wing labels will eventually destroy our beautiful country.
Seems as though ivan's tongue is tied... "it's all those meanie right-wingers ganging up on me. Boo Hoo"
Yes, King Co. would most likely elect a Democrat Auditor - there is precedence in actually electing one honest Demo; Brian Sonntag seems to be pretty well respected at the statewide level.
37. . How about this question......
Who in the heck is currently running King County Elections?
I understand it's a guy named Jim Buck (not the State Legislator unfortunately).
I would love to see a current assessment of the Election Department.
Also, no one seems to know who Don Ron Sims King's "Mystery Election Official" is.
Could this individual be sooooooo secret that Ron doesn't even know who he is???
GOPolitics @ 36:
I have said all I have to say on this issue and am under no obligation to respond to every poster who calls me out by name.
I hardly fear "all those meanie right-wingers." Who are you that anyone should fear you? Most of you don't even have the stones to post using your names.
But hey, on a lighter note: Last night at the King County Democratic Central Committee's monthly meeting, we passed, by acclamation, a resolution to oppose the candidacy of Richard Pope, for whatever he's running for this time.
We love ya, Rich. Just keep filing.
Thus spoke Jabba the Hut (AKA iban) the political idiot-savant. When he isn't keeping a spit polish on the bathrooms down at party HQ, he's out making friends and influencing people.
Way to go with the earth-shattering resolution gelatin for brains - I'm sure that Richard is shaking in his shoes (or was that you just passing gas again).
Thanks for letting us know that you're ready to shut your stupendous gob!
40. It is evident that ivan and ron and their D buddies are for 100% Voter Supression when it comes to the people voting on issues that threaten their hegemony and power.