September 11, 2006
"Democrats delay citizen input on auditor"

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn wrote the following op-ed for the King County Journal last week (print only), affirming his support for an elected county elections auditor. The headline, "Politics delay citizen input on auditor", is diplomatic. It wasn't "politics" that delayed citizen input. It was self-serving Democrat politicians who don't want the citizens to decide who runs the elections office. But the citizens can uptrump the anti-democracy Democrats and force this through with a ballot measure before the Council would act. E-mail me if you would support such an initiative.

Politics delay citizen input on auditor.
by Reagan Dunn

In the last three years, the County Council and the County Executive have made significant investments to improve the King County's Elections Department. Progress has been made, but King County continues to ignore a vital step in the effort to restore public confidence in our elections system.

Last summer, outside committees established by both the Council and the Executive were working on in-depth investigations of the elections system. This spring, we received updates from those bipartisan committees, and both acknowledged that the elections section is on the right track, but that the elections section needed new leadership - an elected county auditor.

The majority of the members of the Citizen's Election Oversight Committee (CEOC) were clear in their recommendation, with Michael Snyder, the representative of the Washington State Democratic Party saying on March 6 of this year, "We want to increase the public accountability where we can. That's one of the reasons why a majority of our committee recommended having an elected elections director, to increase that accountability."

The members of the Executive's King County Independent Task Force on Elections were just as direct. In their February 28, 2006 final report to the Executive, the Task Force stated: "An official elected in a non-partisan race with a primary responsibility for conducting elections would increase accountability to citizens, be better able to educate and encourage citizens to participate fully in the electoral process, be a more effective advocate for improved technology and resources, and establishes an independent elections system."

In July, a bi-partisan majority of Councilmembers emerged supporting the legislation for creating the office of elected auditor. This was a great victory for those who support an elected auditor, since the legislation has languished in council since 2003. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons the group accepted a compromise position establishing the office in 2009. Yesterday the Council passed legislation declaring that the King County Council will approve by June 1, 2009 an ordinance to submit a proposed charter amendment to King County voters concerning an elected county auditor and requesting recommendations from a charter review commission on the details of the new position.

With extended vacancies at the Director and the Superintendent Levels, the time to move forward with the elected auditor process should have been this year, in November 2006. If the Council would have acted this summer, elections' leadership would have been resolved by November 2007. Now, the citizens of King County will have to wait for accountability and stability in elections leadership until a much later date.

Still, those who support an elected auditor chosen by the people have reason to celebrate. You will have the choice in 2009. I know you will not forget. And, I promise that I will continue working on this issue.


Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at September 11, 2006 12:47 PM | Email This
Comments
1. I definitely support such an initiative and will help gather signatures! It's time to show King Ron that not everyone agrees that the emperor has new clothes.

Posted by: Burdabee on September 11, 2006 01:10 PM
2. Stefan, I would certainly support an initiative.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on September 11, 2006 01:41 PM
3. I, too, would support an initiative. Only a select few of the King Co. council members can be depended upon to give the voters what they need and desire...an official that is accountable to the voters and not to King Ron.

Posted by: Marge on September 11, 2006 01:44 PM
4. Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto I support an intitiative of this sorts.

Posted by: GS on September 11, 2006 02:17 PM
5. If I'm not mistaken, jane Hague (?) and some other folks tried this recently. I don't think they got the sigs for it, tho. Certainly not saying this one wouldn't; I'm just wondering what really did happen with that other one she tried?

Posted by: Misty on September 11, 2006 03:14 PM
6. The right initiative would make filling out the mail ballot report incorrectly a crime. Even without any intent to defraud. The entire set of current voting laws require proving the _intent_ of people doing things. Instead of just the obviousness of their actions. "Well, I sent in 5 provisionals because I just wanted to be _sure_". Well, that should be at least an unavoidable misdemeanor for the actions alone...

Posted by: Al on September 11, 2006 03:38 PM
7. YES ! Would wholeheartedly endorse and support

Posted by: Cara on September 14, 2006 11:49 AM
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