Forum set for elections chief

January 5, 2009

By Jim Feehan

The election season is upon us once again. A little less than two months after the Nov. 4 general election, King County voters on Feb. 3 will decide for the first time who they want heading up the county’s elections department.

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, The Golf Club at Newcastle and the Municipal League Foundation is hosting a candidate forum for the King County elections director position at 9 a.m. Jan. 17 at the St. Andrews Ballroom of The Golf Club at Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Lane. The event is free.

“This is a great opportunity for people to meet the candidates,” said John Jensen, Newcastle chamber president. “You can be entertained, educated and get your morning coffee, all for no charge. “

The King County executive had appointed the elections director position since the home rule charter was adopted in 1968. Two months ago, voters changed the county charter to make the post an elective one, with the election to be held Feb. 3.

Six candidates filed for the nonpartisan position that pays $146,000 annually.

They include:

David Irons, of Seattle, a former Metropolitan King County Councilman who in 2005 unsuccessfully challenged King County Executive Ron Sims.

Sherril Huff, of Seattle, current elections director.

Bill Anderson, of Auburn, a former bank industry software engineer.

Christopher Clifford, of Renton, a high school teacher who is trying to recall Seattle Port Commissioner Pat Davis.

Julie Kempf, of Seattle, who was fired from her elections department position in 2002 after officials said she lied about why absentee ballots were mailed late. She has consistently denied the allegation.

State Sen. Pam Roach, a Republican serving the Auburn area.

The election will feature the county’s first all vote-by-mail balloting. There’s no primary and whoever finishes first wins, even if they get a vote count short of a majority. The initial term expires at the end of 2011. Subsequent elections to four-year terms will follow the normal model of a primary followed by a general election.

On Feb. 18, the election will be certified and the new director takes office.

Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment on this story at

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