Press Editorial

January 19, 2009

By Staff

Sherril Huff preferred for elections chief

By now, voters have received the first all-mail ballot used in a King County election, and are wondering who to vote for. The only election on the ballot that applies to Issaquah will decide which of six candidates will become the first-ever elected director of elections for the county.Up until now, the King County executive has appointed the director of elections. If the director didn’t do a good job, he/she was fired and replaced. But a citizen initiative to make the director of elections a nonpartisan elected position was approved in November by 56 percent of the voters. Feb. 3 was set as a special election for the voters to choose among candidates.

Most voters will find it’s a bit like hiring an executive from among some résumés — but without even a full résumé. All you get is a few hundred words about each in the Voters Pamphlet to choose the best administrator for a staff of 300-500 while bringing a financial/technical/public relations background, with the ability to be nonpartisan while working with political parties, unions and special interest groups and who will earn about $150,000 per year.

After meeting the candidates and listening carefully as they answered a barrage of questions at last Saturday’s candidate forum at The Golf Club at Newcastle, we understand the difference between the candidates — and there certainly are differences!

We recommend that Sherril Huff, the current elections chief, stay on the job. While the 2008 election still had a few snafus, King County elections have become a lot more accountable and accessible under Huff.  Trust in election results has returned.

Some are concerned that Huff will be beholden to Executive Ron Sims, who originally appointed her to the job. But some of the other candidates come with former political party associations, including former King County Councilman and Sammamish resident David Irons and Sen. Pam Roach from Auburn, both of whom are highly qualified.

The winner of this contest will be in charge of our elections for the next four years, whether voters trust their ballots to be secure and counted accurately or not. Your vote does matter. Take time to choose wisely.

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