Opinion

Huff has experience, skill to oversee King County elections

By RANDY MATHESON

For The Beachcomber

Voters throughout King County are casting their ballots for a new elected position: Director of Elections. The public decided in November to change the position from one that is appointed to an elective position, bringing King County in line with most other counties in the state.

The position calls for someone with specific knowledge, managerial skills and experience in bringing positive change to a once-beleaguered elections system. Voters cannot leave this important job in the hands of lifetime politicians, gadflies or wannabe governmental officials. The most clearly qualified person for the job is the one currently running the Elections Division, Sherril Huff.

In 2007, after a nationwide search of more than 400 candidates, the King County Council — Republicans and Democrats — unanimously confirmed Huff for the position. Her experience in managing a complex elections system is unmatched among those running against her. She has led the county elections system to implement quality assurance, performance and accountability standards comparable to those of the top U.S. public corporations.

The King County Elections Division has worked hard over the past years to restore voter confidence in the election process by successfully managing numerous elections, including the Nov. 4 general election in which nearly 1 million mail-in and poll ballots were accurately processed and counted.

The Elections Division employs capable staff who work with political parties and community stakeholder groups, including the Citizens’ Election Oversight Committee — which I co-chaired in 2003-05 — to make impressive progress in key areas such as ballot security, cleaning up the voter-registration database, internal review and process and transparency. More than 300 reforms and recommendations have been implemented since 2004 that have helped transform the department into a nationally recognized elections operation.

In every election we trust our voter ballots are professionally processed, verified and counted. We expect that partisan politics do not get in the way of our choice for candidates or issues. We count on a qualified workforce, with oversight by skilled executive staff, to ensure our voice is heard and our preferences are documented. Under Sherril Huff’s guidance, our votes will continue to be secure and counted.

— Randy Matheson served as co-chair of the Citizens’ Election Oversight Committee from 2003-05. The 13-member committee was appointed by the King County Council to monitor county elections and recommend improvements to the performance and accountability of the King County Elections Section.

Special election

The county is holding a special election on Feb. 3 — its first countywide vote-by-mail election. There will be no polling places. Ballots were mailed earlier this month. For more information, contact King County Elections at 296-VOTE (8683) or visit its Web site, www.kingcounty.gov/elections.

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