Why did you decide to run for this position?
My knowledge, experience, and education make me the most qualified candidate for this office. I earned a Bachelor’s in Human Services, Master’s in Adult Education, and a Juris Doctor from Seattle University Law School. I served 11 years in law enforcement working with licensing, records, and animal control services. I then spent 12 years in the Snohomish County Auditor’s office helping thousands of people with licensing, recording, animal control services, and election related assistance. I then advanced to the Secretary of State’s Election Division where I train county Auditor’s and Election administrators on election law compliance to ensure statewide consistency. For 14 years I have demonstrated my ability to provide non-partisan services at both the county and state level, working with local party members and state legislators regarding law development and implementation
What are three major issues facing the auditor’s office?
Legal Compliance: 3 years ago, at the request of voters in our county, legislation was passed that required ballot boxes be installed in designated communities. Legal compliance isn’t an option, it’s a directive. The Auditor’s Office must be brought into legal compliance.
Voter Turnout: Snohomish County continues to have below average turnout. It is time to engage groups that have been underrepresented. I saw youth turned away from internships and volunteer opportunities during my 12 years in the Auditor’s office. I saw groups such as the Tulalip Tribes seek opportunities to partner with the Auditor’s office, only to be turned away.
Expanding services: For years the county provided passport and vital statistic services; years ago, these services were moved to other locations or discontinued. New legislation and travel requirements prompted other Auditor offices in the state to begin providing passport services again, and the increased revenue has been phenomenal.
Which of the three do you see as the most urgent?
Legal compliance. My first career was 11 years in law enforcement, my second career has been 12 years working in the Snohomish County Auditor’s office and two years at the Secretary of State’s Office. I believe that the foundation of our communities and our interactions are based in law abiding actions that demonstrate a commitment to the code of conduct and professionalism. When we hear of agencies, managers, or employees that were unable to follow the creed of professionalism we lose faith in those actors and the agencies they represent. You deserve leadership that can demonstrate a commitment to maintaining your faith in their integrity, honor, and actions. I am that candidate and I can assure you that my commitment to legal compliance, fair and impartial dealings, and transparency in all interactions are consistent with what I have demonstrated in every position I’ve held.
How will you increase voter participation?
No longer can we just mail a ballot and a voter pamphlet to each voter and hope they participate. Diverse social media outlets need to be utilized to increase transmittal of important information. We need to develop interesting programs that engage our future voters, teach them why their voice is important and how they can use it to develop the future they envision. It’s time we start engaging with as many community groups as possible to ensure that our community members learn of their voting rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. There are areas that have waited three years for ballot box installation, despite the boxes being purchased two years ago. Completing the installation of remaining ballot boxes would be the easiest way to increase voter participation by allowing voters to drop ballots in secure locations all over the county up to 8pm election night without having to worry about what time the post office closes.
How will you assure your voters that their vote is secure and counted on reliable machines?
As an employee of the Secretary of State’s Election Division, I certify election equipment prior to each state and federal election. I travel to Auditor offices statewide and test equipment being used to tabulate ballots, ensuring that each test demonstrates accurate and expected results. There is one more assurance that voters should expect, and that is that votes counted equals voters credited. The Auditor’s office continues to have elections where extra votes were counted or recounts where ballot counts did not match voters credited and candidate totals changed. If numbers are incorrect, steps should be taken to ensure that explanations are accurate. You should expect leadership that is accountable for every vote cast. I’ve never been questioned about the validity of my reconciliation reports, nor have I been questioned about the outcome of a recount. I have 14 years of demonstrated integrity in the election process, and 2 years of state election equipment certification experience.