Director of Elections – vote Julie Wise!

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    In addition to the District 1 council seat, the office of Director of Elections (DOE) is on the August primary ballot and the DOE election is important to the people of West Seattle, too.

    The political debate about the Elections Department (Elections) was heated from 2002 through 2008. Accusations of malfeasance were hurled. DOE Julie Kempf was dismissed for lying. Her replacement, Dean Logan, resigned in 2006 and a nationwide search for a replacement DOE resulted in 50 candidates being interviewed. In the end, Sherril Huff got the job in 2007.

    The position of DOE was made an elected position in 2008; Huff was elected DOE in a special election in 2009, and won re-election in 2011.

    Now that Huff is retiring, I recommend her deputy, Julie Wise, as her replacement. Wise is an election professional, as Huff is; her opponents both come from the world of electoral politics.

    In 2009 voters had the choices of Huff, David Irons, Pam Roach and the dismissed Julie Kempf. There was only one really qualified candidate on the ballot, and Sherril Huff, won. It was really a pretty easy decision for voters then, there was qualified elections professional and a number of less than ideal challengers.

    This year, it isn’t so easy to choose. Julie Wise’s two challengers seem like bright, capable men. I don’t doubt they are. None of the candidates has the baggage of the challengers in 2009.

    Julie was my boss from 2009 until I retired last November, and I can attest that she is the most dedicated, smartest, best communicating, innovative and engaging elections professional I know in Washington State, and I know more than a few. The success Sherril Huff has had in turning Elections around to become one of the most admired election operations in the country owes much to the hard work of Julie.

    Julie Wise was key in the move to implementing all mail elections, improving voting centers, registering hundreds of thousands of new voters, improving and maintaining a registration data base that accurately contains voters who live in the county and are not duplicated in other jurisdictions, streamlining procedures to keep staffing lean, all the while keeping her entire staff involved and proud of their work.

    I urge you to keep the professional standard of the DOE high. Vote Julie Wise!



    I was disappointed with the choices in 2009; Sherril Huff seemed to be the only halfway reasonable choice, but she follows the party line on Instant Runoff/Ranked Choice voting, which I think is a far more democratic voting system, but which both major parties oppose, as they feel it threatens the status quo. Sherril helped kill the possibility of using it for King County elections. Although the issue may be dead for the time being, I’d still prefer a candidate who “gets” why it improves democracy. Does Julie Wise?



    I don’t know what party line you are referring to, but the only discussion on ranked choice voting I am aware of is observation of the Pierce County attempt in the November 2008 election. The upshot of that was that Elections could use many of the procedures used there, if called upon to do so.

    I think your question brings up a pitfall in electing a director. Speaking for myself, I don’t want the Elections Department weighing in on a matter such as whether instant runoff/ranked choice voting should be implemented, except to provide feasibility analysis and cost estimation of the process. Huff may have voiced an opinion, but she surely didn’t stop anything the county council or voters wanted.

    It would require a change to the county charter to start the implementation of instant runoff voting. The voters and county council are the place for that debate. Elections, as I said, should be a consultant with the how, not the should.

    I think everyone should think long and hard about Elections officials proposing a change in vote counting. Elections should implement systems and procedures to accomplish counting as specified by law, not make the law.

    Those who should get the wisdom of making changes to law are the public, council members, state legislators, the governor. You don’t want the teller writing the checks, in my opinion.



    thanks, Bob :)



    UR Welcome. Hope that helps.

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