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Auditor candidates promises ballot precautions

Tuesday, August 22

Peninsula News Network

Clallam County Auditor Cathy McKeown and her challenger Patty Rosand say they’re going to take extra measures during the upcoming election to make sure there are no questions about ballot processing pertaining to their race.

Rosand, who oversees election operations for McKeown, announced she was running against her boss during the filing week for this fall’s elections last month. That raised some questions over the processing of ballots this fall and whether there should be any special steps taken to assure voters the race would have no impact on the elections.

Tuesday, Rosand and McKeown met with Clallam County Prosecutor Deborah Kelly and Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty, sitting as the county’s canvassing board, to explain the steps they’ve taken to maintain that “appearance of fairness”.

The women explained that many of the features of the county’s new computerized ballot system have already led to greater security, and checks and balances to ensure less room for error, or accusations of ballot tampering. Rosand explained that she doesn’t open the ballots at all, that a board of election workers is responsible for processing the votes as they come in and are boxed for tabulation.

McKeown explained that the auditor’s office was already following a policy where two people have to be present anytime ballot boxes are opened. She says the department has also implemented all the latest procedures recommended by the Secretary of State to ensure the integrity of the ballot processing.

Rosand said this year, she will not use her ‘ECM key”… a USB device that allows access to the vote tabulation program on the computers. Instead, election assistant Shoona Gustafson will be the only one using that level of access.

McKeown has also agreed to limit any extraordinary use of her name where possible on official mailings or documents to avoid anyone thinking that’s an unfair campaign advantage.

Clallam County isn’t the only place where this kind of an election scenario has developed with an auditor’s race. State officials say an elections supervisor is also running against the Ferry County auditor, with similar races in recent years in Whatcom and San Juan Counties.



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