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Articles written by Steve Duenkel


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  • From the Auditor

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Jun 27, 2024

    Article I, Section 1 of the Washington state Constitution affirms that all political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. It's been uplifting to see the citizens of Fire Protection District 12 exercise their political power and turn things around in their community. Frustrations around alleged fraud and gross mismanagement reached a point where the people no longer gave their consent to the previous commissioners or their...

  • From the Auditor

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Apr 11, 2024

    It seems as if 2024 is running at "fast forward" speed. Your elections team certified two of the five elections scheduled for the year, including the March 12 presidential primary. Many voters expressed concerns with having to identify a political party affiliation on their ballot return envelope. Presidential primaries are conducted for major political parties as part of their respective candidate nomination processes and the parties want to know who voted in their primary. From an elections...

  • GUEST COLUMN

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Jan 25, 2024

    The last quarter of 2023 was busy and productive. Your Financial Services Department finalized and published the Mason County 2022 Annual Report. The Auditor’s Office is responsible for reporting the complete activity for prior-year finances, per RCW 36.22.10(4). You can find this report at www.tinyurl.com/ye22b2ne. To better support veterans, your Recording Department team provided the ability for veterans to record, process or obtain certified copies of their Form DD214 Certificate of R...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Dec 14, 2023

    In May, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Second Substitute House Bill 1474 creating the covenant homeownership account and program. The intent of this program is to address housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants. This law will result in an increase of $100 in the recording fee for each document recorded by your Auditor's Office Recording Department. This fee is collected as an assessment for the covenant homeownership program. As part of the program, the state...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Nov 23, 2023

    The Nov. 9 edition of the Shelton-Mason County Journal published statistics for the number of challenged ballots as of 8 p.m. on election night, "Mason County had the highest percentage of contested ballots in Washington's 39 counties, with more that 3.5% of the votes being cast contested." So, what's going on? The contested ballots included many rejected for "signature mismatch." Signature verification is done by trained, experienced elections staff. Despite training and experience, signature...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Sep 28, 2023

    Since my last report, your Financial Services team completed the 2024 Mason County preliminary budget. I had the honor of formally submitting this budget to the Board of County Commissioners on Sept. 12 and it includes total projected expenditures of $69,149,840. Budget workshops with the board and various department heads are scheduled for Oct. 3 and 4, where adjustments to requested expenditures may be made. The county commissioners will also hold a public hearing on Dec. 4 prior to...

  • From the Auditor

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Aug 24, 2023

    In our current election system, your signature on your ballot return envelope is of utmost importance. Your signature affirms the declaration printed on the envelope that under penalty of perjury you meet the qualifications to vote and you have not voted in any other jurisdiction in that election. The declaration also informs voters that it is illegal to vote if they are not a United States citizen; are incarcerated for a felony conviction; and that it is illegal to cast a ballot or sign a...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel|Jul 13, 2023

    With certification of the April 2023 special election, voters passed measures that merged Fire Protection District 11 with District 5 and renewed the property tax levy for Fire Protection District 3. The Aug. 1 primary is next, and your dedicated elections team is ready. We moved the Vote Center to the second floor of the County Administration Building next to the Licensing & Recording counter where voters will continue to receive terrific customer service. We reorganized the ballot processing...

  • Transparency in the Auditor's Office

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Mar 9, 2023

    From time to time, I hope to let you know how the Auditor's Office team is working to prepare for future elections and provide more transparency to the people of Mason County. This year is off to a busy and solid start. With certification of the February 2023 special election behind us, we completed another successful election. Your dedicated and experienced elections team worked hard to ensure that every accepted ballot and vote was counted correctly and accurately. Voters approved educational...