Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

From the Auditor

Update from the Mason County auditor

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 appointed immediate successors.

My role in this saga began last year when I served Commissioners Pais, Wilder and Jutson formal recall notices. Fast forward to today, I had the honor to administer the oath of office to newly appointed Position 2 Commissioner Steve Ingram, who joins Commissioners Young and Persell as the new board of appointed "Fire 12" commissioners.

In response to some of the previous financial concerns identified, your Financial Services Department in the Auditor's Office now applies extra scrutiny to every voucher request from all special districts to ensure statutory compliance.

Have you heard that your Licensing & Recording team now offers U.S. passport service? The team worked hard to achieve U.S. Department of State certification and incorporate passport service into their daily work without increasing staff. U.S. passport service is available by appointment only. You can schedule an appointment at the auditor's website, masoncountywa.gov/auditor/passports.php.

Your Elections Department continues to work to ensure that you can have the utmost confidence that your ballot will be processed with maximum transparency and tabulated correctly. With funds from the Secretary of State's Information Security Grant, we made additional improvements to the physical security of the ballot tabulation room and are implementing wireless signal detection devises recommended by the Office of the Secretary of State to identify potential wireless threats.

I've also been participating in elections "tabletop exercises" hosted by Thurston County and by the Washington Office of the Secretary of State and Emergency Management Division. These exercises are designed to consider various threat scenarios and assess response plans. We will conduct a similar exercise in Mason County. I want us to be well-prepared for any situation that might arise in this energized election season.

Work to update the voter registration database never ends. This includes voter registration challenges by citizens per RCW 29A.08.810 for voters that reside at different addresses than the residential addresses provided for registration. Through formal hearings, challengers substantiated the personal knowledge required by law to challenge the voter registrations. Sustained challenges resulted in canceled registrations. Additionally, I've canceled over 300 voter registrations per RCW 29A.08.630 for voters who are registered in other states. This work involved direct coordination with counties in Arizona and other states.

Looking ahead to the August primary and November general election, my hope is that you are preparing to exercise your political power through your vote by getting informed on the candidates and measures that will be on the ballot. Consider being an election observer, volunteer or part-time worker. After all, elections belong to you.

 

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