An open letter to the Kittitas County Commissioners (BOCC)
from Central Washington Sentinel.
The Central Washington Sentinel is a Kittitas County web-based community news source that publishes original, aggregated, and curated e-Media news.
Members of the CWS editorial board recently interviewed Kittitas County Auditor Jerry Pettit to discover our elections process in Kittitas County and Washington State. Shortly after publishing the interview, the forensic voting audit for the State of Arizona was released, which raised questions that should guide all future elections. We want to be assured that local election results, as well as those for State and Federal elections, are legitimate.
CWS editors reviewed the Pettit interview several times and collectively saw areas that were unclear and also troubling about our election process. These areas range from registration through tabulation, reconciliation, and finally to certification. There are several changes that the Auditor, County Commissioners, and other elected officials can make. Some would be vast, such as requiring each voter to appear in person at polling locations with identification that qualifies their citizenship and vested interest in election results. Another cost-effective incremental change would address deceased voter ballot counts.
As Pettit described in his interview, there is a national standard developed by auditors in all states, that is minimum diligence for vetting deceased voters. In Kittitas County, the Elections Department staff checks newspaper obituaries, as their time permits. This costly task for staff could be replaced with an electronic report from the State Department of Vital Statistics for death certificate data. Each county Public Health Department submits birth and death statistics to a common database easily accessed by local government entities. Elections Department staff job descriptions should include the task to collate electronic voter rolls with this timely information. Informal focus group queries concur that election process improvements are needed. At a county level, citizens can be assured their concerns are being addressed to restore confidence with simple changes as described.
Why should we care? … because this is our Watch. We inherited from those who sacrificed their personal treasure and in some cases their life for our constitutional republic in order to protect what they hold sacred: faith, family, fruits of labor, justice, and opportunities for their children’s future. During our lives, this commitment continues and must be passed on to the next generations. No less should be expected of us who enjoy our country’s security for those blessings.
With an eye toward future elections, and to honor Veterans Day, we ask that the Auditor’s Elections Department conduct election reviews to assure only those legally registered vote and fraudulent votes are easily identified..
Respectfully, Central Washington Sentinel editors and members.