King County Charter Amendment No. 1 – Elected Elections Director

Shall the King County Charter be amended to provide that the position of a county director of elections be created as a nonpartisan elected office.

The push behind this charter amendment comes from anger over the 2004 gubernatorial election and continued elections problems since then.

The theory is that an elected elections director will improve elections. For the moment, I’ll take that at face value.

However, how it will improve elections is dubious. In fact, I think it will make it worse. Elections directors who haven’t been able to get elections procedures right have resigned or been pushed out. If elected, I can’t see that being the case. An election is not a referendum on technocrat qualifications. It’s a popularity contest. (Though it could also be viewed as a contest of groups as well.) Rather than being accountable for quality, it becomes accountability to the interests of the dominant popular group.

And that’s really what I think is the reason why this is being pushed. An appointed elections director doesn’t have to kow tow to what Republicans want, so they need a way to get control.

Plus, do we need the costs associated with another election? We don’t need all the elected positions we have in the country. Frankly, I think we should make the sheriff position appointed as well. We don’t need more than an elected executive an council.

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