As published in the Bellingham Herald on October 19th, 2002
During the primary election I served as a poll watcher. My duty was to check the polling places to ensure that the election laws were properly followed.
After the election I received a number of complaints that qualified Republican poll workers were not assigned to positions as required by law. Our Legislature set up an adversarial system in which the two major parties would assign the people who would work as poll workers. Each polling place should have an inspector (based on the last presidential election) and a judge from the Republican Party and a judge from the Democratic party.
In an effort to clarify the issues, I wrote a letter to the auditor asking for information concerning these assignments. The auditor did not provide the requested information. The auditor is required by law to be non-partisan. If the auditor violated the election laws in favor of the Democratic Party then it gives the appearaance of doing so for political gain.
Whether you are Democrat, Green Party or a Republican, it is in your best interest to make sure that your vote is tabulated in the manner in which it was cast. Our Legislature decided that this task could best be accomplished by taking the right to assign poll positions out of the auditor's control by allowing the major political parties to place their members in the polling places.
Please contact your elected officials and demand that the auditor follow the election laws as enacted by our Legislature.
Sheila L. Richardson