When Skagit County Commissioners approved the 2024 budget without modifications on December 11, 2023, it included $150,000 to provide election materials in Spanish for Spanish-speaking voters. It was also the culmination of several years of advocacy by community members.
For the last several years the news and social media have been full of stories about faulty election integrity despite an almost complete lack of well-founded reason for concern. Have you worried about our elections department in Skagit County? Are you concerned about whether your ballot was counted or not?
As we open our ballots and ponder who should get our valuable vote we should spend a bit of time exploring a free resource at our fingertips, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) website https://www.pdc.wa.gov/. The PDC is a state agency that houses the information candidates and political committees are required to report about donations to their campaigns and how they have spent the funds.
In 2019, Home Rule Skagit, a local organization working for transparency, accountability, and broader representation in Skagit County government made Public Records Requests to look at particular County records related to the campaign they had conducted in 2018. In response to their first request, the 732 documents received from Skagit County Public Information Officer Cori Russell were almost completely blacked out, sometimes including the dates. In response to a second request, 7.128 gigabytes of information were turned over having little to do with the materials requested. What is going on?
A recent problem with the Mount Vernon mayoral race has raised an important issue regarding how candidates file for office and who verifies their eligibility for that office. The issue is larger than this one election and we should all be informed.