Monday, October 27, 2008

Dave Seago: Release all elections results on Election Day

Dave Seago (in a posting on the Tacoma News Tribune editorial blog) has called for the Pierce County Elections Department to release all election results at the same times. In particular, Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy announced her department intends to wait until Friday evening to release the preliminary results on county level elections.

"McCarthy currently plans to release on election night only the totals of first-place rankings candidates receive in the RCV contests. These include races for county executive, County Council, sheriff and assessor.

I don't think it makes any sense for the auditor to arbitrarily release only part of the preliminary results on election night. Voters understand full well that first-night results can change, especially after enduring the aftermath of the 2004 governor's race in Washington.

And because McCarthy herself is a candidate for county executive, she needs to avoid any possible perception that she would be privy to the full results before other candidates and the public.

McCarthy needs to be purer than Caesar's wife at this point. That means releasing all the results, right away.

The Washington Coalition for Open Government (I'm a board member), state Auditor and former Pierce County auditor Brian Sonntag, and RCV proponents agree on that score.

In following discussion, "ballot image file" refers to a computer file that contains all the information from voter ballots used to determine the results of the RCV election. The file includes each voter's rankings of the candidates in each RCV race."

State Auditor Brian Sonntag says:

"If returns are available .... and being published .... how do you NOT
publish ALL you have?"

The Pierce County Auditor's office should release results for ALL races on Tuesday night.

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