Special candidate filing set for county elections director

A special three-day candidate filing for the county’s chief election official is planned for Wednesday, Dec. 10 through Friday, Dec. 12. Candidates interested in the non-partisan position will need to file in person or by mail at election headquarters in Renton from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

State law directs that special filing periods be only three days rather than the traditional five-day filing period held every June.

Voters approved charter amendment 1, choosing to elect the director of the Elections Division in the upcoming Feb. 3, 2009 special election. Most recently the director has been appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Metropolitan County Council.

Responsibilities of the elections director include: administering up to six elections a year for 143 jurisdictions, managing the voter rolls for 1.1 million voters, filing candidates for office, verifying initiatives and petitions, and managing a staff of 61 full time staffers and more than 600 temporary employees, and over-seeing a budget of $19,586,056.

The King County Charter requires that a candidate for county office be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a registered voter in King County. In addition to these requirements, the County Council recently specified three additional qualifications required for the person who is elected to oversee all King County Election services. The elected director:

1. Cannot hold an office in a political party while serving as the director of elections.

2. Cannot have worked for, performed paid services for, or hold a financial interest in any non-governmental company that designs, manufactures or sells elections tabulation or voter registration equipment or software, for one year immediately before filing to run for, being appointed to, or holding the office.

3. Must earn certification as an elections administrator from the Washington Secretary of State within 30 months of being elected or appointed to the office, and meet all continuing education requirements.

Candidate filing fee is $1,460.40 and the annual salary is $146,040.24. The term of office begins Feb. 18, 2009 (upon certification of the election). The initial term of office will end Dec. 31, 2011. A full, four year term will be on the ballot in Aug. 2011.