NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Sherril Huff confirms retirement as King County Director of Elections; won’t run again

King Coun­ty’s incum­bent Direc­tor of Elec­tions Sher­ril Huff con­firmed this morn­ing what polit­i­cal insid­ers and a num­ber of activists have been hear­ing over the last few days: She’s retir­ing from the job and will not run again this year.

In a news release sent to NPI, Huff said she had been plan­ning to run for anoth­er four-year term, but decid­ed against it for “per­son­al and health con­sid­er­a­tions”.

She did not elab­o­rate.

“It is with some sad­ness that I made this deci­sion,” she said. “I love my job, my team of ded­i­cat­ed pro­fes­sion­als, and the work we do to ensure trans­par­ent, effi­cient elec­tions for the 1.1 mil­lion vot­ers in our state’s largest Coun­ty. I was look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing this ser­vice, but after con­sult­ing with fam­i­ly, friends and col­leagues, I am mak­ing the right deci­sion to step down after this year.”

“I’m par­tic­u­lar­ly proud of the advance­ments we have made in bal­lot track­ing, improv­ing tech­nolo­gies to speed count­ing and pro­cess­ing, and improv­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty through vote by mail, drop box­es, mul­ti-lan­guage vot­ing mate­ri­als, and oth­er efforts to increase par­tic­i­pa­tion,” she added.

“I know I am leav­ing the office in a strong posi­tion as a state and nation­al leader, and will enjoy the remain­ing months in office.”

Huf­f’s deci­sion to retire cre­ates an open seat, which will undoubt­ed­ly attract a few can­di­dates. The posi­tion is one of two coun­ty­wide jobs on the bal­lot this year. The oth­er is Asses­sor, a job cur­rent­ly held by Lloyd Hara. He is seek­ing reelec­tion and is opposed by chal­lenger John Arthur Wil­son. Both are Democ­rats.

Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Chris Roberts, who is a col­league of mine on the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee (WSDCC), plans to seek the posi­tion, and is work­ing on launch­ing a cam­paign.

Anoth­er can­di­date may be Julie Ann Wise, who serves as Huf­f’s deputy. Wise resides in Maple Val­ley and is eli­gi­ble to seek the posi­tion. She has not made any com­ments that the team at NPI is aware of about seek­ing the posi­tion. But she could run.

King Coun­ty vot­ers made the posi­tion of elec­tions direc­tor an elect­ed one sev­er­al years ago through a char­ter amend­ment. Pri­or to that, it had been an appoint­ed posi­tion. Huff had been the pre­vi­ous­ly-appoint­ed direc­tor, cho­sen by Exec­u­tive Ron Sims, and she suc­cess­ful­ly ran to keep her job in a spe­cial elec­tion, beat­ing out a field of most­ly unqual­i­fied can­di­dates that includ­ed Pam Roach and David Irons.

Now that Huff is depart­ing, King Coun­ty will have its first real­ly open elec­tion for elec­tions direc­tor, a posi­tion that is unique in Wash­ing­ton State. (In the state’s oth­er coun­ties, elec­tions are admin­is­tered by audi­tors, who are direct­ly elect­ed.)

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One Comment

  1. So, how do you feel about elect­ing the direc­tor of elec­tions. I have mixed feel­ings, an appoint­ment could bring the most qual­i­fied can­di­date, or it could bring the exec­u­tive’s frat broth­er or pok­er pal. An elec­tion turns it into a pop­u­lar­i­ty con­test. I tend to go for the appoint­ment method.

    # by Mike Barer :: May 11th, 2015 at 9:43 PM