Incumbent Auditor Vicky Dalton is a Democrat – the only one in the Spokane County Courthouse – and has held the position for the past 16 years. Her Republican challenger, Realtor Alene Lindstrand, says it’s time for a fresh approach to the office.
The county auditor oversees elections, maintains financial records and is in charge of local vehicle licensing.
How long have you lived in Spokane County? All my life, except for 18 years my husband's career took us away.
Why did you decide to file for this office at this time? Good government requires regular change in elected officials. Incumbent has 16 years in office and wants four more. Time for a fresh approach. I'm an election observer and authored voter education information flyers and presentations -- all on my own time and money -- four years ago. Incumbent has done zero voter education; voters not informed about extensive ballot processes, or which "mistakes" cause ballots to be re-voted (duplicated). Over 20,000 ballots re-voted in 2010! Numerous inefficiencies -- no electronic checking and other 21st century computer updates; recording department wastefully rejects all documents for nonmaterial mistakes.
Why should voters choose you over your opponent? Voters deserve an independent election audit after 16 years! I truly care about your vote to count as you intend it. Improve ballot security: Ballots counted before Election Day on machines not recommended to do so because there is no internal "security clock;” I.D. isn't required yet, voter integrity demands it. All ballots/envelopes are printed and trucked in from Seattle --Spokane needs these jobs! Auditor's office must serve the people; defamation of character lawsuit was avoidable and is unacceptable. Must balance department's top-heavy supervisory vs. employee ratios. All voter signature-checking inefficiently done one at a time -- use/rent electronic signature checking, like banks.
What issues do you feel are most pertinent to the auditor's office going into the next four years? Auditor's office needs better management and communication skills to effectively handle four very different departments. Encourage employee morale, use electronic checking and other computer updates; improve state audit reports revealing auditor has been"lacking internal controls" for years. Military ballot concerns must be addressed; reduce ballot re-voting and increase ballot security.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? People don't know how to avoid re-voted (duplicated) ballots -- even changing your mind (crossing out a choice) requires your ballot to be re-voted. They have never heard about voter education, except from my efforts. As auditor, I will use public service announcements, local government programming and adult education classes for voter education. Many still do not realize that Washington is a mail-in-only state with no poll sites after 11 years.
How long have you lived in Spokane County? I believe that the services the Auditor’s Office provides to the residents of Spokane are important and that I am the best qualified to manage this office.
Why did you decide to file for this office at this time? I am the most qualified person to manage the auditor’s office. Besides serving for 16 years, I am also a CPA, a Certified Elections Administrator, and have degrees in accounting and computer management.
Due to the recession, my divisions lost nearly 20 percent of our workforce. Continuing to provide services with fewer employees has been possible with the use of technology. Our next significant efficiency project is to move from paper-based transactions in the accounting division to electronic processing. This will greatly speed the payment cycle and allow us to monitor transactions for delays in processing. This will also reduce staff effort across the county as well as save postage costs in my office.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? A comment that has surprised me is the belief that a voter must mark every race on the ballot or their ballot will not count. In reality, the voter can mark all, some or even none of the races on their ballot. The ballot will be accepted and only those marks indicated by the voter will be tallied.