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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County auditor will heed critics’ ideas

Democratic Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton says she’ll implement some good ideas from her Republican critics.

Dalton made the announcement Friday at a meeting of the county Canvassing Board, which is established by state law to review and certify elections.

The board is composed of Dalton, who presides over its meetings, County Commission Chairman Mark Richard and Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Jim Emacio.

Dalton responded to four suggestions among six pages of ideas submitted by the Spokane County Republican Party and Republican auditor candidate Leonard Christian.

The suggestions range from criticism that Dalton shouldn’t put her name and status as a certified public accountant on ballot envelopes to a complaint that the election office lighting is poor.

Richard and Emacio encouraged Dalton to respond to the rest of the Republican suggestions, and she said she will do so at an informal meeting Wednesday morning.

“I have been asked to weigh in on these questions, and probably will be again,” said Richard, who is a Republican.

He said he wanted to be able to share information “so that everyone is comfortable with the excellent job that your office is doing.”

Richard said Christian made “some good points,” but he thinks the county has enough safeguards to prevent any election tampering extensive enough to change an outcome.

Christian and several Democratic and Republican election observers who attended Friday’s meeting weren’t invited to speak, but Dalton said they’ll get their chance Wednesday.

The suggestions Dalton addressed Friday include conducting a more rigorous procedure for making sure her supply of blank ballots isn’t misused.

Also, Dalton said she’ll give more notice and more detailed agendas for meetings of the county Canvassing Board, such as the one at which she made the announcement Friday.

“This suggestion is actually a very good suggestion and is very well taken,” Dalton said.

Dalton rejected two other suggestions on grounds that they were in practice all along.

The Washington secretary of state’s office already has a “robust program” of monitoring local election offices and already is studying bank-style computer software to check signatures, Dalton said.

She said the software isn’t yet practical for election use.

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