Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton, the county’s lone elected Democrat, will run for a new term.
“I just want to make sure that we have someone who’s competent and capable to lead the Auditor’s Office,” Dalton said.
Dalton filed paperwork announcing her candidacy with the state Public Disclosure Commission last week.
No county official has served longer than Dalton, who first won election in 1998. She’s managed to win every re-election campaign in the last 20 years even though the county has gone from politically purple to deep red during her tenure.
At least one Republican challenger is attempting to unseat Dalton. Spokane Valley state Rep. Bob McCaslin filed to run for auditor last month and announced he’s retiring from the Legislature.
The Auditor’s Office is rarely in the limelight but it fulfills multiple important governmental duties. For instance, it records property deeds, administers motor vehicle licenses and oversees elections.
That third responsibility has brought auditor offices increased attention since 2020.
Many Americans continue to believe Donald Trump only lost the 2020 presidential election due to voter fraud. That belief persists even after courts have dismissed dozens of election fraud lawsuits and elections officials throughout the country have repeatedly discredited fraud allegations.
On his campaign website, McCaslin says he’s running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and transparency. He hasn’t mentioned any concerns of voter fraud, but in August he attended a meeting in a Snohomish church titled “Americans United & Determined to Improve Transparency.”
Neither McCaslin nor the four other state representatives who attended the meeting spoke much, at least based on a nearly four-hour YouTube recording of the event.
But the gathering was branded as a discussion of “election irregularities” and the keynote speaker, Seth Keshel, used his time to argue county-specific Washington election results in 2020 were implausible based on past voting trends.
Dalton said several people have approached her and her office with questions about the 2020 election.
No one has brought forth any credible evidence of fraud or wrongdoing, she said, emphasizing that if anyone has such evidence the Auditor’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office will work together to investigate it.
“Over the last two decades, my staff and I have ensured that voters in Spokane County do have an election system that’s safe, secure, accurate and accessible,” Dalton said. “When it comes to elections it’s really about security, accuracy and accessibility.”
Elections are just one of the auditor’s responsibilities, Dalton emphasized.
For instance, she said she’s working on a major project to implement a new, countywide financial system that will handle payroll, purchasing, time keeping and more. She’s also working with the state to remove racially restrictive covenants.
It’s no longer legal to prohibit people of color from living in a given neighborhood, but racist language persists in official property records. Dalton said she’s helping the state develop a plan for removing the offensive language while simultaneously preserving the original document so it’s available for research.
Dalton said voters should keep her years of experience in mind come election time.
“There’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done,” she said. “I’m the one with the expertise and the background.”
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