The head of elections for Pierce County has put out a call for independent election observers who donâ€™t consider themselves Democrats or Republicans.
While state law requires volunteers from the two major political parties to serve as observers of ballot processing, the handling of ballot dropboxes and post-election audits, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson wants to expand the role so that citizens without political affiliation are â€œafforded the same opportunities. We need citizens of every political stripe to be engaged.â€
Anderson said the county has a steady flow of Democratic and Republican observers, but â€œwe must recognize that a substantial and growing percentage of voters donâ€™t affiliate with either of the two major political parties. To maintain confidence in election accuracy and integrity, we must have citizens independently observe election activities.â€
The League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County, like political parties that recruit within their ranks, will recruit, appoint and schedule independent observers in coordination with the auditorâ€™s office, which conducts the countyâ€™s elections.
â€œProviding volunteers for independent oversight of elections is perfectly aligned with the Leagueâ€™s mission. I hope that this model will be replicated in other counties,â€ said Cynthia Stewart, president of the Tacoma-Pierce County League of Women Voters.
Independents who want to be an observer can contact Sharon Wilhelm, in care of the League of Women Voters, at email@example.com.
The contacts for prospective observers from the major political parties are Julian Wheeler for Democrats at Julianfwheeler@aol.com, and Chris Johnson for Republicans at 253-722-5353 or PierceGOP@PierceGOP.org.
Anderson said election observers must be Pierce County registered voters and complete one two-hour training before beginning their duties. Upcoming training dates are July 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. and July 12 from 10 a.m. to 12.