By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
EVERETT — Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel has set herself apart from her peers statewide for her work overseeing elections and managing document archives.
So says Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, who Thursday recognized Weikel as the state’s 2012 Auditor of the Year. Reed praised her for earning a reputation as “an advocate for fair, accountable elections” and a “level-headed voice in the county auditors’ association.”
“We have worked a lot with Carolyn in elections,” Reed said Monday. “She is a real leader in the state.”
Reed presented Weikel with a formal award during the Washington State Association of County Auditor’s annual conference in Ocean Shores.
Weikel oversees three areas of county government: elections, document recording and licensing, which includes animal control. Duties vary for her counterparts in other Washington counties, though they have elections and document archiving in common. Both of those responsibilities put them in close contact with Washington’s secretary of state.
“It was a nice award and I was very surprised,” Weikel said.
Weikel was first appointed to her office in January 2007, then ran unopposed for a full four-year term that fall. In 2011, she won re- election to a second term, again unopposed.
Weikel grew up outside Boston and supervised the King County Auditor’s licensing division before coming to work in Snohomish County in 1990. In Snohomish County, she managed the auditor’s licensing and elections divisions before going on to lead the office.
Weikel listed creating one of the state’s most sophisticated ballot-accountability systems among her proudest work accomplishments. The system can track a ballot envelope from the moment it reaches the office through tabulation.
She also has worked to put more documents online, while at the same time striving to protect sensitive data such as Social Security numbers.
“We’ve been able to balance the need for openness, but also for private security,” she said.
There’s a lot Weikel still wants to accomplish.
“I would like to see a higher participation in elections and not just the presidential year having a high turnout,” she said.
An evolving challenge is how to put more of her office’s resources online.
While that might be doable when it comes to document-recording services, online voting could prove very tough.
“I would love to be able to provide Internet voting for people, but the security issues are so great, I’m not sure we’ll ever get there,” she said.
She now lives in the south Everett area of unincorporated Snohomish County with her husband, former County Deputy Executive Gary Weikel, and her licensed, micro-chipped cat, Kasha. She has two grown daughters.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; email@example.com.