This is a Followup on the Fourth Corner Coverage at: “BREAKING: Local Candidate for county At-Large seat told by County staff to alter Statement in Voter Pamphlet”
After the Whatcom County Council At-Large Candidate Mike Peetoom’s appeal of the Auditor’s request to alter his candidate statement in the Voter’s Pamphlet the Prosecutor’s office issued this statement:
From: Karen Frakes
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 11:20 AM
To: Debbie Adelstein
Subject: Candidate Statement Review
I am writing to document my decision on the appeal of the partial rejection of the candidate statement of Mike Peetoom. After reviewing the applicable law, I have determined that the statement adequately complies with legal requirements and should be accepted for inclusion in the voters’ pamphlet. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns in reference to this matter.
- Karen N. Frakes
- Chief Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
- Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office
- 311 Grand Ave., Suite 201
- Bellingham, WA 98225
Mike Peetoom’s comment was: “Our free speech is a common man principle the bureaucracy doesn’t like. We stood for this principle and we’d do it again.”
What is the process and how does the review of candidate statements work?
Auditor Debbie Adelstein granted an interview with The Fourth Corner to cover these questions. The deputy Auditor was present and The Fourth Corner learned the following about the process and what is involved.
All Candidates work is reviewed for form and content before being approved for publication in the Whatcom County Voter’s pamphlet.
- Staff looks at the statement for form: number of words paragraphs etc. to make certain that the allocated space for the candidate can contain the statement.
- Staff helps the candidate; by defining the parameters; get into compliance but has strict time constraints for publication.
- Staff looks at the statement for content: if staff believes there is a need to change content the Auditor is the last point of review in the auditors office.
- Staff will help the candidate come into compliance if requested but has strict time constraints for publication.
- If a candidate does not believe that the content should be changed he/she has the right to get an opinion from the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
- The Prosecutor has the final say on whether the Statement must be adjusted.
Appeal: This was the first time that anyone could remember a case like this going to the
Prosecuting Attorney as called for in the guidelines.