Submitted by Thurston County Auditor’s Office
Expanding the election observer program and a program to strike racially restrictive covenants have received national recognition for the Thurston County Auditor’s Office.
The National Association of Counties (NACO) Achievement Awards were announced May 9. The Auditor’s Office received awards for expanding their election observer program and their outreach program to stop racially restrictive covenants from being passed on through future purchases of property. The Election Observer program also received an honorable mention in Outstanding Innovations in Elections from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
The NACO awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. “This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties work every day to build healthy, safe, and thriving communities,” said Larry Johnson, NACO President.
The expanded election observer program was established after a dramatic increase in inquiries regarding ballot processing during the 2020 presidential election. The election division saw the largest and most consistent number of observers, despite capacity limitations due to the pandemic.
Through the racially restrictive covenant outreach program, the Auditor’s Office made direct outreach to hundreds of landowners. Though made illegal decades ago, racially restrictive covenants on titles continued to be passed from buyer to buyer. The county created community partnerships, developed outreach materials, and directly contacted landowners to facilitate the elimination of these covenants by completing and returning racially restrictive covenant modification forms.
The Auditor’s Financial Services division also recently received their 15th straight Annual Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.
“We continue to strive every year to improve how we do our work,” said Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor. “These awards recognize only our most significant efforts. Auditor staff work every day to serve the people of Thurston County through free, fair, secure and transparent elections, honest and open Financial Services, and excellent customer service in Licensing, Recording and Passports.”