Electing an Election Director?

King County, WA is going to conduct its first fully vote by mail election–in order to elect the election director!

At first blush, I thought this was unusual, until I checked David Kimball and Martha Kropf’s excellent article in the Review of Policy Research (for those of you who don’t have access, this is Review of Policy Research Volume 23 Issue 6, Pages 1257 – 1268)

I reproduce below Tables 2 and 3 from the article, which shows that about half of election directors from jurisdictions with >20,000 voters elect their directors, but also that 89% of all jurisdictions out West use the elective method.  It would have been nice if David and Martha provided any information on breakdowns within region, since there are anomalous distributions of election jurisdictions across regions (for instance, the oft mentioned fact that Wisconsin alone has more about 25% of all jurisdictions nationwide).

Table 2. Selection Methods for Local Election Authority by Jurisdiction Size

Selection Method Less than 20,000 voters (N = 3,603) More than 20,000 voters (N = 1,009)

Individual Elected by Voters 64% 49%
Elected Board of Elections 2% 1%
Appointed Board of Elections 18% 14%
Appointed Individual 16% 35%

Table 3. Selection Methods for Local Election Authority by Region

Selection Method South
(N = 1,423)
(N = 419)
North Central
(N = 1,064)
(N = 1,706)

Individual Elected by Voters 47% 89% 88% 49%
Elected Board of Elections 6% 0% 0% 0%
Appointed Board of Elections 42% 0% 10% 18%
Appointed Individual 5% 11% 2% 33%