At a recent meeting, I found that some prospective voters were confused about the identity of county auditor candidate Gary Alexander, believing him to be a respected former state Supreme Court Chief Justice. They were surprised to learn he’s not an ex-judge, but a highly partisan Republican state representative and active member of ALEC, the corporation-dominated American Legislative Exchange Council.
Given the similarity of names (the former justice is Gerry Alexander), it’s easy to understand the confusion. Gary Alexander was appointed by the county commissioners to the auditor position after Kim Wyman, also a Republican, won election to state office last November. Now, however, two of the three commissioners support Democrat Mary Hall as the better qualified candidate.
Hall, a Thurston County resident, has been supervisor of elections in Pierce County for 17 years, and, like Wyman, she would bring to the job a wealth of hands-on experience in assuring fair, rigorous, inclusive, and nonpoliticized election processes. Partisan affiliation is not necessarily important in this race, but experience is. In this case, name confusion could affect voters’ decisions, with unfortunate consequences.