Washington Policy Center

Should candidates verify their backgrounds for voters?

April 7, 2014

Voting for candidates for elected office is an important decision. Unfortunately at times there is little information available about candidates to help us make an informed decision. While county auditors and the Secretary of State produce voter pamphlets with information self-provided by those running for office, is the information actually truthful?

That’s where the new CandidateVerification.org in our state has the potential to bring clarity.  

According to David Doud, Executive Director of CandidateVerification.org, that is based in Bellevue:

Candidate Verification is 501c3 non-profit that is like the ‘CarFax of politics’, providing political candidates with self-authorized background checks in order to refute personal attacks and increase openness and trustworthiness. Candidate Verification uses the same tools as any other business would use when hiring a new employee.

What does the CandidateVerification.org review process cover?

CandidateVerification.org is a non-profit corporation that provides free background checks and resume verification services to candidates running for public office in the United States. Our database is populated with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant self-authorized background checks that are published with permission of the candidate. The background checks are conducted by leading employment screening companies in the United States. The background check covers 10-year criminal/civil records, as well as verifies education, employment, professional credentials, and military records.

One local, major election heavyweight recently partnered with CandidateVerification.org to assist with its endorsement process. According to the Municipal League of King County:

On the heels of a successful pilot project in 2013, next year the Municipal League plans to make CandidateVerification’s background checks a formal part of our program, and to make these background checks available for all candidates we evaluate. Washington State has a rich history of raising the bar on public disclosure in local government. The Municipal League believes that we should expect the same level of transparency from the people who are seeking public office and we are pleased to provide this important information to King County voters.

Along with using existing resources like WPC’s WashingtonVotes.org (that provides details on lawmakers’ voting records and bill sponsorships), CandidateVerification.org is a tool for voters to learn more about those asking for their votes. With the verification being provided to candidates for free, the question for them is whether or not they believe voters can handle the truth about their backgrounds. Refusing to participate in the free CandidateVerification.org review is one way to answer that question.