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Candidate who questioned election security wins Mason County auditor’s race

Challenger Steve Duenkel says he's 'honored' after the incumbent conceded.

MASON COUNTY, Wash. — A candidate who questioned the integrity of recent elections will be in charge of elections in Mason County next year.

“I am thankful, honored and humbled to be Mason County’s new Auditor,” Steve Duenkel wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page Monday night.

Duenkel did not want to speak publicly about the race until the election is certified later this month.

As a candidate, Duenkel espoused conspiracy theories that Democrats are stealing elections, questioned mail in voting and voting machines, and suggested returning to hand-counting of ballots.

“It’s over. He got more votes. He won,” said current Mason County Auditor Paddy McGuire.

McGuire said he would not be challenging the results.

He said he is “concerned” about Duenkel’s comments during the campaign.

"Election denialism is a scary prospect,” said McGuire. “And it's very corrosive for the democratic process."

As the KING 5 Investigators previously reported, Duenkel authored a "Voter Anomaly" report that was submitted to county officials this summer, along with a demand for the county to investigate any “mistake or fraudulent act” in the 239 voter registration anomalies identified in their report.  

KING 5 visited more than a dozen address of supposed “voter anomalies” highlighted in the report and mailed and messaged additional voters. Most of the voter registrations KING 5 checked were not anomalies and could be explained or verified as legitimate voters.

“There’s a lot of questions out there about our voting machines, a lot of uncertainly,” Duenkel told iFibreOne KMAS in May, long after conspiracies about Dominion Voting Systems and other machines had been debunked. Duenkel suggested returning to in-person voting and hand-counting ballots as a fix.

Watch: Investigation uncovers truth behind voter fraud claims

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