Topic: Secretary of State
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February 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM
OLYMPIA — Washington has the second best election system in the United States, according to a 17-indicator index released Tuesday.
The Pew Charitable Trusts study is based on data from the 2010 election. It will be updated with 2012 statistics later this year, officials said.
North Dakota placed first in the index. Mississippi finished last. Oregon, which along with Washington uses all-mail voting, tied for third.
When the numbers were run for the 2008 election, however, Washington finished eighth.
The index touts itself as the “first-ever comprehensive assessment of election administration.” It is based on indicators ranging from voter registration and turnout rates to voting wait time, voting-information look-up tools and absentee-ballot return rate.
“It’s great news that Washington is one of the very top states when it comes to the accessibility and integrity of elections and voter registration,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman wrote in a news release about the index. “I appreciate the hard work put into the index and how it provides an objective set of measurements to look at how we and other states are conducting elections.”
November 10, 2012 at 3:16 PM
Democrat Kathleen Drew has conceded in the race for secretary of state to Republican candidate Kim Wyman.
Wyman, former Thurston County auditor, had a narrow lead over Drew in the race to replace longtime incumbent Sam Reed, who is retiring as secretary of state. Reed had been in office since 2000.
In a statement, Drew said,
“Today, I called Kim Wyman to congratulate her on a hard fought victory and to concede the race. I know that she will carry forward Washington’s tradition of fair and impartial elections, and I am optimistic that she will work on measures to remove barriers and increase voter participation. I talked to her about the importance of fully funding the primary voters’ pamphlet at the state level, which had been a cornerstone of my campaign. I wish her all the best.
Drew is a former state senator from Issaquah.
Wyman campaigned on her experience conducting more than 80 elections at the county level. The Secretary of State’s main job is to oversee state and local elections. The office is also responsible for registering and licensing private corporations.
Wyman’s victory continues a nearly 50-year run during which the largely Democratic Washington has elected Republicans as Secretary of State. All the other statewide offices up for grabs this year went to Democrats.
November 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Citing concerns about voter disenfranchisement, Washington state elections officials are asking for detailed information about each ballot collected by political parties and campaign workers.
The request stems from reports that some staffers paid by the King County Republican Party are offering to collect ballots and deliver them to official county drop-off centers. The party has also set up nine “GOP Victory Vans” where voters can drop off ballots.
Democrats have done similar, although less organized, efforts in the past. Benton Strong, a party spokesman, said they are not doing it this year.
The practice is legal but concerning to officials, who have recommended that voters submit ballots themselves.
In a letter sent Tuesday morning, state elections director Katie Blinn requested that by 5 p.m. Wednesday parties submit the names and addresses of all voters whose ballots were collected, the date and location of the collection, the name of who received it and when and where the ballot was delivered to an official drop box.
The request is not legally binding, but would “reflect much better on the parties if they do than if they refuse to,” Blinn said in an interview.
Democrats, who have been trying to make hay of the Victory Vans, applauded the move. Republicans dismissed it as unimportant.
“My focus today is on getting out the vote. We have an election to win,” said Randy Pepple, the campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. “This is just tactics by the Democratic Party to waste my time to distract from the fact their candidate’s going to lose.”
McKenna is in a tight, nationally-watched race with Democrat Jay Inslee.
On Monday, state Sen. Ed Murray — a Democrat — said he will introduce legislation next year to prohibit ballot collection by party and campaign workers.
October 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected a claim by gay-rights opponents who, three years ago, sought to shield from release the names of those who signed Referendum 71 petitions.
Protect Marriage Washington, the campaign seeking at the time to repeal a portion of the state’s domestic partnership law, had argued that releasing the names of signers would subject them to harassment.
The court on Tuesday said the plaintiffs failed to show that disclosing the signatures is “reasonably likely to result in retaliation against those who signed” and noted that preventing the Secretary of State from continuing to fulfill requests for signatures would be meaningless since the names are already available on the internet.
Essentially, the court said, the case is moot.
The challenge by Protect Marriage Washington, Doe v Reed, began in 2009 in the middle of the Ref. 71 campaign and turned into a full-on legal battle that reached to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
The signatures have been publicly available since October 2011. Read the Secretary of State’s account here.
August 7, 2012 at 9:24 PM
Republican Kim Wyman appeared certain to advance to the general election in her bid to replace retiring Secretary of State Sam Reed in November, based on early returns.
Her Democratic opponent seemed most likely to be former State Senator Kathleen Drew.
Wyman, the Thurston County auditor, held a big lead as the only Republican in a field of six candidates, with 39 percent of the early vote count.
Drew was leading two other Democratic rivals with 21 percent. Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had 16 percent while state Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, had 14 percent.
July 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Washington state voters this fall will get to express their approval or disapproval of two minor tax increases passed by the Legislature earlier this year, the first use of a little-known provision of a 2007 initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman.
The “tax advisory votes” will be non-binding, meaning lawmakers won’t be required to change policy based on what voters say. They will concern the elimination of a mortgage-related tax deduction for interstate banks and the extension of a tax on wholesale oil sales.
The addition of the advisory votes to the November ballot was announced Monday by the Secretary of State’s Office after the office received formal notification from Solicitor General Maureen Hart.
The Everett Herald first reported on the possibility of the advisory votes last week.
Including the queries on the voter’s pamphlet may cost more than $100,000, The Herald reported.
But Eyman said it’s important for lawmakers to consider public input in tax decisions.
“I’m very pleased that voters will at least get a chance to weigh in on these tax increases with a vote and they get the opportunity to learn how legislators voted on these tax increase bills,” Eyman wrote in a statement responding to the Monday announcement. “What I like most is that legislators in 2013 and beyond will have another reason to think twice about voting for any tax increase: their legislative votes on tax increases will be published in the voters pamphlet and they’ll know that their constituents will have the chance to second-guess their vote.”
His Initiative 960, which passed in 2007, received attention for its requirement of a two-thirds vote for the Legislature to raise taxes. But it also called for taxes that passed that threshold to get a non-binding public vote.
The initiative was suspended in 2010, but that suspension has since expired.
The two tax minor increases were each passed earlier this year by huge margins.
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