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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Secretary of State

Exhibit marks state’s 125th ‘birthday’

Secretary of State Kim Wyman

OLYMPIA – 1889 was a momentous year for Washington.

Three of its largest cities, including Spokane Falls, nearly burned to the ground that summer then began to rise from their ashes. A second railroad announced plans to join the Northern Pacific in connecting the state with the East. A constitutional convention set up the Populist-Progressive framework for government which was ratified by the strictly male electorate in September. And 125 years ago today, the telegram arrived from the other Washington declaring the official switch from territory to statehood arrived from the federal government.

Collect. Western Union wouldn’t deliver it until the 61 cents was paid. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Mock election results in

Given a chance to vote on some items on this year's ballot, Washington students supported wider background checks for gun sales and smaller classroom sizes for themselves.

The Secretary of State's office traditionally holds a mock election for students from kindergarten through high school, with some of the races on the actual ballot. This year it included the three initiatives and the U.S. House race in the district where the students live. With balloting available online, some 18,000 students voted.

Initiative 594, which would expand background checks currently required for sales from licensed dealers to most private sales, passed with more than 68 percent of the vote. Initiative 591, which wouldn't allow the state to change background check requirements unless there was a new national standard, failed with about a 55 percent votes marked no.

Initiative 1351, which would require smaller class sizes in grades K-12 of the state's public schools, received slightly more than 51 percent yes votes. 

In Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers got 63.5 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Joe Pakootas. Congressional incumbents running in other districts also came out on top. In Central Washington's 4th District, Dan Newhouse edged Clint Didier in a race between two Republicans for the open seat.

A video voter’s guide for the primary

TVW and the Secretary of State's office have put together a video voter's guide for statewide candidates on the Aug. 7 primary election.

For voters who want to see the candidates before making a choice, here's your chance.

If the video is taking too long to load, (it's a big file)  try the TVW website here.

Jumping into 2012 races

OLYMPIA — Five days left in this election cycle, but here's some candidates for the 2012 election.

Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, said today he'll run for State Auditor. Longtime Auditor Brian Sonntag announced more than a month ago he wouldn't seek re-election, and Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, got in the race in October, and Rep. Chris Reykdahl, D-Olympia set up “an exploratory committee” to consider the run. One possible factor in Pridemore's decision: Sen. Lisa Brown, the Senate Majority leader from Spokane, said earlier this week she would not run for auditor.

Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, is running for Secretary of State. That seat is also open, as longtime Sec. State Sam Reed announced this summer he was retiring.  State Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, and Republican Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman are already in that race.

All the state reps will give up their seats if they stay in the race. So will Pridemore and Kastama, because they face re-election in 2012. So the dominoes could start falling in legislative districts around the state.

Registration reminder: Sign up by Monday

Washington residents who want to vote in the general election but just haven't got around to registering have until Monday to sign up “the easy ways.”

The easy ways are by Internet, by going to the Secretary of State's website, or by mailing in a voter registration form.

The slightly harder way — which might also be regarded as “the old way”, because that's what folks once had to do — is to go down to your county elections office and fill out the form in person. If you miss Monday's deadline, you can still do that until Halloween. But let's face it, if you won't do it on the Internet in the comfort of your own home, and maybe in your pajamas, how likely are you to make a special trip to the county offices?

You are eligible to vote if you are:

At least 18 years old by Nov. 8, which is election day this year.
A citizen of the United States.
A resident of Washington state

So if all those apply, you can vote unless you are :

A convicted felon who has not had your voting rights restored.
Someone declared mentally incompetent and ineligible to vote by a court.

So if you can pass this 5-point test, you can register.

An estimate released by the Secretary of State's office suggests that about one in five Washington residents who are eligible to vote are not registered.

So if 20 percent aren't even registered, and only 60 percent bother to vote, and the winning candidate gets 51 percent, how is that an example of “majority rules?”

Wyman running for Sec State

Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman announces 2012 campaign for Secretary of State.

OLYMPIA — After waiting a respectable 48  hours after her old boss got out of the 2012 Secretary of State race, Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman got in it Thursday.

Wyman told a press gaggle in Olympia she would be running to replace Sam Reed, who also preceded her as Thurston County Auditor. She said she wants to modernize the voter registration by moving from paper registration to a more computer-based system, one that would eventually jibe with other states, allowing for better checks of voter rolls across state lines.

She said she has few disagreements with Reed, who is retiring after 12 years in the post. She doesn't agree with him that all ballots in the state's vote-by-mail system should be in elections officials' hands by 8 p.m. on Election Night to be counted. She would let the ballots continue to be received and counted as long as they are mailed by then, as the law now allows, but thinks the delays in reaching a final count could be reduced by making the system more efficient.

Wyman said she doesn't agree with the Legislature's decision to take money set aside for a Heritage Center in Olympia to help keep the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane and the State History Museum in Tacoma open. That decision has put the planned Heritage Center on hold.

“I was disappointed they chose to sweep the funding for the Heritage Center,” she said. “You've robbed Paul to pay Peter. But the Legislature has the ability to do that.”

The state doesn't have a widespread problem with illegal immigrants and other ineligible residents registering to vote, but it does have to address a “perception” that problem exists, Wyman said. It's unlikely that most illegal immigrants would  walk into a government agency to register to vote and risk being caught and deported, she said.

Wyman, 48, was the Thurston County elections manager before being appointed county auditor in 2001 when  Reed was elected to the state job. She has held the auditor's post ever since, with her last re-election in 2010, and currently is the only Republican in county office in Thurston County.

Sam Reed to retire after 2012

Sam Reed says he won't run for re-election at a press conference today.

OLYMPIA — Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed is calling it quits after three terms in that office and more than 34 as an elected official.

Reed, a Spokane  native and a leader in the moderate wing of the state Republican Party, said today he will retire at the end of  his term rather than seek re-election in 2012 as the state's chief elections officer, archivist and business registrar.

During his term, he saw the state go from poll-site balloting to vote-by-mail elections and oversaw the recount of the 2004 gubernatorial race, one of the closest statewide contests in U.S. history, which Democrat Chris Gregoire won after two recounts with a margin of 133 votes out of more than 2.8 million ballots cast.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Voters guides coming soon

OLYMPIA — Washington state voter’s guides will be hitting the mailboxes soon, although when you get yours will depend on where you live.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office says it will begin mailing voter pamphlets later this week for some counties. That will continue through Oct. 16, when the King County pamphlets go in the mail.

Of course, if you’re reading this, you could read the voter’s guide on-line. Don’t want to wait? Click here.

And, if you’ll excuse the shameless plug, The Spokesman-Review’s Voter’s Guide will be delivered in next Tuesday’s newspaper. We’ll have online links for that soon.

Be charitable but careful

The Washington Secretary of State’s office is urging caution in making donations to relief operations for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

“Often, scammers use tragedies like these to say they are helping a cause and to pocket the donations of generous people. Don’t be fooled!” the office warns on its Web site. It suggests checking to make sure the charity is registered in the state.

You can do that by clicking here for the list.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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