Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Extending online voter signup

OLYMPIA — Procrastinating voters who delay registering as the election approaches would have a little more time to sign up on-line before an election under a bill moving through the Legislature. But those who would prefer to go to the elections office and fill out the form would have a little less.

Washington currently has two deadlines for eligible residents to register to vote: 29 days before an election for filling out a form and mailing it in or filling out the online registration form and pressing the send button; eight days before the election for those willing to go to the county elections office and fill out the necessary paperwork.

But processing online registrations is more cost-effective and efficient, Secretary of State Kim Wyman said, while processing the paper forms takes more staff time. HB 1267 would allow online signups until 11 days before the election, which would also be the last day to register in person at an elections office. Paper forms that are filled out and mailed to the elections office would have to be postmarked no fewer than 28 days before the election. 

The shift for mail-in registrations means the deadline will never fall on the Monday holiday of a three-day weekend, when post offices are closed and letters can't be postmarked. The three-day shift for in-person registration moves the last day from a Monday to a Friday, which may be an easier day for a voter to take time off from work to make the trip to the elections office, Wyman said.

The bill was originally proposed to allow registration at the elections office on election day, was changed to have the different deadlines before it passed the House last year but didn't get a vote in the Senate. It passed the House again last month and received a hearing today in the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Yo ho Halloween at governor’s mansion

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee and wife Trudi will be hitting the pirate theme tonight for trick or treaters at the Governor's Mansion.

Technically, there are only treaters. The security system at the governor's mansion discourages tricksters. But the mansion is a stop on may Olympia kid's route. It's off by itself and out of the way, and there's often a wait because the line is long. But the candy is usually far better than the standard fare at most houses.

In the Capitol Building during the day, staff at the Secretary of State's office is donning costumes as well. Secretary of State Kim Wyman is dressed as an '80s rocker.

Sunday spin: Who is hurt by the late ballot counting?

A post-election refrain, as predictable as swallows returning to Capistrano or Cougar fans pinning their Apple Cup hopes on bad weather in Pullman, sounded last week.

The amount of time Washington takes to count its ballots and settle elections predictably irked several politicians.  State Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said she’d introduce legislation to require all ballots to be in the hands of elections officials on Election Day.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly state Secretary of State-elect Kim Wyman's position on this point. Wyman supports faster tabulation without requiring all ballots be in hand by Election Day.) 

“We’re now more than a week past Election Day and in some areas of the state, people still don’t know who their elected officials are going to be,” Becker complained in a press release. . . 

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

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.

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.