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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Washington law bars elections officials’ names from ballot envelopes

OLYMPIA – Elections officials will no longer have their names on the return envelopes for ballots or in voter pamphlets in a year when they’re running for re-election.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new law Thursday that will keep the secretary of state’s name off the state voter pamphlet in his or her official capacity and a county auditor’s name off the return envelopes in Washington’s all-mail voting system in years when they are on the ballot. Each heads the office that oversees elections, and their names regularly appear on official mailings sent to voters by state or local governments.

Critics said that amounts to an unfair advantage for incumbents, although the Public Disclosure Commission previously dismissed a complaint by Spokane Republicans that Democratic Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton’s name on ballot envelopes amounted to a use of public funds for her campaign. The PDC said it was routine for the auditor’s name to be on office mail.

The bill barring the names on the ballot envelopes, sponsored by Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, passed both houses unanimously and takes effect for this year’s elections, when Secretary of State Kim Wyman is up for re-election.

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