Though Washington is a blue state, voters have been comfortable letting Republicans oversee elections for more than 50 years. They should continue to do so by re-electing Secretary of State Kim Wyman.
Wyman was previously the Thurston County auditor and has run elections for 23 years without scandal. She was elected to statewide office in 2012, replacing Sam Reed.
She has received a raft of endorsements from election directors and county auditors from both parties. This bipartisan support from those who know the job best is a powerful testimonial to her reputation. She’s also collected support from diverse interests, such as the Washington Education Association and the Association of Washington Business, which belies the partisanship charge.
Under Wyman, the office has increased voter registrations, with Washington showing the most improvement from 2014 to 2016, according to a Ballotpedia review. She did oppose Voting Rights Act legislation because of the difficulty it presented to counties in scheduling elections. She wants to work with the Legislature on a more workable bill.
Wyman faces a strong challenge from Tina Podlodowski, a former Microsoft manager who served on the Seattle City Council in the 1990s and was an adviser to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in 2014. Podlodowski is smart and well-informed, but her attacks on Wyman for partisanship aren’t credible. She recently called on Wyman to denounce presidential candidate Donald Trump – a political stunt that isn’t relevant to this contest.
Podlodowski has good ideas on how to incorporate technology to make the office more responsive to voters, but she glosses over the challenge agency heads face in persuading legislators to jump on board. She said Wyman should’ve worked harder to get the Legislature to shut down the presidential primary when Democrats wouldn’t go along with a plan to make those votes count. Easier said than done when the other party isn’t cooperating.
Podlodowski’s campaign deserves credit for spotting an online breach in personal voter information. Wyman credits her challenger for this and says that gap has been closed.
The challenger says she would push harder for the adoption of Voting Rights Act legislation, and she wants the office to play a larger policy role in general. But when Wyman recently spotlighted the need for the state to comply with the federal REAL ID law, Podlodowski deferred to lawmakers. The issue arose because election officials couldn’t immediately verify the citizenship of the Burlington Mall shooting suspect, even though he had voted in three recent elections.
Wyman has a clear edge in experience and has proven she can perform the duties with integrity. Voters should reward her with four more years.
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