Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Sam Reed

Dec.
11th

There’s no reason to drag out election process

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Are voters in Oregon smarter than those here in Washington?

Apparently. Somehow they’ve been able to get their ballots in by 8 p.m. on Election Day for the last 12 years.

But in this state, which only requires that ballots be postmarked by Election Day, opponents argue that so many people wouldn’t be able to figure out how to get their ballots in on time that they’d essentially be disenfranchised.

That argument doesn’t hold water, according to numbers from the Washington Policy Center. In the last election, voter turnout in Oregon was 82.8 percent. In Washington, turnout was lower – 81.25 percent – even with the extra time voters here had to turn in their ballots.

As for late ballots, the percentage that came in too late in Oregon’s five largest counties was 0.16 percent. In Washington’s: 0.25 percent.

If the Election Day requirement disenfranchised any Oregon voters, they’re not complaining about it. County auditors in Washington hear a lot more complaints about delayed election results due to the fact that only about 60 percent of ballots are turned in by Election Day.

When ballots come in after Election Day, they still have to be opened, inspected, logged in and tallied – which is why some close races aren’t called for weeks.

When results are delayed, with the apparent front-runner switching back and forth, as has happened many times, it can lead to voter cynicism and distrust.

The distrust spread across the state in 2004, during the multiple ballot counts of the infinitesimally close gubernatorial race between Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi. Even now, many Republicans remain convinced that massive voter fraud occurred in King County when “new” batches of ballots just kept popping up long after Election Day.
Read more »

Nov.
14th

Sam Reed set the standard for state election officials

Secretary of State Sam Reed

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Not many Republicans get elected statewide in Washington, but Sam Reed probably could have the secretary of state job for life if he wanted it. He’s been that popular.

Instead, Reed is retiring after three terms. But he has the satisfaction of knowing that the position will be in the capable hands of Kim Wyman, currently the Thurston County auditor and the candidate he strongly endorsed to succeed him.

It’s very likely that Reed’s endorsement – and the example he set in office – gave Wyman the extra nudge she needed to become the only Republican elected statewide in an overwhelmingly Democratic year. Sure, she was better qualified than her opponent and had bipartisan support from most of the state’s county auditors, but getting Reed’s blessing undoubtedly was a factor in the close race.

A majority of voters saw in Wyman what they have appreciated most about Reed during his tenure: moderation, integrity, a sense of fairness that is not swayed by partisan zeal and a wealth of experience in running elections.
Read more »

Sep.
10th

Wyman, for a secretary of state all voters can trust

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

In a perfect world, the position of Washington’s secretary of state would be nonpartisan. That way, it would be harder to accuse the office holder – the state’s highest elections official – of playing party favorites.

But it is a partisan position. So the next best thing would be to elect someone who is not highly partisan and has a record of inspiring confidence in both Republicans and Democrats. Say, someone like Sam Reed – a Republican who has been elected three times in a state that doesn’t elect very many Republicans to statewide office.

But Reed is retiring. If voters want to replace him with someone who embraces his brand of nonpartisan professionalism, they should elect the candidate he is endorsing and who is following in his footsteps by first serving as Thurston County auditor: Kim Wyman. Read more »

Aug.
8th

Too few primary voters, but they made good choices

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Sure, the Olympics are a distraction, many of us are on vacation and the weather’s been so sunny that perhaps it’s thrown Northwesterners for a loop. But does that explain the lower-than-expected turnout in Tuesday’s primary?

Going to an all-mail election statewide was supposed to boost turnout. After all, there’s no excuse for failing to vote when the ballot is right there on the dining room table.

Unless a whole lot of voters waited until the very last minute to return their ballots, it’s looking like turnout won’t reach the 46 percent that Secretary of State Sam Reed had predicted. That makes it hard to decipher what the results indicate about voter sentiment and what they portend for the Nov. 6 general election. Because this is a presidential election year, turnout is likely to be more than double what it was in the primary, possibly around 85 percent.
Read more »

July
5th

Wyman and Kastama in secretary of state primary

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Democrats will remember a sinking feeling in 2000 when they discovered that the woman overseeing Florida’s presidential vote count – Secretary of State Katherine Harris – was a highly partisan Republican working for George W. Bush’s election.

Washington Republicans will remember their own suspicions after the 2004 governor’s race when they saw King County’s elections office – supervised by the Democratic county executive, Ron Sims – coming up with satchel after satchel of uncounted ballots that tilted toward Democrat Chris Gregoire.

The lesson: Hard-core partisanship and vote-counting are a dangerous mix. The legitimacy of close elections depends on public confidence that the people handling the ballots are honest brokers.

Jim Kastama

Example: The 2004 contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi ended in a statistical tie. Her infinitesimal margin – 129 votes out of 2.9 million – was accepted in part because the statewide election was overseen by a soft-edged, even-handed Republican, Secretary of State Sam Reed, who had the trust of just about everybody.

This is why we favor Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman and state Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup in the Aug. 7 primary for secretary of state.
Read more »

June
3rd

Impressive candidates for attorney general, secretary of state

Attorney General Rob McKenna, you might have heard, is running for a different office this year. And Secretary of State Sam Reed is retiring. But don’t worry about those offices; each has impressive candidates aspiring to fill them if our endorsement interviews are any indication.

On Thursday, we talked with the major-party secretary of state candidates – Democrats Jim Kastama, Greg Nickels and Kathleen Drew and Republican Kim Wyman. We’ll be endorsing two of them in the Aug. 7 primary. Read more »

Jan.
8th

Parties should handle own elections of precinct officers

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The state’s political parties have a bit of business to conduct every two years: the election of their precinct committee officers. That’s fine, but they shouldn’t be doing it on the taxpayer’s dime.

The public – even citizens not affiliated with political parties – have been paying for these elections because the PCO elections have been conducted via the ballot.

The PCO races – if they can be called that when most have only a single candidate – are the ones at the very tag end of the ballot, and more than half of voters don’t even bother with them.
Read more »

April
26th

Sam Reed to California: Top Two’s great

California voters will decide in June whether to adopt an open primary election similar to the one Washington has used since 2008. Secretary of State Sam Reed took some time before preparing to jet to Washington, D.C., this week for the Supreme Court’s hearing on Referendum 71 petitions to pen this San Francisco Chronicle op-ed encouraging California to give Top Two a go:

A nonpartisan winnowing primary gives maximum independence of thought and choice, and lets all voters know that their voice is important. This method really fits our political heritage in the West and honors our proud tradition

Read more »