Inside Opinion

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Tag: Secretary of State


Voters guide statement fiascos show change is needed

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Pierce County now has had back-to-back debacles over who writes the “against” statement that appears in the voters pamphlet.

Both involve a notorious local felon and publicity hound, Robert “The Traveler” Hill, and they reflect obvious flaws in how statement writers are selected.

In the first case, Hill applied to write the statement opposing last fall’s Pierce Transit tax measure. Only one other person applied, and he said he wouldn’t participate if he had to collaborate on the statement with Hill – a jail inmate who’s had widely publicized, bizarre run-ins with the law. The Pierce Transit board’s lawyer reportedly said that no candidate could be rejected unless there were at least four applicants.
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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.
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A secretary of state named Belle

Belle Reeves, Washington secretary of state from 1938 to 1948. (Washington secretary of state's office)

While writing today’s editorial, in which we endorse Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman for secretary of state, I almost made a big mistake.

I was going to write that one way or another, Washington would be electing its first female secretary of state Nov. 6. Republican Wyman’s Democratic opponent is former state senator Kathleen Drew.

The only thing wrong with that statement is the fact that Washington already has had a woman secretary of state: Belle Reeves, from 1938 to 1948. Luckily a Google search turned up her name, and I was able to find this information on the secretary of state’s website, as well as a photo (I love her old-timey spit curls).

Belle Reeves, a Democrat, is the only female in history elected Washington Secretary of State. She was appointed Washington’s eighth Secretary of State in February, 1938 by Governor Clarence Martin and served two and-a-half terms. Secretary Reeves was born in 1871 in Quincy, Ohio, where she spent her childhood. Her family moved to Washington in 1889. She lived in Wenatchee where she and her husband ran the town’s first newspaper, The Wenatchee Advance. Her political career began in 1922 when she was elected to the House of Representatives. She represented the 56th Legislative District for eight terms from 1922-1938 before being appointed Secretary of State. Belle Reeves died in Olympia during her second full term on January 2, 1948. Read more »


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 »


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.
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Check out online voter resources and get educated

Ballots will be mailed out in two weeks for the Aug. 7 primary, so it’s time to buckle down and start doing your homework on the candidates.

The News Tribune’s online primary election guide is a great resource for researching South Sound races. You can generate a sample ballot or just click on “65 races” or “217 candidates” to look at campaigns you’re particularly interested in. One nice feature is that you can click on two candidates’ photos and up pops a side-by-side comparison of their backgrounds, qualifications and answers to questions posed by our newsroom political team.

If you’d like to hear from the statewide candidates in their own words, the secretary’s of state’s office and TVW have collaborated on an online video voters’ guide. Read more »


One of Hecht’s worries is NOT a recall drive

My first thought upon getting word Wednesday that Judge Michael Hecht had been convicted was: recall.

We were even talking about turning our oped page into a recall petition, if Hecht didn’t step down from the bench in short order.

As it turns out, recalling a judge is not so easy. In fact, it seems to be impossible in this state. Below is an exchange (read it from bottom up) I had today with the Secretary of State’s office. “Dave” is David Ammons, the office’s media guy. Katie Blinn is the state’s assistant director of elections (knows her stuff).

The constitution exempts judges from the recall procedure, and they have a separate removal-disciplinary process. I imagine that’s to shield judges from getting jacked around by harassing recall petitions because somebody didn’t like an unpopular decision.
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Return serve from the Ninth

Just in: The dizzying judicial tennis match over disclosure of petition signatures for Referendum 71 continues with a hard backhand return by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Ninth today declared Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed can and should release the signatures promptly pending further consideration of appeals.
The Ninth overturned a U.S. District Court ruling Sept. 10 ordering the signatures withheld pending resolution of the legal fight.

Here’s the Washington Policy Center’s alert on the latest ruling.

I have mixed feelings on this one. I think voters regard signing initiative petitions as a form

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