Republican Kim Wyman, who is running for a second term as Washington’s secretary of state, and her opponent, Democrat Tina Podlodowski, agree more needs to be done to increase voter participation and confidence in the election process.
Wyman has more than 23 years of election experience. Before being elected secretary of state in 2013, Wyman served Thurston County as its elections manager from 1993 to 2001 and then spent more than a decade as the county auditor.
Podlodowski was a manager at Microsoft for decades, a former one-term member of the Seattle City Council and works with nonprofit organizations. She has no election oversight experience and limited legislative experience.
Podlodowski believes Washington should follow the lead of other states and implement automatic registration tied to driver’s licenses. It sounds like a good idea. But it’s not that simple. Our state does not require proof of citizenship when acquiring a driver’s license.
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The challenger also criticized Wyman for not supporting the Washington Voting Rights Act, meant to provide voters with proportional representation. Wyman admits she did not back the 2012 legislation because of concerns over some of the language.
In her first term, Wyman has taken steps to improve voter access, reduce costs and find a stable funding method for the state library.
Wyman has been endorsed by every former secretary of state and by more than 50 current and past county auditors from across the state, both Republicans and Democrats. She’s earned a reputation for taking a bipartisan approach to issues.
Wyman won the three-way August primary race by less than 25,000 votes. That’s a narrow margin in a statewide race, especially considering the dramatic difference in qualifications between the candidates.
The biggest challenge to her re-election bid is the “R” behind her name. The secretary of state’s office is the only one of nine statewide offices held by a Republican.
This is not a race where partisanship should win over qualification.
Wyman should be returned to the office of secretary of state.