Washington state ranks among the top states for election security, voter registration and turnout, elections innovation, and voter outreach and information. I am proud to have worked in elections for the past 30 years, overseeing well over 100 elections at the county and state level.
We lead the nation in innovations like accessible voter information and ballot applications that work with e-readers which enable voters with special needs to vote secretly and independently. We have improved service delivery, like providing election materials in multiple formats—written, audio, and braille, to best meet every voter’s needs—and translated materials into 17 languages, to enable all voters to cast an informed ballot.
While we’ve accomplished much in the Secretary of State’s Office, we have more to do. I want to continue to work with all county auditors to make sure our elections departments across the state have the space, equipment, and trained staff to continue to deliver secure elections to all voters; I want to improve the storage and preservation of our state’s history by completing our Library/Archives Building; and I will continue to make all resources in the Secretary of State’s office available to those who need it the most by working with groups and individuals to learn where improvements can be made. This is what Washingtonians expect and deserve.
Improving access and security of our state’s elections
- Partnering with all 39 county election officials, we created an award winning, nationally recognized voter registration and election management system. This provided the centralized security and accessibility we needed not only to conduct the elections, but implement the new same-day and automatic registration, and Future Voter legislation passed in 2019.
- We have made our elections more secure with the development of the Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP) with both county and state partners. This has led to the groundbreaking work we have done in partnership with the Washington State National Guard, FBI, and U.S. Homeland Security cyber departments to train and protect our state and all 39 counties. These operations have protected our elections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We created the first in the country Elections Security Operations Center to protect our elections from foreign and domestic attacks. This center also goes to support and protect all 39 counties through firewall defense and cyber security trainings.
- We made our state’s presidential primary more meaningful for all voters in our state. For the first time in state history, both political parties used the results of the primary in their nominating processes. The primary date was also March, after years of working with legislators to have the date moved in state law.
- My office has continued to be a national leader for our work creating and maintaining the Address Confidentiality Program. Through this program, we provide protection to 4,000-5,000 voters who are survivors of domestic violence and stalking.
Preserving access to our state’s rich heritage
- Working with legislators, library stakeholders, and county auditors, we stabilized the funding for the state library. When I was sworn into office in 2013, the future of the state library was in doubt. This stable funding ensures our residents have access to a first-rate research collection and that local libraries can maximize their resources with access to federal LSTA funds and programs.
- We made our state’s history more accessible by expanding our digital archives collection to over 200 million records. Now the public can access a larger portion of photographs, documents, and publications contained in the state archives—all online.
- We expanded our public records training to state and local governments to assist them providing public records more effectively. Additionally, we helped preserve local government records by providing grants to many small, local jurisdictions.
- Reduced the amount of state public records stored on paper by 10% - a full year ahead of schedule, saving tax dollars in storage and search costs.
Making it easier to do business in Washington state
- We made it easier to do business in Washington by streamlining our corporations and charities filing processes. Not only did we reduce the time it takes to register a business with our office, we were able to reduce or eliminate a few fees, saving our customers over $5.5 million each year to put back into our local communities.
- My office provided employers, employees, and job seekers an opportunity to receive computer skills training at no cost. The Imagine Academy is available through a partnership with the State Library and more than 400 libraries across the state.
- We administer the Combined Fund Drive, through which state employees can maximize their donations to registered charities. This program has allowed employees to give an average of $5 million annually to charities across Washington.