WA Secretary of State Blogs
From Our Corner

Secretary Wyman certifies ’14 Primary

by David Ammons | August 22nd, 2014 4:19 pm | No Comments

Kim certifies 2014 primary

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, has certified the returns of the 2014 Washington Primary.

The 39 counties tallied 1,222,710 ballots, 31.15 percent of the state’s registered voters. That is considerably lower than the 40 percent average of the two previous mid-term primaries, although both of those elections had U.S. Senate races to generate more television ads and spur greater voter attention.

A much larger turnout is expected in the fall, when final winners will be determined and statewide measures, including two rival gun measures and a class-size reduction plan, will be on the ballot.

The returns are here, and will be updated with the handful of districts where a write-in candidate qualified for the November General Election. They include House districts 1, 6, 14 and 16.

Wyman thanked all who voted in the Primary, including those in the military or overseas.  She added:

“As a longtime elections administrator, I love every opportunity for the people to give their opinions on the best candidates and their favored position on ballot measures.  So I throw down a challenge for every registered voter to take part in the fall General Election. Register, do your homework, and get engaged. Self-government works best when we all take part.”




, ,

Why a key road to Capitol is closed


A sign directs drivers where to go while Sid Snyder Avenue is closed during a construction project. 

If you’ve been to the Capitol Campus over the past week and noticed that the road is closed between the Legislative Building and Capitol Way, there’s a reason for it: A construction project is happening.

According to the Department of Enterprise Services, the work will repair substandard electrical ducts, aged water lines, and other deficient utilities. When complete, the project will deliver a newly paved roadway with new sidewalks, landscaping, drainage systems, and fully functional utility services. The project includes 16 new street trees to line both sides of Sid Snyder Avenue. Work is expected go continue through November.

Four existing trees on the south side of the road were removed earlier this week as part of the project. From a Department of Enterprise Services news release:

Four trees on the south side of Sid Snyder Avenue will be removed as part of a larger project to repair and replace underground utility infrastructure, including 80-year-old water lines. The trees slated for removal include a purple-leaf beech, red oak, red maple and London plane tree. The trees are quite large and are not well suited to the limited space between the street and sidewalk. In addition, it appears the trees may suffer a fungal infestation, making it unlikely the trees could survive the construction project.

The state will plant 16 new street trees that will line both sides of the street. These trees will help create a formal corridor for the southern entrance to the west campus and the Legislative Building, as outlined in the original Olmsted Brothers campus landscape plan.


A view of the construction project from the southeast corner of the Legislative Building. (Photo courtesy of Patrick McDonald)


Workers clear branches and other debris after cutting down several trees along Sid Snyder Avenue as part of the construction project.

Tags: , ,

, ,

SecState partnering with Karshner Center


Secretary Wyman and crew this week celebrated a new partnership with Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts.

Wyman and her Legacy Washington team traveled to the newly renovated Karshner Center in Puyallup, meeting with Puyallup School Superintendent Tim Yeomans and top officials of the district and the Center that operates one of America’s few district-owned teaching museums.

The stunning museum, with longhouse-style great hall, classroom, gallery and natural history and performing arts spaces, is housed in a repurposed pioneer brick schoolhouse.  References to teaching/learning, culture and the arts, and history are everywhere.

The original museum, the gift of Dr. Warner and Ella Karshner, has operated since the 1930s. A major make-over will be on view to the public and school groups, starting with re-opening on Sept. 3 and a grand opening at 1 p.m. Oct. 10.

The main gallery currently features an exhibit first developed by Wyman’s Legacy team for her office lobby in the Capitol in Olympia, a celebration of the women “firsts” in elective politics in Washington. The display, called “Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government,” begins with female legislators and state school superintendent elected in 1912, the first year women could vote in the state, following approval of suffrage. Washington was the fifth state to allow women to vote.

After a successful exhibit launch in Olympia that included then-Gov. Chris Gregoire and other women firsts, the panels were a popular draw for an estimated 40,000 schoolchildren and other visitors to the Capitol.  Then, under an agreement with Karshner Center, the exhibit moved to Karshner lock, stock & lesson plans.  Over the years, other Legacy Washington exhibits will move on to Karshner (and other sites).  Next up: “Grand Coulee to Grunge: Eight Stories that Changed the World,” and  “We’re Still Here: The Survival of Washington Indians.”

The Legacy exhibits are financed with private funds, and use images and resources from the Washington State Archives and Washington State Library.

Said Wyman:

“We are delighted to partner with the amazing Karshner Center and to join our diverse resources to help schoolchildren and adults of all ages experience the joy of learning more about the stories of Washington, its rich history, culture and arts.  We and the Center share a vision of making it fun and accessible!”









Tags: , , , , , ,

, , , , , ,

A key anniversary for our State Seal

sealAs state history buffs and many others know, this year marks the 125th anniversary of Washington reaching statehood in 1889.

Several key events that year led up to the historic date of November 11 when we became the 42nd state. Among those events happened on August 19 that year when the Constitutional Convention approved one of three designs for the State Seal. The convention members had trouble choosing the motto. They rejected “Our varied industries invite you,” “Westward the star of empire takes its way,” “Welcome,” “Put none but Americans on guard,” and “We the people rule.” Finally, the convention members approved a state seal design without a motto.

Last March, Secretary Wyman gladly received the original set of tools used by pioneer Olympia jewelers Charlies, George and Grant Talcott to design the State Seal 125 years ago. Descendants of the Talcotts joined Wyman, former secretaries Ralph Munro and Sam Reed and others for a brief ceremony in our office celebrating the transfer of the historic tools.

By law, the Secretary of State is the custodian of the State Seal, which is attached to official documents and certificates issued by the state. The original die and press for the State Seal are still used by the Secretary of State.

Go here for more history on the State Seal.

Tags: , ,

, ,

Kickstarter deadline for new exhibit fast approaching


Washington 125 Years of Statehood logo. (Images courtesy of Legacy Washington)

A Kickstarter private fundraising deadline is fast approaching for the latest Capitol exhibit — this one devoted to some of the biggest stories of the year of statehood, 1889. This is the 125th anniversary of being admitted to the union.

Legacy Washington, a program of the Office of Secretary of State, is gathering funding for the sixth public exhibit in the ornate lobby of the Secretary’s Office on the second floor of the Capitol. The exhibit, titled Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood, will feature several of the major storylines from that pivotal year, told through personal accounts to show different perspectives.

The events, illustrated through stories and photographs, will include the decision to make Olympia the capital city; major fires in three leading cities, including the Great Seattle Fire that destroyed most of Seattle’s business district and waterfront; how the expansion of railroads caused more people to migrate to the state than ever before; and the fight over women’s right to vote.

Besides stories and photographs, Washington 1889 will also include various artifacts from the time period, including an 11×6-foot original 42-star flag. Such flags are rare because it never became the “official” flag of the United States of America. In 1818, the Third Flag Act instilled the custom of adding a star to the flag each time a new state was added to the union. The guidelines of the Act declared that, with each new state’s admission to the union, a star must be added to the flag – but the flag would not become official until the next 4th of July. For 243 days after Washington entered the union, the American flag had 42 stars on it. But, on July 3, 1890, Idaho entered the union as the 43rd state – thus changing the flag to 43 stars the day before it became “official.”

After the exhibit comes down down next year, it will travel to schools and museums throughout the state to be enjoyed by students, educators and others.

Here is where you come in: All Legacy Washington exhibits are privately funded (no state dollars are used, except for staff time), and each depends on the generous people of Washington. For the first time, Legacy Washington has launched a Kickstarter campaign, a popular crowd-funding website, to raise the necessary funding to make the exhibit a reality. The goal for Washington 1889 is $5,000, and about 20 percent has been raised so far. The Kickstarter deadline is August 27, and the goal must be met to receive any funding.

If you would like to support this exhibit, please visit: http://kck.st/1oCcjQg. Donations go directly to building the exhibit, and you can give as little as $1.

Sponsors of the exhibit will be invited to participate in the exhibit launch on November 11. The launch will be followed by a special reception with Secretary of State Kim Wyman and exhibit staff in her office. In addition, sponsors will receive invitations throughout the year to participate in additional programs that are related to the exhibit. The names of sponsors will be displayed on all printed materials relating to the exhibit and also on the Secretary of State website.


Original 42-star flag that will be on display at the exhibit.

1st State Constitution

Cover of the original Washington State Constitution.



Tags: , , , ,

, , , ,

Nominate a WA company for state honor


Time is running out to offer nominations for a 2014 Corporations for Communities Award. The nomination deadline is August 31.

Do you know a Washington corporation or business that contributes to your community? It could be providing volunteer help on projects, or donating money or supplies, or something else that makes a positive difference.

If you know of one, you can help give it some well-deserved recognition by nominating it for our state’s highest civics award.

Nomination forms can be found here.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman will choose one large and one small corporation from among the public’s nominations. Winners will receive a National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion, the highest civics honor that the state awards.  Runners-up will also be recognized.

Anyone can nominate businesses for the award. Any for-profit corporation, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or Limited Partnership is eligible for the award. Nominees need to be registered with the Office of Secretary of State and  be in compliance with state and federal laws.

Winners will be announced by early October, with an awards ceremony taking place in Wyman’s office later that month.

For more information about the awards program, contact program coordinator Patrick Reed at (360) 725-0358 or patrick.reed@sos.wa.gov.

Tags: , , ,

, , ,

Wyman: Zero-tolerance for petition fraud


Secretary Wyman, whose office oversees “direct democracy” through ballot measures, says she’s gratified that a jail term has been ordered for a Snohomish County woman who was convicted of initiative fraud.

The jail term, believed to be the first such sentence for this type of fraud, underscores that Washington has “zero tolerance” for petition fraud, Secretary Wyman said.

The six-month jail/work-release sentence was imposed by Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Anita Farris on Julie Klein, 54, Marysville, The Herald of Everett reported.

Wyman was pleased that the Class C Felony matter was taken seriously by law enforcement and the criminal justice system:

“The initiative process is a constitutional right of the people, and for the past 100 years, sponsors from across the political spectrum have been using this `direct democracy’ to write laws or vote on policies the Legislature has just passed. We are absolutely committed to keeping the process clean and reliable. Public trust and confidence must be maintained by those who use this process.

“Petition fraud is rare when compared with the millions of signatures that are submitted over the years, but we can and will remain vigilant. We have a zero-tolerance policy for fraud.”

The latest case originated with the Secretary of State’s Elections Divisions during signature-verification checks two years ago. Petition checkers noticed that petitions sheets submitted by the same paid-solicitor, Klein, had many signatures continue reading

Tags: , , , , ,

, , , , ,

From Digital Archives: Iconic WA landscapes


Elephant Head Rock on the Washington coast.

There’s no denying that Washington has many beautiful places and a wide variety of stunning landscapes, from rugged ocean beaches and evergreen forests to jagged, glacier-clad mountains, deep blue lakes and sagebrush-strewn deserts. Our state’s amazing beauty has attracted photographers for years — that’s evident when you scan through the collections of photos on our Digital Archives website.

These photos below are found in a collection includes 256 glass lantern slides taken between 1908 and 1939, and commissioned or purchased by the Washington State Department of Conservation and Development. These hand-painted glass lantern slides were used in slide shows to promote tourism and immigration in Washington.

Images show the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, the Columbia Basin Project, the benefits of irrigation and water projects to Washington State, building projects, hotels, garages, dams, fishing and recreational activities, transportation facilities, shipwrecks, and scenic views of forests and rivers. The majority of images in this collection were taken by Asahel Curtis, Charles A. Libby and Sons, or Delong & Drake.

Images featured in this post the coastline, Mount St. Helens, Lake Chelan and Palouse Falls (our official State Waterfall). They were taken in the 1920s.



 Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake.


Lake Chelan.


Palouse Falls.

Tags: , , , ,

, , , ,

Top 2 Primary produces November finalists

top2Washington voters made ready for the fall General Election by choosing their favorites to advance beyond the first cut — the qualifying election called the Top 2 Primary.

There were surprises — such as several state Senate incumbents who were attempting to fend off strong challenges — and the twist of producing several marquee November finals that will feature finalists from the same party preference.

Prime example: 4th Congressional District voters in Eastern Washington were choosing two Republicans, former Super Bowl football player Clint Didier and former lawmaker and state agriculture director Dan Newhouse, as the top two. Although the GOP vote was spread amongst eight candidates, Didier and Newhouse still were collecting enough votes to outdistance both of the Democratic hopefuls. Rep. Doc Hastings is departing after 20 years in office.

Two Republicans also were winning a state Senate Top 2 Primary in the Auburn area 31st District: the senior state senator, Pam Roach, and her House district-mate and challenger, Cathy Dahlquist, were neck-and-neck.  Democrats had a similar lock on runoff spots in the open 37th District Senate race: Pramila Jaypal and Louis Watanabe.

Republican Senate incumbents in Puget Sound country were faring well. But a maverick Democrat who helped form a GOP-dominated Senate majority coalition, Tim Sheldon, was in a tight race to win a runoff spot in the 35th District.

Voters in many areas were choosing courthouse officials and some jurisdictions had ballot measures.  Seattle voters, for instance, were approving a parks measure.

There were no statewide offices, U.S. Senate races or propositions on the primary ballot this year. All 10 U.S. House seats were on the ballot, as were 25 Senate districts and all 98 state House seats.

About 936,000 ballots were tabulated by election night, for a turnout of 24 percent of registered voters so far.  Secretary of State Kim Wyman said that turnout number should grow to the upper 30s by the time all incoming ballots are received. That would be one of the best turnouts in the country, she noted.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

, , , , , , , ,

WA Primary voters give their Top 2 verdicts


The seventh running of Washington’s Top 2 Primary gave voters the task of  winnowing the field of candidates for scores of state and local offices.

The system, used since a voter-approved Top 2 initiative got the green light from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, lets voters collectively choose their two favorite candidates for each office to face off in the Nov. 4 General Election.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections official, urged a strong turnout, reminding voters that selecting finalists for the General Election is a crucial part of the process, and that many of our legislators, judges and local officials on the ballot will make decisions that affect our daily lives directly.

Here are some highlights and voter information compiled by state Elections Director Lori Augino.


  • Ballots must be postmarked or in ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Election Night.
  • To find a ballot drop box: visit www.MyVote.wa.gov
  • Visit your County Auditor’s Office for a replacement ballot, or go online to www.MyVote.wa.gov
  • If you are in line at a ballot drop box before 8 pm, you will be allowed to deposit your ballot.
  • Don’t count on your post office to be open to get a postmark after regular business hours. If you wait until Election Day, use a ballot drop box instead.
  • If you choose to mail your ballot on Election Day, make sure it is before the last collection time posted on the box.


State Voters’ Pamphlets

  • To find out more about the candidates, visit our online voters’ guide at www.vote.wa.gov or your personalized Voters’ Guide at www.MyVote.wa.gov
  • Contact your county for a local voters’ pamphlet (only available in some counties).
  • After the Primary, you can expect the state General Election Voters’ Pamphlet to arrive by October 21.



  • Results will begin to post at www.vote.wa.gov after 8 p.m. on Election Night.
  • Find the free results app “WA State Election Results” in iTunes or Google Play.
  • Results will continue to be updated until certification.
  • Results are not final until certified.  Districts within a single county will be certified on August 19 by the county.  Multiple-county districts races will be certified by the Secretary of State on August 22.


Hot Issues

  • Wildfires continue to burn in Northeastern Washington. We’re expecting a small hit to turnout in these areas. The elections offices in the area are up, running, and fully functional with power, Internet, and phone services to all offices as of Monday.


  • We have a packed ballot in the 4th Congressional District race (replacing retiring Rep. Doc Hastings) with 12 candidates vying for a spot on the General Election ballot.


  • The widest-open legislative contest is the one to replace Adam Kline in the Senate seat for the 37th with 6 candidates on the ballot in the Primary.

continue reading

Tags: , , , ,

, , , ,

Capitol Lake: Beauty and controversy

In the midst of summer, people in the Olympia area seem to flock to Capitol Lake. The lake, which sits at the mouth of the Deschutes River at the edge of downtown Olympia, provides a scenic 1.5 mile loop with an amazing view of the state capitol buildings. The trail attracts walkers, runners, bikers, dogs, children, skaters and even the occasional unicycle.

Of course, the trail around the lake is open year round, but several activities are hosted in the summertime. Capital Lakefair, an Olympia tradition that takes place every year in July, just wrapped up their 57th celebration a few weeks ago.

Every night from June through mid-August, people also enjoy walking the loop around the lake at dusk, when thousands of bats can be seen feeding on insects over the lake. Most of the bats are pregnant, and they commute 16-20 miles round trip every night from Woodard Bay in North Olympia. The typical bat species that visit the lake are the Yuma Bat, Little Brown Bat, California Bat, Silver-haired Bat and the Big Brown Bat.

As some people may know, Capitol Lake is actually not a lake, but rather a shallow reservoir created by damming the Deschutes in 1951. This was a result of a state Legislature decision that was almost 15 years in the making. In July of 1948, an article in the Daily Olympian indicated that the area was an “eyesore,” that would be “replaced with a clear beautiful freshwater lake with mirrored reflections of the Capitol Building dome.”

Capitol Lake is currently facing a variety of challenges, including water quality, invasive species, and sediment management. Because of these issues, the Capitol Lake Adaptive Management Plan (CLAMP) Steering Committee has researched and considered four alternatives for the future of the lake. These alternatives are keeping the status quo; managing the lake, where the committee will restore the depth of the lake and then periodically dredge the new sediment coming down the river; creating an estuary, by dredging the sediment, removing the dam and constructing a new 5th Avenue Bridge; and creating a dual basin estuary, which is the same as the estuary alternative but with a barrier dividing part of the lake into a saltwater reflecting pool.

The alternative futures have sharply divided the community and no scenario has gained the upper hand. The Legislature will be asked to finance dredging, but that doesn’t resolve the larger issue.

Although Capitol Lake may change in the future, it will always remain an icon of Olympia and one of the best trails around.

An aerial view of Olympia taken sometime between 1928 and 1940, before the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)

An aerial view of Olympia taken sometime between 1928 and 1940, before the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)


An aerial view of Olympia, taken in 1955 after the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)


The view of Capitol Lake from the Capitol Campus. (Photo courtesy of Katy Payne)


This was taken from the Capitol Lake trail, and the Lakefair ferris wheel is in view behind the lake. (Photo courtesy of Janet Lee)

« Read Previous Posts

About this Blog

The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

On the Web

Comments Disclaimer

The comments and opinions expressed by users of this blog are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Secretary of State’s Office or its employees. The agency screens all comments in accordance with the Secretary of State’s blog use policy, and only those that comply with that policy will be approved and posted. Outside comments will not be edited by the agency.

Your Corner of Washington

Older Posts


Blog Contributors

Recent Topics