WA Secretary of State Blogs
From Our Corner

From Your Corner of Washington: Fireworks!

by Brian Zylstra | July 23rd, 2014 3:08 pm | No Comments


(Photo courtesy of Scott D. Nelson)

Last week’s annual Capital Lakefair event in Olympia concluded Sunday night with a spectacular fireworks show with the Capitol Dome visible in the lower-right corner. This stunning image was sent to us by Scott D. Nelson of Olympia.

We invite you to e-mail your photos and stories to us as part of an ongoing feature called “From Your Corner of Washington” – we want to gather images of landscapes, homes, views and personal narratives from all over the state.

Q) How do I submit a photo or story to be used in “From Your Corner of  Washington”?

A) Please send your text or image attachment (in JPG format) via e-mail to Brian Zylstra at brian.zylstra@sos.wa.gov.

Q) What are the guidelines for submissions?

A) All submissions will be screened according to our blog use policy. By submitting a photo to us, you are acknowledging that you are the copyright owner of the image or have the owner’s authorized permission to supply this to the Secretary of State’s website for use on its blog.  For questions, please contact our communications staff.

, ,

Checkers reviewing I-1351 signatures


A signature checker reviews some of the signatures for I-1351. (Photo courtesy of Katy Payne)

Our Elections Division is busy this week checking signatures that were submitted in early July for Initiative 1351. The initiative, if passed, would affect grades K-12 by lowering class sizes and increasing school staff.

For an initiative to qualify for the statewide ballot, there needs to be at least 246,372 valid signatures submitted (8 percent of the votes cast for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election). Sponsors are encouraged to submit an additional 25 percent to allow for invalid signatures. I-1351 has far exceeded this minimum by turning in 348,072 signatures, according to an Elections Division official, allowing for a random 3 percent check of the total signatures, or 10,442 of the total.

The signature checking staff, comprised of 10 people who underwent State Patrol signature verification training, examined signatures Monday and Tuesday. They reviewed 1,666 signatures on Monday. Of those, the staff accepted 1,523 signatures; 125 signatures were not found, meaning the name and address were inconsistent; and 18 did not match, meaning the signature on the petition and the signature in the Voter Registration Database were not the same. Of the 4,294 signatures reviewed on Tuesday, 3,934 were accepted, 292 were not found, 64 had no match, two had missing signatures and two were duplicates.

Elections Division officials hope to complete the signature check for I-1351 by Thursday. If the completed signature check indicates there are enough signatures, Secretary of State Wyman will certify the check’s results, sending the initiative to the statewide ballot.

For more information about initiatives in Washington, please see the Secretary of State Initiatives FAQ.

Tags: , ,

, ,

Lombardi Trophy guests at CFD’s 30th birthday event


Vince Lombardi Trophy. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Horn)

When the Office of Secretary of State hosts a 30th birthday event for the Washington State Combined Fund Drive Thursday at the State Capitol in Olympia, a special “guest” will appear – the Vince Lombardi Trophy, courtesy of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s executive office, located on the second floor of the Legislative Building. There is a $10 entry fee. Guests can enjoy dinner, drinks, entertainment and a live auction, as well as view the Lombardi Trophy and have their photo taken with it. Among the live auction items is a pair of tickets for the Seahawks’ home opening game against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4. And one of the door prizes is a pair of tickets for the Seahawks’ final game of the regular season, against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 28.

“We’re excited to celebrate 30 great years for the Combined Fund Drive, and we’re grateful that the Seahawks are bringing the Lombardi Trophy to this event,” Wyman said. “The CFD is a tremendous program because it allows donors to give to their favorite charities quickly and easily. I’m glad we can bring so many people here this week to celebrate the CFD and thank the many donors who make it such a success.”

At least 400 people are expected to attend the birthday bash for the CFD, the state’s workplace giving program for public and retired public employees. Each year, more than 15,000 active and retired public employees pledged more than $5 million to over 3,800 local, national and global charities. Washington ranks fourth nationally among state employee giving programs.

“This is an amazing feat considering that our state is 12th in overall population,” Wyman said.

Since its creation in 1984, the CFD has raised more than $115 million for charities.

Tags: , , ,

, , ,

2014 WA Primary: Your vote, your voice


Ten years after Washington voters adopted the Top 2 Primary system by initiative, it’s time for the 2014 edition.

Check your mail over the next few days for your Primary ballot.  Although it’s a mid-term election, there are races and propositions that are significant for your community, and we’re hoping for an excellent turnout, state Elections Director Lori Augino said this week.

The 2014 Primary actually got under way last month when county election officials sent ballots by mail and electronically to about 65,000 military and overseas voters.  Now it’s time for the rest of us.

This year’s Primary, which ends Aug. 5, will be dominated by races in all 10 congressional districts, including the competitive race in Eastern Washington’s open 4th Congressional District to replace retiring U.S. Rep. “Doc” Hastings. The Primary also includes all 98 state House seats and 25 of the 49 state Senate seats. Among the state Senate battles is the crowded race in the 37th Legislative District to replace retiring Sen. Adam Kline.

There are no races for U.S. Senate or statewide offices this year. None of the four state Supreme Court races will be on the Primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in each partisan race advance to the General Election, regardless of party preference. Go here to view our online Primary Voters’ Guide on the congressional and legislative primary races.

Voters in many counties also will see many local races and ballot measures on their Primary ballot. Among the most publicized in King County is Proposition 1, which would create the Seattle Park District.

Secretary of State Wyman predicts that Primary voter turnout will be about 40 percent, which is in the same range as the 2010 Primary (41 percent) and 2006 Primary (38.8 percent).

Wyman, Washington’s chief elections official, encourages voters to take part in the Primary by filling out and returning their ballot in time for their vote to count.

“Several important local ballot measures will be decided in this Primary, and congressional, legislative and county races will be pared down to two candidates for the General Election, so I encourage voters to study the races and measures and take a few minutes to fill out and return their ballot by Election Day,” Wyman said.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots can also be returned to accessible voting centers during business hours.

If you aren’t registered to vote in Washington, you have until July 28 to do so. You need to visit your county elections office to register in person.

The Top 2 system, since adopted by California voters and explored by other states, was approved by citizen initiative in 2004 after the Supreme Court tossed out the old “blanket” primary.  The political parties sued. Ultimately, the high court in 2008 upheld Top 2, saying that as implemented in Washington state, it does not infringe on the parties’ constitutional rights.  This will be the seventh running of the Top 2 here.

Tags: , , ,

, , ,

From Your Corner of Washington: Mount Rainier & other peaks


Summer temperatures in Western Washington usually are warm and comfortable. When temps around here become too hot for comfort, many people do one of two things: They either find saltwater or head up to the mountains. If you choose the latter, it’s tough to beat a day on majestic Mount Rainier.

A day hike to Camp Muir, nestled on Rainier’s south side, can bring a cool, gentle breeze and plenty of quiet and solitude. Remember to use lots of sunscreen while plodding on that bright reflective snow.

The photo above shows a hiker making his way from rocks onto the Muir Snowfield while a nearby team of climbers heads back down to Paradise. The photo below offers proof of the spectacular view of three Cascade peaks looking south from Camp Muir — Adams, Hood and St. Helens (left to right).


We invite you to e-mail your photos and stories to us as part of an ongoing feature called “From Your Corner of Washington” – we want to gather images of landscapes, homes, views and personal narratives from all over the state.

Q) How do I submit a photo or story to be used in “From Your Corner of  Washington”?

A) Please send your text or image attachment (in JPG format) via e-mail to Brian Zylstra at brian.zylstra@sos.wa.gov.

Q) What are the guidelines for submissions?

A) All submissions will be screened according to our blog use policy. By submitting a photo to us, you are acknowledging that you are the copyright owner of the image or have the owner’s authorized permission to supply this to the Secretary of State’s website for use on its blog.  For questions, please contact our communications staff.

Tags: , , , , ,

, , , , ,

2014 Primary: online registration deadline July 7


Hey, voters and would-be voters! This year’s Primary is just a few weeks away. In fact, it ends on August 5.

If you haven’t registered to vote and want to take part in this year’s Primary, you need to register soon. Monday, July 7, is the deadline for online and mail-in registrations, and voter registration updates.

For citizens who have not already registered to vote in Washington, Monday, July 28, is the last day to register in-person at their county elections office.

To be eligible to register to vote in time for the Primary, you must be:
• 18 years old by Election Day (August 5).
• A United States citizen.
• A legal resident of the state of Washington.
• Not under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for a Washington felony conviction.
• Not disqualified from voting due to a court order.

More information for voters or would-be voters can be found here.

Counties will be mailing Primary ballots to most voters by July 18. Counties recently sent out Primary ballots to military and overseas voters. This includes ballots issued electronically.

The top two finishers in each Primary race advance to this fall’s General Election, which ends November 4.

Go here to view the 2014 Primary Online Voters’ Guide, which includes info on candidates in all 10 congressional district races (including the hotly contested battle in the 4th CD to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings) and state Senate and House races.

Tags: ,


Class-size initiative sponsors turn in 330K signatures


Initiative 1351 sponsor Mary Howes leads a group of kids delivering signatures for the ballot measure to the State Elections Division in Olympia.

About 30 children were among supporters that delivered nearly 330,000 signatures for an initiative to reduce class sizes in Washington public schools to the State Elections Division  in Olympia Wednesday morning, one day before the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the people this year.

Initiative 1351 would direct the Legislature to allocate funds to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for K-12 students, with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools.

I-1351 sponsor Mary Howes said 329,149 signatures (on 37,791 petition sheets) were submitted Wednesday. Howes said her team plans to bring in additional signatures Thursday afternoon.

The number delivered far exceeds the minimum of 246,372 valid signatures from Washington voters needed for the measure to qualify for the General Election ballot this fall. Our Elections Division recommends at least 325,000 signatures to provide a buffer in case of duplicate or ineligible signatures.

The Elections Division determines the number needed for a 3 percent random sample check and a computer algorithm determines the actual number to inspect. The checkers will see if the signer is a registered Washington voter and if the signature matches the one on file. continue reading

Tags: , , , , ,

, , , , ,

From Digital Archives: 1889 WA constitutional convention begins

The mere mention of July 4 automatically conjures up thoughts of barbecues, parades and fireworks, but most importantly America’s Independence Day.

Unbeknownst to many, it also marks a key date in the Washington history, 125 years ago.

It was on July 4, 1889, when 75 elected delegates assembled in the Territorial Capitol Building in Olympia to draft a state constitution that would form the basis for all future Washington laws.  The delegates worked several weeks before the convention wrapped up August 23. Below is a photo from our Digital Archives showing the delegates in front of the Capitol Building.

Miles C. Moore, the last governor of Washington Territory, called for an election on October 1, 1889, to ratify the state constitution and elect officers of the new state government. Voters overwhelmingly approved the new state constitution, with 40,152 in favor and 11,879 opposed.

A certified copy of the constitution was sent by courier to President Benjamin Harrison, whose approval was necessary before Washington could be proclaimed a state. After no word for several days, a message was received on November 4, continue reading

Tags: , , , ,

, , , ,

Word from AG: Two Advisory Votes on 2014 ballot


Secretary of State Wyman and our Elections Division recently received notice from the Attorney General’s Office that two Advisory Votes will appear on the 2014 General Election ballot this fall.

Advisory Votes are nonbinding measures that let voters say whether they think the Legislature should “repeal” or “maintain” revenue-generating bills that the Legislature passed. Lawmakers used revenue generated from two bills to help balance the state operating budget this year.

The first of this year’s measures is Advisory Vote No. 8.  It is the result of Senate Bill 6505, which deals with the elimination of agricultural tax preferences for various aspects of the marijuana industry.

The second is Advisory Vote No. 9 , which is a result of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1287. That measure imposes the leasehold excise tax on certain leasehold interests in tribal property.

This is the third straight year that Advisory Votes have been on Washington’s General Election ballot. The first two Advisory Votes were placed on the 2012 ballot and Nos. 3 through 7 appeared last year. Because Advisory Votes are nonbinding, the result is not a repeal of the bill, as would be the case with a referendum measure. The Legislature is not required to take action based on the results of Advisory Votes.

Voters can access the full text of the two bills resulting in Advisory Votes No. 8 and No. 9 from the Online Voters Guide, which is on our Elections Division’s webpage. continue reading

Tags: , , ,

, , ,

From Digital Archives: Spokane a century ago


(Photo courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives)

Our Digital Archives website is full of classic photos of many people and places in Washington, including Spokane. Here is a 1908 photo of the Lilac City’s downtown looking north from Cliff Drive. It’s found in the Charles Libby Collection, which is sample of 100 photos from the Libby Studio Photograph Collection held by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane.

Tags: ,


Reminder: Most domestic partnerships converting to marriage June 30


Although we’ve already put out the word months ago via blog, news release and letters to domestic partnership couples, we’re reminding that on June 30, same-sex domestic partnerships in which both partners are under 62 years of age will be converted to marriage.

If these partners have married or terminated their partnership or are in the process of termination, and they have notified our office’s Corporations Division, they will not be converted to marriage.

Corporations Director Pam Floyd says the database is changing hourly as staff updates the status of partnerships, but that a ballpark estimate is that between 3,000 and 4,000 conversions will occur, and about 2,000 will remain on the DP registry because one or both partners are 62 or older.

Last March, the Corporations Division sent a letter to nearly 7,500 active domestic partnership couples, including a copy and summary of the voter-approved Marriage and Equality Act of 2012, and a letter from the state Department of Health, which is handling the actual conversion to marriage.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman on the conversion:

“Although we’ve put out the word and there have been media reports about it, there probably are some same-sex couples registered with our office who either aren’t aware that their domestic partnership will automatically switch to marriage, or know about it but haven’t taken action. We don’t want any couples to be caught off-guard when their partnership is changed into marriage on June 30.”

The conversion process was included in Referendum 74, approved by voters in 2012 to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. The full measure was debated and approved by the Legislature and governor earlier that year.

The Department of Health is creating certificates of marriage for all same-sex state-registered domestic partners who have not married or terminated their partnership. The department is using data and information from our office to identify these partnerships. A copy of a marriage certificate can be ordered from DOH.

Only state-registered domestic partnerships will be converted to same-sex marriage under state law.

If couples in domestic partnerships have questions, they should check the status of their domestic partnerships here or contact our office at (360) 725-0377 or corps@sos.wa.gov.

Starting June 30, our office will only file domestic partnerships when at least one partner is 62 or older, regardless of gender.

Tags: , , , ,

, , , ,

« 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