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Watch TVW’s coverage of WA 1889 exhibit launch

by Brian Zylstra | November 21st, 2014 4:04 pm | No Comments


Secretary Wyman helps launch our office’s new exhibit on 1889 Washington. Seated from left are former Sen. Stuart Halsan, Shanna Stevenson and Russell Holter.  

If you missed attending the recent grand opening of our office’s latest historical exhibit, no worries. TVW has the event available for viewing on its website.

The new exhibit is called Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails and the Year of Statehood. It’s on display in our office’s front lobby until next August.

You can watch the TVW’s coverage of the exhibit opening here. The launch event was emceed by Secretary of State Wyman and featured Russell Holter of the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, historian Shanna Stevenson and former state Sen. Stuart Halsan, who loaned a rare 42-star U.S. flag (shown below) to the exhibit.


The privately funded exhibit, which is presented by the Office of Secretary of State and its Legacy Washington program, highlights the major stories of Washington’s seminal year and explores the key events leading to Washington becoming the 42nd state:
• Completion of a second transcontinental railroad once it reached Tacoma in 1883.
• The influx of settlers in the decade leading up to 1889 and statehood.
• Creation and ratification of a state constitution.
• Intense competition between several cities to become capital of the state of Washington.
• Devastating fires in Seattle, Ellensburg and Spokane in 1889 and the successful rebuilding efforts in each city after the blazes.

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Add a message to the state’s Time Capsule!


Centennial Time Capsule, located at the south end of the Capitol, will receive more items soon.

Have you ever wanted to send a message to the future? Now’s your chance.

The Capsule Keepers are asking Washingtonians to write messages to future generations that will be kept inside the state’s Centennial Time Capsule. Messages will be microfilmed and sealed in the Time Capsule until its 2389 opening, 500 years after Washington reached statehood in 1889.

As part of the Washington 125 celebration, the messages and other new content representing the state’s culture and people will be added to the Time Capsule and sealed during a special ceremony on Feb. 22.

Messages to the Future may be sent via e-mail to message2389@sos.wa.gov and also by printing and sending this form here. The deadline to submit messages is Jan. 1.

The Capsule Keepers are gathering materials to be included in the capsule, such as messages from Washingtonians and books and other items that represent our state. The duty for filling the Time Capsule is that of the 1989 Keepers and the Keeper Board. Capsule Keepers of all ages will be invited to help seal the Time Capsule in the February ceremony. Many 2014 Capsule Keepers have written messages for the capsule that will be included.


1989 Capsule Keepers Erica Gordon (left) and Jennifer Estroff (right) stand in the foreground with Capsule Keepers organizer Knute Berger, as the 2014 Capsule Keepers stand behind them during the state’s 125th birthday celebration Nov. 11.

This won’t be the first time that messages have been put inside the Time Capsule, says Knute Berger, a Time Capsule organizer in 1989 and this year.

“In 1989, thousands of Washingtonians wrote messages, which were microfilmed and put into the Time Capsule, destined for delivery in 2389,” Berger said. “We believe this will be among the most interesting material future historians will encounter because ordinary people shared their hopes, dreams, stories and predictions. Some celebrities were involved too–author Tom Robbins and Seahawks Hall of Famer Steve Largent, for example.

“We hope to do the same for the 2014 capsule and are inviting any all and all Washingtonians to send in a message, either by mail or e-mail. We will microfilm the hard copies and also save the e-mails digitally.

“There are no limits on topics. We only ask that they be from Washingtonians (past or present) and that people keep in mind that we hope they shed light on the culture, thoughts, accomplishments and experiences of the people as they are in 2014. We encourage Washingtonians to contribute their hopes, dreams, stories and predictions. We believe these personal notes from citizens will be among the most valuable content the capsule will have,” Berger added.

The Centennial Time Capsule is a 3,000-pound green safe located at the south entrance of the Capitol. The safe contains 16 individual stainless steel time capsules that will be filled with new items every 25 years. All of the individual time capsules and their contents won’t be opened until Nov. 11, 2389, Washington’s 500th anniversary.

From WA Rural Heritage: Celebrating 1889 inauguration


(Photo courtesy North Olympic Heritage/Washington Rural Heritage)

Since Washington’s 125th birthday celebration has come and gone, you’d think we’d be done with looking back at the year we reached statehood. Think again.

This photo offers a side view of the inauguration of our  first governor of the new state, Elisha P. Ferry, in Olympia on Nov. 18, 1889, exactly 125 years ago Tuesday. More than 3,000 Washingtonians celebrated their new statehood that day, marching in parades and watching the new governor take the oath of office.

The photo is found in the North Olympic Heritage collection, which is part of the State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program. WRH is an online aggregation of special collections from small and rural communities throughout the state. It features photos and other documents that capture Washington’s history, culture, place and people.

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Wyman honors companies that give back


Secretary Wyman (middle) stands with representatives of companies recognized at the Corporations for Communities Award ceremony in her office.

Four companies – three from Western Washington and one from Eastern Washington – have been honored for their generosity and contributions to their local communities.

These companies are recipients of the 2014 Corporations for Communities Award, which honors exceptional Washington businesses that make it a priority to help the community.

Representatives from Bellevue-based John Howie Restaurants, The Barkley Company (Bellingham), The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse (Sumner) and The McGregor Company (Colfax) were recognized by Secretary of State Kim Wyman at a Wednesday ceremony in her office at the Capitol.

Wyman presented the winners with a certificate and a National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award, which recognizes civic engagement, voter education efforts, government services and a commitment to giving back to the community.


“I’m proud and honored to present these four amazing and deserving companies with this award,” Wyman said. “Many businesses of all sizes make a difference by donating money, items or volunteers toward worthy causes. It makes me proud that we have so many generous companies here in Washington.”

Six other businesses were recognized by Wyman for their community efforts: A Picket Fence (Sumner); Avista (Spokane); Jack’s Country Store (Ocean Park);   M&N Absolute Auto (Everett); NW Sleeps (Olympia); and Pioneer Grocery (South Bend).

A closer look at this year’s four winners:

• John Howie Restaurants was nominated for taking part in several charitable acts, events and functions, including hosting free holiday dinners for low-income and homeless people. The restaurant group has partnered with Craig Terrill and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Kick Hunger Challenge.

• The Barkley Company, which includes Talbot Real Estate, was nominated for its corporate giving in the Bellingham community. It provided free space and renovated its local library, and has donated more than $80,000 annually to several organizations.

• The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse was nominated for its extensive community involvement. It has created, sponsored or participated in several cancer, research, autism, multiple sclerosis and other benefit events. It has sponsored the “visit with Santa and Elves” at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Operation Turkey Drop and Operation Ham Grenade, providing holiday meals to Joint Base Lewis-McChord families. The company encourages use of paid time for its employees to participate in these activities.

• The McGregor Company was nominated by the Whitman County Library for supporting multiple library contributions that include continued sponsorship of children’s Summer Reading, Whitman County Rural Heritage collections and renovation support in a number of the library system’s 14 branch locations. The company also contributes time and financial assistance to civic, school and community endeavors in multiple towns. It has led efforts to revitalize the city of LaCrosse via LaCrosse Community Pride.

Corporations for Communities is a recognition program within the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division.

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Historic issues of Seattle P-I now available on Chronicling America


Before its print demise in 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was one of the state’s oldest, most-read and influential newspapers. Fans of the legendary newspaper, as well as history buffs and genealogists, will be excited to know that the P-I is among the latest titles the Library of Congress is loading to Chronicling America.

Originally established as the Seattle Gazette in 1863, the P-I  is perhaps Seattle’s oldest continually operating business. Early issues of the Daily Intelligencer (1876-1881) and the Seattle Daily Post-Intelligencer (1881-1888) comprise the digital collection from June 1876 through December 1900. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer gives eye-witness accounts of Washingtonians during the Yukon Gold Rush, proclamation of statehood (note the image above), Spanish American war, World War I and so much more news and events across the great Pacific Northwest. An essay of significant events and influence on local and state communities summarizes the importance of publications included in the program.

The Washington State Library is nearing completion of the National Digital Newspaper Program, digitizing more than 300,000 pages of historic newspapers for the third and final grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress.  More than 30 states and territories are participating in the project, contributing over 8 million pages of newspaper content since 2005. Historic state newspapers can be searched by keyword, date and title to view on the Chronicling America website.  These newspapers, all in the public domain (pre-1923), are free for public use. Teaching resources are also available here. Educators, historians, genealogists, students and other members of the public will want to click on “NDNP Extras” for their primary research, history presentations, and educational projects.

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Happy 125th birthday, Washington!


Members of the 2014 Capsule Keepers sit on the Rotunda floor as they and hundreds of others listen to the state’s 125th birthday celebration program in the Capitol.

You only turn 125 once. And the state of Washington did it right.

Hundreds gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday afternoon to join in the state’s 125th birthday celebration. Among the state officials speaking at the event were Gov. Jay Inslee (First Lady Trudi Inslee also spoke) and Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn also attended. Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro emceed the celebration, which included the introduction of the 2014 Capsule Keepers, who were sworn in by Wyman near the Centennial Time Capsule at the south end of the Legislative Building.


Secretary Wyman and Governor Inslee share a laugh during the celebration ceremony.


Secretary Wyman swears in the new Capsule Keepers.


The new Capsule Keepers enjoy the view inside the Lege Building.

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WA has lowest ballot rejection rates for military, overseas voters

Military Blog Post Pic

Our Elections Division has long prided itself on helping ensure that our state’s military and overseas voters have access to voting and are not disenfranchised. So we are pleased about the recent news from the Federal Voting Assistance Program that Washington has the lowest ballot rejection rates in the nation for military and overseas voters.

The FVAP reports that Washington has a 2 percent rejection rate for these voters, whereas the national average is 6 percent. Some counties in the U.S. are as high as 30 percent.

Representatives from FVAP and the Council of State Governments are visiting King County and Pierce County this week to identify the best practices in Washington that contribute to our success, with the intent of sharing those ideas across the nation.

State Elections Director Lori Augino:

“I’m pleased, and frankly not surprised, that Washington has the lowest rejection rate in the country. We are proud of our military and overseas voters, and work hard to ensure they have every opportunity to participate in each election. From advocating for laws that enable participation to ensuring best practices are shared across the state, Washington has a culture of supporting our military and overseas voters.”

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SecWyman hits airwaves reminding voters to return ballots


Secretary Wyman with Q13 morning news anchor Liz Dueweke. (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Horn)

With the 2014 General Election just hours from ending, Secretary of State Kim Wyman was in Seattle Tuesday to do a round of TV and radio interviews in which she reminded Washington voters to return their ballots in time if they hadn’t already done so. Here are photos of her interviews with KCPQ-TV, Northwest Cable News and KIRO-TV, She also did interviews with KING-TV, KOMO-TV, KIRO Radio, KOMO Radio and KUOW Radio.

The General Election closes Tuesday at 8 p.m. Go here or here.

To find a ballot drop box in your county if you haven’t returned your ballot yet. You can see election results on our Elections Division webpage here.


Secretary Wyman with Northwest Cable News anchor Cam Johnson.


Secretary Wyman is interviewed by KIRO-TV’s Essex Porter at King County Elections in Renton.

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From the Archives: key letter leading to statehood


With Washington’s 125th birthday celebration as a state just a week away, our State Archives is bringing out key historical documents that led to that triumphant day in 1889 when WA reached statehood.

What many people don’t know is that Washington could have become a state even sooner if not for a miscue.

The state constitution sent to President Benjamin Harrison in the fall of 1889 lacked Territorial Governor Miles Moore’s signature. The constitution sent to Harrison only had the signature of O.C. White, the last secretary of Washington Territory. Apparently, President Harrison didn’t think that the key document was authentic sans Moore’s signature. As a result, Harrison refused to declare Washington a state until he received a certified copy of the state constitution.

On Nov. 4, 1889, Territorial Governor Miles Moore sent a set of documents, including the constitution and certificate of election earlier that fall, that tried to expedite Washington’s admittance as a state. Harrison received it on Nov. 9. Two days later, Harrison proclaimed Washington as the 42nd state.

Just think: If not for that foul-up, Washington might have become the 41st state, not Montana, which was admitted on Nov. 8 of that year, only three days before WA.

Here is page one of Moore’s letter to Harrison and here is page two.

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‘14 Mock Election: good turnout, interesting results


Three students from Cascade High School in Leavenworth show off their “I Voted” stickers after taking part in the Mock Election. (Photo courtesy of Cascade High School)

While Washington awaits the decision of its adult voters in this fall’s General Election, more than 18,000  K-12 students statewide already have indicated via this week’s Student Mock Election what they think of the three initiatives on the statewide ballot.

Students approved Initiative 1351 (reducing class sizes), as 51.3 percent gave a thumbs-up. Students provided a split decision on the two initiatives on gun background checks. Nearly 55 percent rejected I-591, which would prohibit government agencies from requiring background checks on firearms recipients unless a uniform national standard is required. But more than 68 percent approved I-594, which calls for a universal background check on gun purchases.

Students also voted on their congressional race. Among the 10 congressional contests in Washington, the 4th District battle between Republicans Dan Newhouse and Clint Didier was the closest, as 50.3 percent (991) students there voted for Newhouse, while 49.7 percent (979) chose Didier.

This year’s Mock Election attracted 18,211 voters (including 2,884 in grades K-5 and 15,327 in grades 6-12), the second-highest turnout in Mock history, behind only the 38,900 mark set in 2012. The school with the most students taking part this year was Albert Einstein Middle School in Shoreline, with 697. Komachin Middle School in Lacey was second, with 570 students.

“It’s great that so many students voted in the Mock Election this year and experienced what voting is like,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “The Mock Election is an excellent way to introduce students to voting and why it’s important.”

The Mock Election, held online, began Monday morning and ended early Friday afternoon. The annual civics program for Washington students has been conducted by the Office of Secretary of State since 2004.

Go here to view the Mock Election results, which can be broken down by county, city or school.

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Secretary Wyman urges strong turnout as voting period winds down


As Washington’s 18-day voting period winds down, Secretary of State Kim Wyman is urging a strong turnout – and offering some important tips.

Ballots and Voters’ Pamphlets went out in mid-October – even earlier for our 65,000 military and overseas voters – and Nov. 4 is the deadline for returning your completed ballot.

Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, calls the election “a very special, very important opportunity to join our fellow Washington residents in electing our leaders and shaping the communities we call home. I call upon every registered voter to take part.”

Wyman offers some tips:

–Vote just as soon as you’re ready so you don’t get caught up in the rush of weekend activities and possibly forget the return deadline that is fast approaching.

–Be sure and take advantage of the plentiful sources of good information about this election – your Voters’ Pamphlet, TVW/OSOS Video Voters’ Guide, our Online Voters’ Guide, MyVote, media and campaign materials, endorsements or other materials you think will be helpful.

–Make sure your ballot gets a valid Nov. 4 postmark or that you deposit it in an official county dropbox or at your county elections office no later than 8 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.

–Read all directions, and be sure to sign your outer envelope.

–You will see an oath that you sign, attesting that you are a U.S. citizen and18 or older and qualified to vote. Knowingly providing false information is a Class C felony.

–It’s legal, but not advisable, to give your completed ballot to someone you don’t know, based on their assurance the ballot will be turned in promptly. There is no guarantee the ballot would get to where it needs to go. You should never feel pressured to turn your ballot over to anyone, or unduly pressured to vote it a certain way. It’s your vote and your voice.

–When it comes time to learn the results as they are tallied Election Night and beyond, be sure to download our free app and visit our Election Results website.

Wyman noted that 3.9 million ballots were sent out beginning Oct. 15, and that some 65,000 military and overseas voters were sent ballots by surface mail and email by Sept. 20. As of Thursday morning, over 780,000 ballots had been returned to our 39 counties – nearly 20 percent of those issued.

Using the assistance of the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), voter rolls are regular checked for duplicate registrations, deceased voters and felons in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

The 39 counties will certify their returns on Nov. 25 and Secretary Wyman and Governor Inslee will certify the state results on Dec. 2.


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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.

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