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Secretary Wyman urges strong turnout as voting period winds down

by David Ammons | October 30th, 2014 1:25 pm | No Comments


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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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Election results app now has local results, too

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Once the General Election ends Nov. 4 at 8 p.m., many candidates, voters, the media and political junkies will again use our free election results mobile app to get the latest results on statewide races or ballot measures. Since the app debuted a few years ago, it’s been a big hit.

If you have a smartphone, just download the app here.

The app is available for iPhone, Android and, for the first time, Windows Phone devices.

In previous years, the app provided current vote totals for state offices and ballot measures in the fall election. But now it also provides local election results for 37 of Washington’s 39 counties. (Sorry, but it isn’t able to provide local results for King County and only a few measures in Yakima County. However, the app features a link to the election webpages for King and Yakima.) Results are immediately updated when a new tabulation is reported by any of the state’s county elections departments. Results will be published right after 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you don’t have a smartphone but want to track election results, you can go here after 8 p.m. on Election Day. To view local county election results, go here and then click on the county name.

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Protect your business! Don’t be easy prey for crafty sales tactics

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The Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division recently received several calls about a notice to file annual minutes for shareholders, directors, and officers for the princely sum of $125.  In fact, Washington state law does NOT require corporations to file their minutes from their annual meeting.  But these notices look like an official state request and contain language that a filing is needed or required.

Corporations and Charities Division Director Pam Floyd has turned over the information the division has received to the consumer protection arm of the state Attorney General’s Office, who will look into it.  At this point, she recommends that anyone receiving one of these notices, be aware that annual reports, while required annually, only cost $71 and are filed through the Business License Services or our office. If they have received something and are in doubt, they should call our office at 360.725.0377 or visit our web site at www.sos.wa.gov/corps.

Depending on your business structure, you may have different filing requirements with the state.  Please be aware of and maintain your corporate records, consulting with your legal or financial adviser. There are services that can help manage your records requirements, but do your homework and beware of potential scams and business identity thieves.

Come see our new exhibit on 1889 Washington!

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The official grand opening event for our next great historical exhibit isn’t until Nov. 11, but why wait until then? Everyone is welcome to see the exhibit because it’s now on display in our office.

Called Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood, it 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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The privately funded exhibit, presented by the Office of Secretary of State and its Legacy Washington program, also features an original 42-star flag that reflected Washington’s entry into the union, artifacts from the Great Seattle Fire, a replica of the Washington State Constitution and more.

The exhibit’s Nov. 11 grand opening ceremony takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the front lobby of our office, located on the second floor of the Legislative Building.

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From the Archives: Anniversary of letter leading to WA statehood

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(Courtesy of Washington State Archives)

With Washington’s 125th birthday celebration on Nov. 11 just days away, we’re always looking to highlight key documents that led to our becoming the 42nd state.

This letter certainly qualifies. It was sent on Oct. 23, 1889, by Washington Territorial Gov.  Miles C. Moore to President Benjamin Harrison, requesting “to be admitted to the Union on an Equal Footing with the Original States…” Apparently, Harrison liked what Moore wrote. On Nov. 11 of that year, a telegram was to Moore’s gubernatorial successor, Elisha P. Ferry (the first governor of the state of Washington), saying that Harrison signed the proclamation declaring Washington a state.

Our State Archives has both Moore’s letter to Harrison and the telegram announcing our statehood.

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Happy 10th birthday to our Digital Archives!

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View outside of Washington State Digital Archives. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives)

We’re proud to wish a happy 10th birthday to the world’s first built-from-the-ground digital archives facility. The Washington State Digital Archives had its grand opening on Oct. 4, 2004.

The Digital Archives is co-located in the same building with the Washington State Archives’ Eastern Regional Branch on the Eastern Washington University campus in Cheney. The Digital Archives includes a state-of-the-art research room, complete with computer research stations, a high-tech presentation classroom and a world-class data center.

The award-winning facility is popular with genealogists, historians and researchers.

State Archivist Steve Excell:

“Thanks to the Washington State Digital Archives, people can access records, photos and other documents in just a few clicks from a computer or other digital device. We’re proud that it’s the first of its kind in the world and that it allows us to preserve born digital records and make them available to one and all.”

During its decade of existence, the Digital Archives’ collection has steadily grown to nearly 150 million digital records. Among its more popular items are the Treasures of the Archives, which includes Gov. Elisha P. Ferry’s oath of office in 1889, the year Washington became a state. continue reading

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CFD Masquerade Ball draws a crowd

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Secretary Wyman (third from left) and other guests gather in her office during the ball. (Photo courtesy of Heather Lucas)

The Legislative Building is usually considered the place where many statewide officials are headquartered and where  lawmakers meet each winter to do the business of the people.

But it was Olympia’s social epicenter Saturday night, as more than 300 people gathered there for the third annual Combined Fund Drive Masquerade Ball for charity.

The Office of Secretary of State, CFD and Department of Archeology and Historical Preservation once again co-hosted the event. Secretary of State Kim Wyman greeted revelers. Various forms of entertainment were found on each floor, including the popular casino night in the Columbia Room and psychics reading tarot cards in the Treasurer’s Office. Professional photographs of the attendees were taken in the State Reception Room.

The ball raised more than $7,000 (after expenses) for the CFD. (Last year’s ball raised more than $6,000.) There were 28 different charities on hand to connect with donors through vendor booths on the fourth floor of the building. There also was a silent auction featuring Cardinals-Seahawks tickets, a silver bracelet and a vintage pearl necklace, among other items for sale.

The CFD gives thanks to all attendees, volunteers and performers.

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Oct. 27 in-person registration deadline before fall election

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If you’re not currently registered to vote in Washington and want to vote in the General Election, Oct. 27 is your last chance. That’s the deadline to register in person at your county elections department. King County has two locations where people can register: County election headquarters at 919 SW Grady Way in Renton, and the county’s voter registration annex at the King County Administration Building, 500 4th Ave., Room 440 in Seattle.

To register to vote, you must be:
• A United States citizen
• A legal resident of Washington State
• At least 18 years old by Election Day
• Not disqualified from voting due to a court order
• Not under state Department of Corrections supervision for a Washington felony conviction.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman urged unregistered, but eligible residents to act quickly, and not get left out of this important civic duty and privilege.

The General Election voting period ends Nov. 4. Three statewide initiatives are on the ballot: Initiative 591, which would prohibit government agencies from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required; I-594, which would require universal background checks on gun purchases; and I-1351, which would lower class sizes in public schools. There also are two nonbinding Advisory Votes on the ballot. Results of the Advisory Votes will not change state law. Rather, voters are being asked to advise the Legislature to repeal or maintain any of two revenue-increase bills passed by the Legislature this year.

You can learn more about the General Election by looking at the Voters’ Pamphlet mailed to all Washington households, viewing our online Voters Guide, watching TVW’s 2014 Video Voters’ Guide, which includes statements from supporters and opponents of the three statewide initiatives, or by reading our General Election Fact Sheet.

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Wyman & Ferguson: Don’t get scammed when giving to charity

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KOMO-TV’s Connie Thompson interviews Secretary Wyman.

With the holidays approaching, commercial fundraisers will ask for donations they say will go to charities. But Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are urging Washingtonians to think before they give.

The two statewide officials spent Thursday morning doing TV and radio interviews to share tips — and warnings — on how to give wisely during the holiday season and beyond, and how to beware of unscrupulous fundraising.

Said Wyman:

“Washingtonians are very generous and big-hearted. As we were reminded after the Oso tragedy last spring and the wildfires in north-central Washington last summer, many of us give money to help those in need, whether it’s here or around the world. Unfortunately, scammers can victimize people if donors aren’t careful and do their homework before they give. We want to help people avoid being ripped off.”

Added Ferguson:

“Charity scams increase during the holidays. It is important to exercise caution and make sure your money helps those who truly need it.”

The Secretary of State’s Charities Program  released the latest figures in its Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report. The report can be seen here. Some takeaways:

  • Charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 48 percent of contributions, slightly higher than the 46 percent found in the 2012 and 2013 reports but lower than 56 percent reported in 2011.
  • Eight fundraisers returned more than 80 percent of total contributions to their charity clients, but 22 returned less than 20 percent of the funds raised to their clients.
  • More than $572 million was raised in Washington and elsewhere by the 129 million commercial fundraisers included in the report, about $50 million more than the amount for the period ending last December.
  • There currently are about 10,300 charities registered in Washington. Of those, 632 report using paid fundraising services.

Here is a link showing the report’s history.

The officials advise consumers to contact potential charities directly. For more information on finding charities, visit the SOS charity lookup here.  You can also contact the OSOS Charities Hotline at 1-800-332-4483. If a consumer believes they have been scammed, contact the AGO at 1-800-551-4636.

Here are ways to avoid getting scammed by those seeking donations:
•    Ask the caller to send written information about the organization.
•    Beware if the caller offers to send a courier to collect your donation immediately.
•    Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitations that demand an instant commitment. Just hang up!
•    If you decide to donate, write a check and make it payable to the charity.
•    Never send cash or give your credit card or bank account number.
•    Don’t be fooled by a name. Some organizations use similar-sounding names, or names that closely resemble those of respected, well-established charities. Be sure to check them out.

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Getting a sneak peek at 1889 WA exhibit

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Our office’s next great historical exhibit, Washington 1889: Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood, should be ready for the public to see on Tuesday, Oct. 21.  Secretary Wyman enjoyed a sneak peak of the exhibit panels. She and our office’s Legacy Washington staff joined Washington State Historical Society Executive Director Jennifer Kilmer (second from right in the photo below)  in checking out the panels shortly after they arrived. The exhibit’s official opening is Nov. 11 at 4 p.m., following festivities in the Capitol celebrating Washington’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

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Your Voters’ Pamphlet is coming soon!

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(Image courtesy of State Elections Division)

Are you ready to vote in the General Election this fall? Make sure to first check your mail for one of the most useful educational tools you can have before you fill out your ballot!

The centennial edition of the General Election Voters’ Pamphlet is being mailed throughout Washington this week. If you receive a damaged Voters’ Pamphlet or you don’t receive your copy by Oct. 22, please call our Voter Hotline at (800) 448-4881 or e-mail the Elections Division at elections@sos.wa.gov for assistance.

The Voters’ Pamphlet also is available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese, as mandated by federal law. The Chinese and Vietnamese versions are for King County, and Spanish-English bilingual editions are mailed in Adams, Franklin and Yakima counties.

The Voters’ Pamphlet, provided by our Elections Division, is packed with useful information about state candidates and measures found on this fall’s ballot. It includes info on the three statewide initiatives on the ballot: Initiative 1351, which aims to lower class sizes in Washington public schools; Initiative 591, which would prohibit government agencies from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required; and I-594, which would require universal background checks on gun purchases. The popular voter education booklet also has information on the two nonbinding Advisory Votes on revenue-related bills passed by the state Legislature this year.

Here are some facts and figures about this year’s Voters’ Pamphlet: continue reading

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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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