Gov. Inslee & Secretary Wyman certify 2016 election ?>

Gov. Inslee & Secretary Wyman certify 2016 election

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Secretary Wyman and Gov. Inslee certify the 2016 General Election returns. (Photos courtesy of Patrick McDonald)

Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Gov. Jay Inslee have certified the returns for the 2016 General Election, including a record number of ballot measures and hotly contested races from the White House to local offices. The election drew record voter registrations of nearly 4.3 million and the most ballots ever counted in the state, over 3.36 million.  The turnout was nearly 79 percent, the ninth best in the country.

The heavy voter engagement tracked the four-year cycle of elections, with the presidential-gubernatorial always generating the most interest and turnout. Besides the heavily publicized race for president, voters chose the state’s congressional and legislative delegations, the governor and all nine statewide executives, a third of the Supreme Court, nine ballot measures, and a number of local races and propositions, including the $54 billion Sound Transit vote in central Puget Sound.

The results were officially certified by Inslee and Wyman at a signing ceremony in the governor’s office. Both were in a good mood — both were winners for re-election — and bantered as they signed a number of documents.

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Wyman and Inslee with members of Wyman’s staff who attended the certification ceremony.

Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said state and county election officials were gratified at the strong voter interest and the cybersecurity of the election systems. It was one of the most scrutinized campaign and election cycles in history, she noted. She added:

“It was gratifying to see that our systems in Washington remained safe and secure and that voters can be confident in the outcomes.”

A recap from our earlier blog post:

Like the other West Coast states, Washington went into the Democratic column for president even while Republican Donald Trump was picking up an Electoral College victory elsewhere. Hillary Clinton took 54 percent in Washington, to Trump’s 38 percent, a margin of about 500,000 votes. The state hasn’t voted GOP for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

One interesting footnote: more than 150,000 voters skipped the presidential race or picked a write-in who was not on the ballot. Four years ago, the dropoff was much lower, about 47,000.

Democrats also prevailed in most of the statewide races. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray won another six-year term, 59-41 over Republican Chris Vance. Inslee was re-elected 54-46 over Republican challenger Bill Bryant. State Sen. Cyrus Habib defeated Republican Marty McClendon 54-46 in the  open lieutenant governor’s race. Attorney General Bob Ferguson easily rebuffed Libertarian Joshua Trumbull 67-33. Mike Kreidler won another term as state insurance commissioner, defeating Republican Richard Schrock 58-42. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy won an open race for state auditor, 52-48 over Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia. Newcomer Hilary Franz defeated Republican Steve McLaughlin for the open lands commissioner race, 53-47.

Republicans ended up with two of the eight partisan statewide races. Wyman defeated Democrat Tina Podlodowski 55-45 and Duane Davidson defeated fellow Republican Michael Waite 58-42 for the open spot as state treasurer. It was the first time that two statewide candidates from the same party faced off in the General Election after emerging from the Top 2 Primary.

The open nonpartisan contest for state schools superintendent was by far the closest statewide race and was not declared for several weeks. State Rep. Chris Reykdal edged Erin Jones 50.5-49.5.

Three incumbent Supreme Court justices, Mary Yu, Barbara Madsen and Charlie Wiggins, were all handily re-elected.

All 98 House seats and 26 Senate races were on the ballot. Despite millions being spent on key races, the bottom line was almost unchanged. Democrats will continue to hold a 50-48 majority in the House and Republicans will have a 25-24 edge in the Senate, following defeat of Republican Steve Litzow, with Democrat Tim Sheldon continuing to caucus with the GOP majority coalition.

Statewide voters approved Initiative 1433, minimum wage and family leave, 57-43; I-1491, firearms restrictions, 69-31;  I-1501, records exemptions for care workers, 71-29; I-735, urging a U.S. constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision; 63-37; and SJR 8210, requiring earlier passage of redistricting plans, 77-23.

Voters rejected I-1464, campaign finance reform, 54-46; and I-732, carbon tax, 59-41.

(more…)

Wyman & Ferguson: `Give smart’ to charity this season ?>

Wyman & Ferguson: `Give smart’ to charity this season

Give Smart
Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are reminding Washingtonians to make wise choices when giving money to charity and avoid unscrupulous solicitors during this holiday season and beyond.

The two statewide officials who deal most closely with charities also are sharing tips on how to “Give Smart.” They did a joint media blitz on Tuesday. Said Wyman:

“People here in Washington are very generous. Many of us give money to help those in need, here or around the world. Unfortunately, scammers can victimize donors if they aren’t careful and do their homework before giving. Our goal is to help people give smart and avoid being ripped off.”

Ferguson’s comment:

“When you give to charity, you deserve to know that your donation is going where you intend it to go. There are people out there looking to take advantage of your kindness. Before making a donation, make sure the charity is legitimate.”

Ferguson said there are several common-sense ways to “Give Smart” and avoid being scammed by those seeking donations:

  • Don’t give in to high-pressure solicitations that demand you make an instant commitment.
  • Do your research before giving.
    • Check to see if the charity is registered with the SOS at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/.
      • If the organization is registered, you can review a summary of its federal tax exempt status and financial records.
      • If the organization is not registered, or you would like further information, contact the SOS Charities Program at 1-800-332-4483.
    • Check the charity’s rating by Better Business Bureau at www.give.org. More resources for donors can be found at www.sos.wa.gov/charities/ResourcesforDonors.aspx.
  • If a commercial fundraiser is involved, call the charity directly to make sure it has authorized the paid solicitor to collect donations on its behalf.
  • Secretary of State releases Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report

Commerical Fundraiser Activity Reports

The Office of Secretary of State’s Charities Program has released the latest figures in its Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report. The report spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers who solicit or collect donations on behalf of their charity clients. The causes vary widely and include police, firefighter and veteran organizations, medical research, animal welfare, civil liberties, and the environment.

Overall in 2016, charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 61 percent of contributions, higher than the 52 percent found in the 2015 report. As usual, the percentage that individual fundraisers retained was wide-ranging: Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining funds to their charity client(s), while other fundraisers’ fees and expenses were more than the amount raised.

Click https://www.sos.wa.gov/charities/cfr.aspx to see the current report, which can be viewed as a PDF or Excel file.

2016 Election: Record 3.36m ballots counted ?>

2016 Election: Record 3.36m ballots counted

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Washington counties have certified the returns in the hotly contested 2016 elections that attracted record voter registrations of nearly 4.3 million and the most ballots ever counted in the state, over 3.36 million.  The turnout was nearly 79 percent, a strong showing nationally.

The spike in voter engagement reflects the four-year cycle of elections, with the presidential-gubernatorial always generating the most interest and turnout. Voters’ plates were full this year. Besides the heavily publicized race for president, voters were choosing their congressional delegation, most of the Legislature, the governor and all nine statewide executives, a third of the Supreme Court, nine ballot measures, and a number of local races and propositions, including the $54 billion Sound Transit vote in central Puget Sound.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer and a 24-year veteran of county and state election administration, said election officials were gratified at the strong voter interest and the cybersecurity of the election systems.

“This was probably the most scrutinized election since the ultra-close race for governor in 2004, with news reports of potential interference by Russian hackers and potential intrusions on election systems, as well as candidates talking about ‘rigged’ elections. Thus it was gratifying to see that our systems in Washington remained safe and secure and that voters can be confident in the outcomes.”

Like the other West Coast states, Washington went into the Democratic column for president even while Republican Donald Trump was picking up an Electoral College victory elsewhere. Hillary Clinton took 54 percent in Washington, to Trump’s 38 percent, a margin of about 500,000 votes. The state hasn’t voted GOP for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

One interesting footnote: more than 150,000 voters skipped the presidential race or picked a write-in who was not on the ballot. Four years ago, the dropoff was much lower, about 47,000.

Democrats also prevailed in most of the statewide races. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray won another six-year term, 59-41 over Republican Chris Vance. Jay Inslee was re-elected 54-46 over Republican challenger Bill Bryant. State Sen. Cyrus Habib defeated Republican Marty McClendon 54-46 in the  open lieutenant governor’s race. Attorney General Bob Ferguson easily rebuffed Libertarian Joshua Trumbull 67-33. Mike Kreidler won another term as state insurance commissioner, defeating Republican Richard Schrock 58-42. Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy won an open race for state auditor, 52-48 over Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia. Newcomer Hilary Franz defeated Republican Steve McLaughlin for the open lands commissioner race, 53-47.

Republicans ended up with two of the eight partisan statewide races. Wyman defeated Democrat Tina Podlodowski 55-45 and Duane Davidson defeated fellow Republican Michael Waite 58-42 for the open spot as state treasurer. It was the first time that two statewide candidates from the same party faced off in the General Election after emerging from the Top 2 Primary.

The open nonpartisan contest for state schools superintendent was by far the closest statewide race and was not declared for several weeks. State Rep. Chris Reykdal edged Erin Jones 50.5-49.5.

Three incumbent Supreme Court justices, Mary Yu, Barbara Madsen and Charlie Wiggins, were (more…)

AWB Holiday Kids Tree is in the Capitol, lighting event Dec. 2 ?>

AWB Holiday Kids Tree is in the Capitol, lighting event Dec. 2

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DES employees carry the Holiday Kids’ Tree up the Capitol Building steps. (Photo courtesy Patrick McDonald)

The Holiday Kids’ Tree is in the building.

A large crew of Department of Enterprise workers Tuesday morning carried the 25-foot Noble fir up the north steps of the Capitol, squeezed it through the doors and hauled it up the marble steps to the Rotunda, where it was erected. Tree decorating continued Wednesday morning.

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After hauling the tree up the steps, workers navigate between the pillars. (Photo courtesy Patrick McDonald) 

The tree is the star attraction for this Friday’s 28th Annual Holiday Tree lighting ceremony. The event begins at 6 p.m. Gov. Jay Inslee will light the tree with help from Naval Base Kitsap Chief Petty Officer Maungwai Soe, his wife Yamin, and their two children, Heidi, 5, and Hunter, 15 months.

The event is sponsored by the Association of Washington Business.

The tree, donated by Weyerhaeuser’s Vail-area tree farm, will be decorated with 5,000 LED lights and festive traditional decorations, along with stuffed characters representing this year’s theme of “Under the Sea,” which will be donated to children’s hospitals when the tree comes down Dec. 30.

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A DES employee decorates the tree Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy Brian Zylstra)

Centralia, Eatonville, Spokane historic newspapers join digital collection ?>

Centralia, Eatonville, Spokane historic newspapers join digital collection

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Front page of Dec. 20, 1956, edition of The Eatonville Dispatch (Image courtesy Washington State Library)

Nearly 50,000 newly digitized pages from historic newspapers based in Centralia, Eatonville, Tacoma and Spokane are being added to the Washington State Library’s online newspaper collection this year.

The latest titles are the Centralia Daily Hub (1914-16), The Eatonville Dispatch (1916-61) and Den Danske Kronike (1916-17), a Danish-English publication based in Spokane. The Centralia and Eatonville papers were added this month. Den Danske Kronike was added last summer, along with the Tacoma Evening Telegraph (1886-87).

They and other historic newspapers can be found on the State Library’s Washington Digital Newspapers website.

With the generous support of the Larkin family (publishers between 1950 and 1974) and the most recent publisher (Realty in Motion, LLC), the early years of The Eatonville Dispatch are now available online. Editions from that era illustrate the impact of events such as World War I, mill fires, World War II, Japanese internment and post-WWII Operation Bootstrap on local citizens. Insights into the daily lives of several generations of citizens unfold through the Cruiser student newspaper, graduations, marriages, births and seasonal celebrations each year.

The Centralia Daily Hub chronicled the daily activities of Western Washington high society, struggles of the Temperance Movement between the “dry” counties and local law enforcement efforts to stop the booze run through their communities.

Washington State Library volunteer Karen Fieldman introduced the State Library to the Den Danske Kronike, published in Spokane by her grandfather, Ingvard Eskeberg, until he folded the publication to head to Europe to fight for America in WWI.  The weekly newspaper proclaimed to serve over 10,000 Norwegian and Danish speakers in the Pacific Northwest.

The State Library launched the website in late July and are beginning to merge the library’s Historic Newspapers collection with newspapers digitized for the National Digital Newspaper Program into the Washington Digital Newspapers collection so all issues will have consistent full text and advanced search capabilities. The new WDN website will also include additional historic (more…)

Archives and Library’s connection to `Queen of the Fakers’ ?>

Archives and Library’s connection to `Queen of the Fakers’

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Maud Wagnon’s State Penitentiary mug shots. (Image courtesy of Washington State Archives)

Many people associate our State Archives and State Library with old government documents and historic books and collections that are like gold to genealogists and history buffs.

But many of those documents and collections kept by the Archives and Library also tell fascinating stories.

One example focuses on an Oregon woman named Maud Wagnon (aka Maud Johnson), who defrauded interurban railroads more than a century ago, earning her the nickname “Queen of the Fakers.”

The State Library’s state publications collection includes an old wanted prisoner catalog from 1913. The State Digital Archives has the digital copy. Recently, Logan Camporeal, an Eastern Washington University graduate intern who works at the Archives’ Eastern Regional Branch in Cheney, came across the story about mischievous Maud, the only female convict listed in the document, while doing research for this Treasures of the Archives story.

Logan shared his story about the con artist with KNKX Radio (formerly KPLU). The NPR station recently did a story on the turn-of-the-century swindler. You can listen to the audio version of the story here. (Go to the 5:06 mark to hear Logan’s story.)

Wyman honors companies that give back to communities ?>

Wyman honors companies that give back to communities

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Secretary Wyman with Corporations for Communities Award winners and honor roll recipients in the Capitol Rotunda.

Four Washington companies have been honored for giving back to their local communities.

They received the 2016 Corporations for Communities Award, which honors exceptional Washington businesses that make it a priority to help the community.

Representatives from Kent-based Sleep Train and Republic Services in Bellevue are the two winners of the large-company category. Birch Equipment in Bellingham and US Martial Arts Center (Olympia) are the two small-company winners.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman presented the four companies with a National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Award during a ceremony in her office Tuesday at the Capitol. The award recognizes civic engagement, voter education efforts, government services and a commitment to giving back to the community.

“We are fortunate as a state to have many businesses that help their communities by giving back,” Wyman said. “I’m proud to recognize and honor some of our many caring corporations that make a difference.”

Seven additional companies received honor roll certificates for their community efforts. They include Data Link West (Bellingham), Fit 4Life Studio (Sequim), Gator Girl Rocks (Olympia), GHB Insurance (Olympia), Massage Envy (Covington), Stormans (Olympia) and Targa Sound Terminals (Tacoma).

A closer look at this year’s four winners:

Sleep Train was nominated for hosting many donation drives at retail locations, collecting more than 380,000 items last year, including pajamas, shoes, clothing items, school supplies and gifts during the holidays, to support foster children. The company supported many local nonprofits; hosted its annual Pajama Bowl in Seattle to support foster children, raising nearly $170,000; donated $100,000 to Treehouse to help foster youth obtain GEDs and get into college; and provided more than 2,500 tickets to foster kids and foster families for admission to Wild Waves Theme Park, the Washington State Fair and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Republic Services was nominated for the great work of its employees, who donate gifts to the Kenmore Secret Santa program, sponsor and provide volunteers for the Evergreen State Fair, take part in curbside food drives, teach students about waste reduction, and organize and support the Monroe High School Memorial that honors former students who lost their lives in service. The company encourages and supports the efforts of its employees to engage in many of these activities.

Birch Equipment was nominated for giving more than $100,000 annually in cash, free rentals, prizes and trade to hundreds of organizations, including local schools, Whatcom Hospice, American Cancer Society and American Red Cross. The company’s employees are also active in the community by volunteering with local organizations including Whatcom Hospice, Arthritis Foundation, Toys for Tots, Boys and Girls Clubs and other organizations; and helping at local events like the Whatcom Hospice Foundation Golf Tournament and Gala, Blaine Library fundraisers, Bellingham Brain Cancer walks and Relay for Life.

US Martial Arts Center was nominated for raising about $75,000 at the annual Board Break-A-Thon to support the Olympia and North Thurston Education Foundation, and providing complimentary programs on fitness, bully awareness and active shooter safety to schools. Employees volunteer at local events like the Lacey Spring Fun Fair and Lakefair Kids Day by providing free lessons. The center also requires that those seeking a Black Belt volunteer at the Thurston Food Bank to qualify for Black Belt testing.

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

`Who are We?’ contest ends Nov. 30 ?>

`Who are We?’ contest ends Nov. 30

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Washington students in grade 6-12 have until the end of November to take part in a contest sponsored by our Legacy Washington program.

Legacy Washington’s contest asks students to share who they are and who they hope to become.

Contestants can submit entries in different formats, including writings, film projects or two-dimensional art. The contest ends Nov. 30. Go here to sign up and learn about contest rules and other details.

The contest is in connection with Legacy Washington’s “Who are we?” project, which includes a series of online profiles about fascinating, accomplished Washingtonians, and an exhibit in our front lobby that features the profile subjects.

Judges will announce winners in 2017 from grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. Winners will be invited to a ceremony in the Secretary of State’s office where they will be presented with a special certificate and gift card. Winning pieces also will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website, featured in SOS publications and appear alongside the “Who are we?” exhibit.

For more information about the contest, contact Legacy Washington’s Laura Mott at laura.mott@sos.wa.gov or 360-902-4171.

Legacy Washington documents extraordinary stories in our state’s history. This collaborative venture, spearheaded by Secretary of State Kim Wyman, relies on original sources at the Washington State Library, Washington State Library and heritage organizations across the state. Legacy Washington’s work can be found in libraries across the U.S. and in heritage organizations and schools statewide.

’17 Teen Video Challenge under way ?>

’17 Teen Video Challenge under way

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The Washington State Library and the Collaborative Summer Library Program have launched the 2017 Teen Video Challenge, a national video competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public library’s summer reading program.

Teens are invited to create a 30-to-90-second video with their unique interpretation of the 2017 summer reading slogan “Build a Better World.” The idea is to involve teens in summer reading, before and during the summer months, by being part of the process. This is an opportunity for teens to showcase their creativity and have their ideas heard by a national audience. The winning video will be named one of the 2017 Teen Videos to promote summer reading nationwide.

$100 will be awarded to the creator of Washington’s winning video and his or her associated public library will receive prizes worth at least $50 from Upstart. Winners will be announced in April.

For full details about the Teen Video Challenge and to find out how to enter Washington’s competition, please visit http://sos.wa.gov/q/teenvideo. Entries must be received by Feb. 15.

Questions? Please contact Nono Burling at the Washington State Library at nono.burling@sos.wa.gov.

WA 2016 Election: The count goes on ?>

WA 2016 Election: The count goes on

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As Washington’s vote tally continues through the week, voters were re-electing most incumbents and siding with Hillary Clinton in her losing White House bid.

Before Wednesday’s updates, more than 2 million votes had been counted, better than 48 percent of the record 4.24 million ballots that were sent out last month.  Counties reported receiving 2.7 million ballots by mail or drop box, a 63 percent return rate, as of Election Day, not counting evening drop box pickups. Heavy mail volumes were expected Wednesday and Thursday, with most votes expected to be counted by the end of the week, said state Elections Director Lori Augino.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman said turnout is running higher than at the comparable time four years ago. The final turnout should exceed 80 percent and could even set a new record, she said. That mark was set eight years ago, with a turnout of 84.6 percent. Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, added:

“We are delighted with the heavy voter participation. It is so healthy for democracy to have more than eight out of 10 voters casting ballots for their elected leaders and state and local  measures. People were truly engaged this year, and we saw record voter registrations and maybe even record turnout.”

Augino gave high marks to county election partners and said she was pleased that election systems were affirmed to be cybersecure. She added:

“In this time of heightened security and concern about cyber attacks, we were pleased to again have an event-free election. We’re pleased to be working with the Department of Homeland Security and experts in the cybersecurity field to make sure state and local election systems are free of outside tampering. We’ll remain vigilant.”

Washington returns had a “blue” hue, re-electing Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray by landslide margins. Democrats also were winning open races for lieutenant governor, state auditor and land commissioner with Cyrus Habib, Pat McCarthy and Hilary Franz, respectively. Incumbent Democrats were easily winning re-election as attorney general and insurance commissioner. The nonpartisan open race for state school superintendent was too close to call.

Wyman, who has been the only Republican in statewide office in the state and on the West Coast, was winning a second term and Duane Davidson was elected to the open state treasurer’s office over a fellow Republican. It was the first time a statewide contest featured two candidates from the same party.

The state awarded its 12 electoral votes to Clinton. She was defeating the national winner, Donald Trump, by 56-38 in Washington.

State Sen. Pramila Jayapal won an open 7th Congressional District seat against a fellow Democrat. All other nine incumbents easily won new two-year terms.

The race for control of the Legislature was still a bit unsettled, with some races still too close to call. Most analysts were seeing a net loss of one Republican Senate seat, still leaving the majority GOP coalition in control. Democrats were expected to maintain narrow control of the state House.

Voters approved a minimum wage and family leave initiative (I-1433) and controls on gun access for “extreme risk” persons (I-1491). Voters also approved measures dealing with shielding records for home care workers (I-1501) and requesting a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (I-735).

Voters rejected a carbon tax plan (I-732) and campaign finance reforms (I-1464).

A noncontroversial constitutional amendment was easily approved to require future redistricting plans to be produced earlier in 2021 and beyond.

Three incumbent Supreme Court justices were winning new six-year terms.

Many locales had local elections and local propositions. The big Sound Transit expansion vote was passing in a district that included Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, 55-45.