Capitol Bulletins

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman introduced an elections security bill this week in an effort to increase election security in advance of the 2020 election cycle, including the presidential election in November.

The legislation has received bipartisan support, with Sens. Hans Zeiger and Mark Mullet sponsoring the Senate bill and Reps. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, and Brian Blake, D-Longview, sponsoring the House bill.

“This comprehensive legislation is vital for state and local officials to securely administer elections in 2020 and the future. I’m grateful lawmakers agree elections security must be a top priority this session, and encourage the Legislature to act swiftly on this critical bill,” said Wyman, in a statement.

The bill is intended to establish a clear chain of custody for ballots to limit opportunities for tampering, eliminate cyber threats provide post-election security through statistical audits, and appropriate $1.8 million in order to draw $8.6 million in federal matching funds to augment security.

“A secure and resilient electoral process is perhaps the most important election-related policy issue we have going into this year’s election. This bill shows that Secretary of State Kim Wyman is out in front of the issue. She’s doing all that can be done to assure votes are properly cast and counted,” said Walsh, R-Aberdeen, ranking member on the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.

The Office Secretary of State this year also plans to work to secure funding for elections security improvements. In December, Congress approved the distribution of $425 million in grants, requiring a 20 percent state match, for states’ elections security investments. Washington is slated to receive $8.6 million from the federal government so long as the state can provide $1.8 million in matching funds.

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