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Washington state's GOP secretary of state resigns to join Biden administration

Joseph O’Sullivan, The Seattle Times on

Published in News & Features

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Tuesday announced her resignation to take a key election-security position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

For the federal government, Tuesday’s announcement marks the recruitment of an administrator with depth of experience with mail voting and a rare Republican who has defended the method from both domestic critics and foreign adversaries.

For Democrats, the resignation of Wyman — the only statewide elected Republican — presents a fresh opportunity for an office that has eluded them in every election since 1964.

Former Democratic state Rep. Gael Tarleton of Seattle, Wyman’s opponent last year, signaled Tuesday she would seek an appointment to the vacancy.

Meanwhile, the state Republican Party on Tuesday swiftly called for Gov. Jay Inslee to appoint a member of the GOP to temporarily replace Wyman.

In her new role, Wyman will serve as the senior election security lead for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, according to a statement from her office. The agency is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

“I am honored to be able to share nearly three decades of experience and expertise at the federal level to support CISA’s efforts to safeguard our election systems from cyberattacks and enhance the public’s confidence in our elections,” Wyman said in prepared remarks.

“As I assume this new role, I remain committed to protecting the integrity of our elections, and working closely with local and state elections officials nationwide to bolster this foundational pillar of our democracy,” she added.

Wyman’s last day as secretary of state will be Nov. 19.

A county elections administrator for a decade before she was elected secretary of state in 2012, Wyman, whose office oversees elections, has built a national profile on her work with voting and ballot security.

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