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'Protecting and defending the Constitution,' former Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman departs for federal election security job

Joseph O'Sullivan, The Seattle Times on

Published in News & Features

Perhaps the biggest and toughest task was the design and implementation of VoteWA, a new voter-management database that also allows election officials to administer the state's relatively new, same-day voter registration law.

Though it had a bumpy rollout in early 2019 — including some criticism from county elections officials — the system ultimately worked well in that year's elections and performed solidly in the 2020 elections.

"VoteWA in every sense is something I'm proud of, because I think it was a game-changer that we needed on every level ... and it worked well," she said.

She decided to take the job after CISA reached out to her a few months ago, said Wyman, who added that she didn't know the agency's new director, Jen Easterly.

Wyman now wants to use her new role to continue helping states and local officials work with cybersecurity capability to protect voting systems.

"I'm talking as a secretary of state, but I think about the clerk in the middle of Iowa who has 3,000 voters, and they're doing other jobs, they issues recorded documents or license tabs or something," she said. "How do they have time to find out what the threats are coming from around the world, or domestically?"

 

Wyman's departure also leaves Republicans without a single statewide elected official on the West Coast of the U.S. mainland.

Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this month appointed state Sen. Steve Hobbs, a moderate Democrat and lieutenant colonel in the Washington National Guard, to temporarily serve as secretary of state. Hobbs was sworn in Monday.

Hobbs — who has no experience overseeing elections — has said he'll run for election for the seat next year, the winner of which will then serve the remainder of Wyman's term.

Wyman has praised the selection of Hobbs, but said, "I hope we see people with election experience enter the race."

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