For those who remember, the 2004 gubernatorial election placed a spotlight on the office of the Secretary of State. The secretary is the chief elections officer for the state. In 2004, Dino Rossi was initially named the winner of the governor's race after an automated count and recount. A second recount done by hand showed that Christine Gregoire won the election by 129 ballots. Rossi questioned the integrity of the election process.
Fast forward to 2012 and you have Wednesday's debate for secretary of state between Kim Wyman and Kathleen Drew. The debate, part of AWB's Policy Summit, was moderated by Austin Jenkins, political reporter for the Northwest News Network. Many of Jenkins' questions revolved around the integrity of the elections and of duties of the office.
Jenkins mentioned the 2004 results at different times during the hour-long debate. For instance, he asked how the candidates would improve the election process following the 2004 fiasco and the state being notorious for close elections.
Wyman has been the Thurston County Auditor since 2001. In order to maintain integrity in the office, Wyman said, "I don’t sign petitions. As secretary of state, you have to be neutral publicly. The secretary of state has to be impartial, fair and follow the law."Hopefully, the 2012 gubernatorial election between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna won't follow a similar pattern as the 2004 results. If so, the integrity of the secretary of state's office could be tested again.