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Focus Area

Increase access to democracy

My mission is to see every eligible voter prepared and primed to vote in every election, from local School Board to President of the United States.

While Washington’s elections serve most voters extremely well, I remain concerned about citizens on the sidelines. As Secretary of State, I will continuously pursue ways to bring more people to participate. I will:

Create innovative, community-tailored voter engagement programs.

Make voting information more readily available through partnerships with employers.

Expand in-person voter services.

Increase language access.

Assist differently abled voters.

Support local election offices.

Create innovate, community-tailored voter engagement programs

Launch VOICE (Voter Outreach & Innovative Civic Engagement) funding to bring community together in the public interest. VOICE will be a grant program that stimulates innovative voter engagement designed by communities, tailored for local conditions, and based on evidence-based best practices. 

Administered by the Office of the Secretary of State, VOICE grants bring together county auditors, community leaders, and nonprofit impact advisors.  

State funds – combined with philanthropic contributions – will be pooled and allocated statewide to ensure transparent, nonpartisan, and equitable funding. 

VOICE will leverage the Secretary of State’s Charities Council – already filled with a dozen subject matter experts from around the state – to establish guidelines for the grant program, draw in philanthropists as well as nonprofit participants, and publish VOICE impact reports

Make voting information more readily available through partnerships with employers

I want to partner with employers to voluntarily provide their employees with information to empower them to vote. Many employers have employee newsletters, education opportunities, and engagement programs. By connecting them with easy, accurate, nonpartisan information we can bring more voters into the elections process.

As Secretary of State, I will:

  • Partner with employers to provide access to nonpartisan civic education.
  • Create a toolkit to make it easy for employers who wish to participate to do so.

Expand in-person voter services

With the technology and laws already in place, libraries or other public service offices can deliver voting services at places citizens already know and trust. 

As Pierce County Auditor, I contract with three library districts to provide first of its kind Points of Assistance centers by transforming 27 library branches into election center extensions on Election Day. 

Since its launch in August 2019, Pierce County elections has served 1,392 voters at public libraries, saving each voter an average of 14 miles by providing this alternative to driving into the Election Center. Same Day Registration and ballot replacements are provided, in addition to convenient election-day only temporary ballot drop boxes. 

As Secretary of State, I will:

  • Work with library districts, the state legislature, and county auditors to scale up in-person voter assistance with efficiency and transparency. At full capacity, Washington State could have voter services in as many as 300 public library branches, if libraries and counties are properly supported by an experienced Secretary of State.

Increase language access

As Pierce County’s Auditor, I’ve implemented language translation and interpretation for Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean residents, without being forced to do so by the federal Department of Justice.

We translate our local voter’s pamphlet, registration forms, and ballots for qualified citizens. We also provide on-demand video interpretation at our customer service counters to answer questions for customers who don’t speak English proficiently and need a little extra help. It’s crucial for people to understand legal documents and the oaths that they are signing. 

As Secretary of State, I will:

  • Create a statewide telephone translation service that all counties can utilize for their residents. In Pierce County Elections, each of the county’s top foreign languages are assigned an associated toll-free number. These language-specific numbers are advertised in our voter pamphlets, through community partners, and advertised on posters. Voters call the free number, are automatically greeted in their primary language, and are then transferred with the interpreter to the election center for help.
  • Provide video on-demand translation services—including American Sign Language—for walk-in customers. Compact, portable video units (mobile tablets) bring the best of technology to our fingertips efficiently and cost-effectively. Based on Pierce County’s successful model, this would help all 39 counties create welcoming and accessible offices.

Assist differently abled voters

Even in a vote-by-mail system, people with disabilities must overcome significant challenges if they wish to vote privately and independently. Because voters are differently abled, their needs are unique and varying. These variations mean that election accessibility is sometimes dismissed as a logistical and fiscal impossibility. 

As Secretary of State, I will work to reduce barriers and ensure differently abled voters have greater access and more encouragement. I’ll collaborate with the disability community, security experts, technologists, and election administrators to find ways to: 

  • Allow voters with disabilities alternative methods of returning their ballots to ensure everyone has equal access to their right to vote.
  • Outfit public library branches with adaptive peripherals on at least one public computer terminal. Voters who need to mark their ballot can do so without having to travel to a designated voting center to use specialized equipment.
  • Expand opportunities for plain language voter guides by working with counties to better understand the need and find community partners who can provide this alternative to the official voters’ guide.

Support local election offices

Across the state, a consistent level of service, security, and accuracy must be maintained. And yet, financial resources and community profiles vary greatly between counties. The Secretary of State must develop support strategies that promote uniformity while honoring local characteristics, communities, and leadership. 

As the former president of the Washington State Association of County Auditors, I’m passionate about supporting counties to help them deliver top-notch voter services and the highest election security, with sensitivity to the unique conditions on the ground. I know first-hand what it takes to manage elections. I also understand the impact to county auditors when the Office of the Secretary of State isn’t performing at 100%.  Poor communication, lack of coordination, or just simply failing to hear and understand county challenges can have a devastating effect.  

As Secretary of State, I will: 

  • Lobby Congress and the State Legislature to provide funding to help county auditors provide equal access to voters, while ensuring that each county maintains local control. This is particularly important for election equipment and system upgrades and replacements. Replacement cycles are speeding up and systems have become more expensive. 
  • Ensure consistent information to the public and the media across all 39 counties by implementing a coordinated, rapid-response communication plan. Very few counties have dedicated communication professionals. The Office of the Secretary of State needs to provide a collaborative “hub” for press releases, social media content, media availability, and a fact-checking database.
  • Expand networking and training opportunities for election professionals to stimulate new ideas and partnerships by creating a Western States Election Consortium, uniting states that have similar election laws and systems. Washington’s counties need a peer network of high-caliber professionals working in vote-by-mail / absentee systems. Western states are also more likely to have experience with ranked-choice voting, which is important as interest grows in Washington State.