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Sec of State Kim Wyman: Never seen this level of vitriol in elections

An elections worker loads unopened ballots into a machine for sorting at the King County Elections headquarters on August 4, 2020. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Ballots have begun going out this week to registered voters in Washington state, and should begin arriving in mailboxes five to 10 days after they’re sent out from election offices.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman joined the Gee and Ursula Show on KIRO Radio to discuss the process, and how she’s never experienced such a contentious atmosphere.

“The 16th has traditionally always been the date. It is 18 days before Election Day, so nothing has changed. I just think the awareness of the election is much more apparent this year than it has been in past years,” she said.

Wyman says the state has years of vote-by-mail experience, and that county auditors and election officials work to make the process seamless and provide plenty of other options as well.

“The nice thing about Washington and having almost 10 years of vote-by-mail experience, our county auditors and election officials have been working really hard to provide voters with a lot of options. So if you are comfortable putting your ballot into a mailbox, make sure you get a postmark on or before Election Day and mail that ballot early to give your transit time a long time. But as long as you have that postmark, we can receive that up to 20 days after Election Day and still count it,” she said.

King County starts mailing out ballots: When you can expect yours

“And then if you don’t feel comfortable with that, there are over 500 ballot drop boxes located around the state that the counties are gonna monitor and they actually pick up regularly.”

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She has numerous concerns, mostly centered around COVID-19 and how heated the election has become, which can lead to disinformation.

“Counties have been trying to adapt to COVID-19 in making sure that people register or need replacement ballots. COVID-19 has certainly changed the way that counties are providing that in-person service because we still have voters that need replacement ballots or need to register in person. So they’re doing a lot more drive-up, curbside type of pickup,” she said.

“The biggest one (concern) is really misinformation and disinformation. I’ve done elections for a long time — this is my seventh presidential election — and I have never seen this level of vitriol. I have never experienced having someone in the White House be critical of administrative processes like the post office or election. So it’s really trying to get information to voters that’s accurate, really driving them to trusted sources like KIRO Radio, like the secretary of state’s office, like your county auditor election office page,” she said.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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