SPOKANE, Wash. — As we approach the mid-term elections, we’re doing all we can to get you the information you need to make informed decisions. Election security has been a source of contention in recent years, and now we’re hearing from candidates on their efforts to secure your ballot.
For the first time in 60 years, a Republican won’t take the seat of Washington’s Secretary of State. Democrat Steve Hobbs was appointed to fill a vacancy last year and hasn’t been elected to the seat. His opponent Julie Anderson, the Pierce County Auditor, is running as a non-partisan candidate.
Anderson has 12 years of experience and has walked through every aspect of the election.
“There are about between 100 to 200 discrete steps in running an election. Everything from the way you print ballots to how you test your machines and certify the election,” Anderson explained.
She recognizes cyber security is part of election security and says it takes people, places, and procedures that come with experience.
“We need to take, and I will take as a leader, the temperature down and get people out of their corners and focus on unity and what we can do together,” Anderson said.
She says false information is fueled by the political environment that we’re in.
Ballots are being prepared & they'll be shipped out on the 19th/20th.
“My biggest concerns are the hyperpolarization and partisan divides that we have in the county, state, community and around dinner tables,” Anderson told us.
Steve Hobbs, our current Secretary of State, says in the outgoing brief for the former Secretary of State, he was told of thousands of cyber attacks and 180 instances of misinformation in 2020.
“In my own personal experience in national security, I pulled back the budget she had submitted and resubmitted a budget that doubled the size of the cyber security provided support for our 39 counties and created a team that would combat misinformation and at the same time do more voter outreach and education,” Hobbs explained.
Meanwhile, he says, the tabulation machines cannot be hacked.
“Every signature is checked. People don’t know that,” Hobbs said.
He says you can go to your county auditor and see it for yourself.
“I think what we need to do is learn about our election system. Be proactive in defending our election system because it’s part of our democracy,” Hobbs added.
The ballots are being mailed out on the 19th and 20th and we’ll start receiving them by the 21st. They’ll need to be post-marked and mailed back by November 8th or put into one of 25 drop box locations by 8:00 PM on Election Day.