Study: Washington election system is No. 2 in United States

February 8, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 8, 2013

Washington ranked No. 2 among states for election administration performance in 2010, according to a national study.

In the Elections Performance Index unveiled by the Pew Charitable Trusts on Tuesday, Washington ranked near the top after researchers examined election administration performance across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

“It’s great news that Washington is one of the very top states when it comes to the accessibility and integrity of elections and voter registration,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Washington’s top elections official, said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work put into the index and how it provides an objective set of measurements to look at how we and other states are conducting elections.”

Other top-performing states include Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

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Celebration launches book about late U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn

January 11, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 11, 2013

Leaders plan to gather in Newcastle on Saturday to honor the late Jennifer Dunn, a long-serving representative in Congress for Issaquah and other Eastside communities.

The occasion is the release of “A Woman First: The Impact of Jennifer Dunn” — a book about the trailblazing Republican’s career, life and legacy.

“Jennifer Dunn was a true trailblazer in Washington politics,” Secretary of State Sam Reed said in a statement. “Whether it was becoming Washington’s first female Republican Party chair or attaining a high leadership position in Congress, she reached impressive heights during her career.”

The book launch event is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Jan. 13 at The Golf Club at Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Lane. The scheduled speakers include Reed, former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, and radio talk show host and onetime gubernatorial candidate John Carlson.

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Student video contest promotes libraries, reading

December 18, 2012

Students can encourage others to read by participating in the 2013 Teen Video Challenge, a competition to encourage teenagers to use public libraries’ summer reading programs.

The project, sponsored by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, encourages youths to create a 30- to 90-second video interpreting the theme “Beneath the Surface” to promote reading and libraries.

State Librarian Rand Simmons said the contest presents a chance for budding filmmakers to showcase creativity and have their work viewed by a national audience.

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Electoral College casts Washington’s 12 votes for president, vice president

December 17, 2012

NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012

Washington’s Electoral College cast the state’s 12 votes for president and vice president Monday for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Each state is afforded the same number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives a state has in Congress. Washington possesses 12 electoral votes, one from each congressional district and two at-large electors. Democrats chose the electors from the state’s 10 congressional districts at caucuses in May, and chose the at-large electors at the state Democratic Party convention in June.

Obama and Biden received 56.16 percent of votes in Washington. Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan pulled in 41.29 percent statewide.

The dozen Electoral College members voted in the State Reception Room at the Legislative Building in Olympia.

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Rush for same-sex weddings sets marriage license record

December 11, 2012

Dow Constantine

In a milestone just after midnight Dec. 6, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

The county issued a record 623 marriage licenses between midnight Dec. 6 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The initial day set a record at 489.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office.

“Tonight you are making history,” he said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators, but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: that all are created equal.”

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Holiday donors can avoid charity scams

December 11, 2012

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware of holiday charity scams, and unveiled a report to help residents donate wisely.

Throughout 2012, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 46 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 56 percent in the 2011 report and a major drop from the 77 percent in the 2010 report. Read the most recent report on the Office of the Secretary of State’s website at http://1.usa.gov/TgnGu0.

The report is updated on a weekly basis. Consumers can also run reports in real time and receive current registration information on commercial fundraisers.

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Washington’s presidential electors to cast votes for Barack Obama, Joe Biden

December 9, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 9, 2012

Washington’s Electoral College members plan to cast votes Dec. 17 for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Each state is afforded the same number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives a state has in Congress. Washington possesses 12 electoral votes, one for each congressional district and another two for each senator. Democrats chose the electors from the state’s 10 congressional districts at caucuses in May, and chose the at-large electors at the state Democratic Party convention in June.

The group plans to gather in Olympia to cast votes for Obama and Biden. The incumbents received 56.16 percent of votes in Washington. Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan pulled in 41.29 percent statewide.

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King County issues marriage licenses to more than 300 same-sex couples

December 6, 2012

NEW — 9:05 a.m. Dec. 6, 2012

In a milestone just after midnight Thursday, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office. The county issued 345 marriage licenses by 9 a.m. — a record for the number of licenses issued in a single day.

“Tonight you are making history,” Constantine said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: That all are created equal.”

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King County matches turnout record in election

December 4, 2012

King County matched the record for voter turnout in a presidential election, and achieved other milestones in the Nov. 6 contest, officials announced late Nov. 27 after certifying the results.

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Report offers tips for donors to avoid holiday charity scams

December 3, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 3, 2012

Secretary of State Sam Reed and state Attorney General Rob McKenna urged consumers to beware holiday charity scams Wednesday, and unveiled a report to help residents donate wisely.

Throughout 2012, charities using commercial fundraisers in Washington received 46 percent of total donations raised by the fundraisers — lower than the 56 percent in the 2011 report and a major drop from the  77 percent in the 2010 report.

But the percentage individual fundraisers retained varied. Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining funds to charity. Other fundraisers’ fees and expenses exceeded the amount raised.

The report, compiled by the Charities Program in Reed’s office and released Nov. 29, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers soliciting or collecting donations on behalf of charity clients.

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