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May 31, 2020

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Wyman asks Inslee to cancel April special elections

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OLYMPIA — Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has asked Gov. Jay Inslee to use his emergency authority to cancel the April 28 special elections in response to the coronavirus.

Those elections are scheduled to take place across 18 of Washington’s counties but don’t involve any candidates for office, according to a letter to the governor Tuesday by Wyman. Rather, they give voters choices on proposed bonds and levies.

While there is less contact in Washington’s vote-by-mail system compared with other states, she wrote, election planners worry there are too many questions about adequately administering an election.

“From courthouse closures, to workforce reductions of election staff, postal staff, or disruptions with vendors who support election operations, circumstances outside of our control could make it impossible for counties to meet statutory election requirements,” Wyman wrote. “These include mail processing, voter registration, canvassing results, and certifying an election.”

The elections could be rescheduled for the existing Aug. 4 primary or Nov. 3 general election, she wrote.

“To facilitate this election at this time would be uncertain at best,” Wyman wrote in the letter.

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