Monday, November 29, 2021
Nov. 29, 2021

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In Our View: Wyman excellent choice for U.S. elections role

The Columbian
Published:

Kim Wyman’s appointment to a position of federal elections oversight is well-deserved. It is a triumph of dedication and competency over partisanship, and a sign that the Biden administration fully understands the threat posed by falsehoods about the 2020 election.

In nearly nine years as secretary of state — Washington’s top elections official — Wyman has become a nationally recognized expert on voting security. She has expanded voting accessibility in the state while maintaining high standards of integrity.

Now she has been tabbed by the administration as the election security lead for the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is responsible for safeguarding U.S. elections. CISA director Jen Easterly said: “Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our democracy; Kim and I share a common view that ensuring the security of our elections must be a nonpartisan effort.”

Notably, Wyman is a Republican being hired by a Democratic administration. That is a welcome development during hyperpartisan times; it also is a welcome development to see somebody whose experience and qualifications match the federal job for which she has been appointed.

Orthodoxy and partisanship too often are considered to be qualifications in Washington, D.C., and the Trump administration was particularly egregious in appointing acolytes regardless of their lack of capabilities.

Typically, an appointment to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would be a matter of interest mostly to D.C. insiders. But Wyman’s status as a Republican and her refutation of Donald Trump’s claims about election fraud have brought attention to her hiring.

In September, as Trump was making false claims weeks before the election, Wyman said: “If the president wants to rant and rave about how insecure vote-by-mail is or how our elections are going to be rigged, then I’m going to talk about the security measures that Washington state put in place. And I’m going to spend my time talking about the facts, and no, I’m not going to get mired down in some sort of political debate and posturing.”

Speaking to Washington members of the Electoral College before they cast their votes, she said: “While some people continue to question the outcome of this election, average citizens from all walks of life will step up today to exercise their responsibility to perform their constitutional duty to the best of their ability. This is an important ceremony. This is the American way of governance. This is democracy in action.”

Regardless of party, Wyman has consistently defended democracy; her integrity is evident in her status as the only statewide elected Republican on the West Coast.

In Washington, Republicans have held the secretary’s seat for more than 50 years. Gov. Jay Inslee will appoint a successor who will be on the ballot in 2022; an election for a full term will take place in 2024.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, a Republican, warrants consideration. On Tuesday, he told The Columbian he was not interested in the position, but he added: “If eventually I concluded I could best serve the state of Washington and Clark County as secretary of state, I would have to reconsider my position. You can’t absolutely say never, never, never.”

Partisanship should play no role in ensuring safe and secure elections. For more than eight years, Kim Wyman has embraced that philosophy in protecting Washington’s voting system.

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