“The greatest threat to our elections system is partisanship.” That was a key message voiced by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman during recent testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives committee.

The Feb. 14 hearing was part of the House’s consideration of H.R. 1, a bill proposing a number of government restructuring measures including changes to how election security is administered.

“I encourage you not to limit states’ authority; rather, empower them to improve election administration,” Wyman told the Committee on House Administration. “The greatest threat to our elections system is partisanship. The lasting solutions to removing barriers in elections have come from bipartisan efforts that balance access and security in our processes. HR 1 is a good place to start.”

In her prepared remarks, Wyman noted that Washington currently meets most of the election requirements proposed in HR 1; however, she expressed concern with the election sections of HR 1.

“While Democratic, Republican, and nonpartisan election officials across the country share the goal of making elections more accessible and secure, HR 1 could hinder the progress that Washington and other states have achieved, now and for decades to come, Wyman stated.

“HR 1 would enact prescriptive and specific federal regulations on election administration by mandating and essentially freezing these 2019 policies and procedures in place. It will dramatically increase the cost of conducting elections, and simply repeat history.”

As Wyman outlined in her testimony, Washington currently meets most of the election requirements proposed in HR 1. For instance, Washington state:

  • Conducts all elections by mail with an 18-day voting period;
  • Allows voters to cast a provisional ballot any where in the state;
  • Convenes an independent Redistricting Commission;
  • Passed a state Motor Voter law three years before the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) was signed by President Clinton;
  • Is the second state in the country to provide online voter registration;
  • Uses voter-verified, permanent paper ballots in all elections;
  • Has mandatory pre- and post-election audits and recounts;
  • And is implementing risk-limiting audits, automatic voter registration, the Future Voter pre-registration program, and election day registration for the 2019 elections.

“My state and local election colleagues and I want to work with you to make HR 1 bipartisan legislation that improves elections for everyone,” Wyman said as she wrapped up her remarks.

Wyman’s full testimony at the committee’s “Our American Democracy” hearing can be viewed on the committee’s YouTube channel, and her prepared remarks can be read here.