Julie Wise’s description of her education is a concern, but she’s still the better choice for director of King County elections.

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THE King County Elections office needs a seasoned, nonpartisan administrator to oversee clean vote counts and avoid the drama that has previously engulfed the office.

For those reasons, The Seattle Times editorial board recommended Julie Wise, the current deputy elections director, for the elected office in the August primary. We stick with that recommendation in the November general election, with some concerns.

The Times recommends:


Julie Wise

Julie Wise

King County director of elections

Strengths: 13 years’ experience at the elections department; a seasoned, nonpartisan technocrat

Wise lays out a solid agenda for the future, including processing ballots, smarter placement of ballot drop boxes countywide and translating ballots into more languages. Importantly, she is endorsed by the retiring elections chief, Sherril Huff, who has quietly restored the department’s reputation. ..."

Read all editorial recommendations —>

Wise lays out a compelling agenda to continue the work of the departing election director Sherril Huff’s work, who restored credibility to the office after a disastrous 2004 cycle. Huff supports Wise’s candidacy — as do Secretary of State Kim Wyman and her predecessor Sam Reed.

But Wise’s description of her educational background in the King County voters’ pamphlet is misleading. She lists the University of Washington Evans School and Harvard Kennedy School in the brief summary line, from which a reader could infer she graduated with a degree from both. She did not.

After graduating from Green River Community College with a two-year degree, she presented one year as an undergraduate at the University of Washington in 2002-03 without graduating. While she attended a one-week executive leadership course at Harvard in February, 2014, she did not get a degree.

Wise said she regrets the description of her education, and said she “would never intentionally mislead” voters.

Despite these mistakes, Wise still knows elections. She spent 13 years in the elections office, and has the training to be a competent elections director. She also lacks the partisan affiliation of her opponent, state Democratic Rep. Zack Hudgins.