Election integrity and broad voter participation are essential to a robust democracy. King County Elections Director Julie Wise understands the value of both. She has earned a second term.
Wise is a seasoned veteran with nearly two decades’ experience in nearly every aspect of King County elections. She is an avowed nonpartisan with a palpable passion for her work. A staunch advocate for voter engagement, she has expanded voter outreach efforts, including establishing a government-philanthropic partnership with community organizations to engage with communities that have historically had low voter turnout.
Under her watch, the elections office has focused on removing barriers for voters, increasing the number of ballot drop-boxes from 10 to nearly 70 and offering ballots with prepaid postage. The latter effort was made before the state Legislature embraced the idea for the whole state. Her office also has made voting materials available in a greater number of languages to better serve our diverse community.
At the same time, she has worked to ensure the integrity and security of back-end systems, working with Department of Homeland Security and the Washington State Auditor on physical and cybersecurity reviews to make sure only eligible voters cast a ballot and that every ballot counts.
She was straightforward about her concerns with this year’s rollout of VoteWa but balanced that candor with reassurance by implementing robust backup plans for the primary election. Her commitment to transparency and openness helped build and maintain trust in the electoral process, even as staff worked to resolve issues behind the scenes.
Earned public confidence in election integrity is a resource that must not be squandered. That is particularly important during this politically difficult moment of bitter partisanship and heightened awareness of foreign agents’ attempts to interfere with recent national elections.
Wise’s dual commitment to philosophical principles of open democracy and scrupulous attention to the nuts and bolts of managing complex elections make her particularly well suited to the job.