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 new 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. “The situation is changing daily and the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic significantly inhibits our ability to conduct this special election to the standards we hold in Washington.”
In an email, Inslee spokeswoman Tara Lee said the governor’s office received the letter Tuesday and Chief of Staff David Postman spoke with Wyman.
But, “We haven’t had a chance to brief the governor on it yet,” Lee wrote.