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Wyman resigns to take federal job, prompting partisan anxiety

Kim Wyman, Washington’s Secretary of State, is resigning next month to take a job with the Joe Biden administration as the senior election security lead for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

Her resignation, effective Nov. 19, will mark the departure of the only Republican elected to a state office on the West Coast. Despite her party affiliation, even blue Washington voters have sent her back to Olympia as Secretary of State since 2013, where she has focused on improving voting access and rejected claims of voter fraud during the 2020 election made by former President Donald Trump. 

In a statement, Wyman said over the course of her 28-year career in elections, she’s worked to create a system where every eligible person in the state has an opportunity to register and vote. Over the past six years, her focus expanded to ensure elections were safe from foreign influence, she stated. 

During her tenure as a state and county elections administrator, vote-by-mail was expanded, nearly 500 ballot drop boxes were installed across the state, and same-day voter registration was implemented. She also oversaw the creation of VoteWA. 

““I am honored to be able to share nearly three decades of experience and expertise at the federal level to support CISA’s efforts to safeguard our election systems from cyberattacks and enhance the public’s confidence in our elections,” Wyman said in a statement. 

Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democrats, said in a statement that she wished Wyman the best in her new position. 

“While we haven’t always seen eye to eye, I have a lot of hope for her future work to defend our democracy from foreign interference and keep our elections free and fair,” Podlodowski wrote. 

In the coming weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee will appoint a new secretary of state to hold the position until the November 2022 general election. In her statement, Podlodowski wrote that she is worried about the Republican primary for the position, based on claims by some Republican politicians that called the integrity of the 2020 election into question. 

“I worry about how the Republican primary for this seat is going to go next year. We should all want a Secretary of State who will protect our right to vote and the integrity of and public trust in our elections,” Podlodowski wrote.

Political anxiety was bipartisan following Wyman’s resignation, as Caleb Heimlich, chair of the Washington State Republican Party, told Seattle Fox affiliate Q13

‘It is disappointing to have her leave, it’s disappointing for the people of Washington State who voted for her three times,” Heimlich said. “They voted for her because they trust her leadership, and I think now it’s incumbent on Gov. Jay Inslee to select somebody that is not an overt partisan.”

Inslee so far has not indicated who he will appoint as a replacement for Wyman after she departs following the Nov. 2 general election. In a statement, he congratulated her for the new role. 

“She is a great fit to lead these crucial efforts at the national level and I have no doubt that her expertise, energy and focus will lead to more secure elections and help restore faith in the democratic process,” Inslee wrote.

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