OLYMPIA – Our republic needs good participation in order to stay robust. Participation is the result of many factors – what’s on the ballot, ease of participating, and how transparent and accurate the elections are.
This year, the legislature is taking action on measures designed to ensure better participation through many pieces of legislation, including HB 2406, which will build better, more robust transparency and accountability measures into the existing process.
“The measure we’ve passed will establish Washington as a national leader in protecting the integrity and legitimacy of our elections,” said Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila), prime sponsor of the bill and chair of the House State Government, Elections, and Information Technology Committee. “HB 2406 will allow us to identify and address deficiencies in our elections systems, while ensuring people we have an accountable and transparent democratic process.”
- Outlines “best practices” for election audits, by requiring county auditors to audit election results using at least one of the approved methods.
- Requires vendors of voting systems to disclose security breaches in their systems.
- Requires the Secretary of State to investigate the cause of discrepancies found during audits.
- Authorizes the Secretary of State to decertify faulty or suspect systems.
- Requires that random check procedures include a process for expansion of an audit in cases where a discrepancy is found.
- Requires the Secretary of State to report on recommendations for adopting best practices and uniform procedures around random checks for ballot counting equipment.
A recent report from the Center for American Progress gives Washington a grade of “C” on election security. The study finds Washington’s post-election audits to be unsatisfactory. This bill directly addresses the shortcomings the study lays out.
“Due to recent national events, Americans have become justifiably concerned with the security of our election system,” said Hudgins. “This law encourages best practices for election security through auditing and/or emergency planning. These recommendations built off current practice by elections auditors, and are a result of many interim conversations with elections experts.”
The measure now awaits the governor’s signature.