Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman debated her challenger at Spokane Falls Community College Wednesday afternoon. The first-term Republican faces Democrat and former Seattle City Councilmember Tina Podlodowski.
At the debate sponsored by the Association of Washington Business, Wyman said she supports an effort to expand voters’ rights through a legislative bill.
“Make no mistake: when I became secretary of state, I began working with Democrats and Republicans on language to make the bill workable for local jurisdictions and for county auditors’ offices and for my office,” Wyman said. “So I am for the Voting Rights Act and will continue to work for it.”
Podlodowski responded, “That’s absolutely not true.”
“In four years you did nothing to help support the Washington State Voting Rights Act,” she added. “You never sent anyone from your office to testify for it. You never worked with any of the state legislators who were working on the bill and you can shake your head, but that’s the truth.”
The state voting rights act would have let minority groups sue local governments when they are not represented in legislative bodies. Those lawsuits now happen through federal courts. The state bill stalled in the legislature four years in a row.
An independent nonpartisan poll this week by Stuart Elway shows Wyman leading Podlodowski. The Washington secretary of state’s office has been held by a Republican since 1964.