Certification and Training

ABOUT CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM

The Certification and Training Program was created in 1992 in response to a very close legislative district race. The recount in the race revealed inconsistencies and errors that pointed out the critical need for standardization and uniformity in all aspects of the election process.

In addition, the legislation that created the Program also provided for the Election Administration and Certification Board. The Board is made up of representatives from the county auditors, the state legislature, the major political parties and the Office of the Secretary of State, and plays an important role in establishing policy for the Program through joint adoption (with the Secretary of State) of administrative rules. The minutes of the Board are available under the Open Public Meetings Act.

The major responsibilities of the Certification and Training Program include the certification of election administrators, training of election administrators, conducting regular and special reviews of counties elections procedures, providing elections assistance, and publication of a Clearinghouse Program.

CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION ADMINISTRATORS

Each county is required to have at least two Certified Election Administrators on staff. In order to be initially certified, staff must attend a two day orientation class and pass a written exam. Election Administrators must have 40 hours of additional education and must have two years of service in an elections office during the three year period immediately prior to the request for initial certification. Assistant Election Administrators need 20 hours of additional education and must be employed for one year.

Once certified, Elections Administrators must maintain their certification with 18 hours of continuing education each year. For Assistant Election Administrators, only 6 hours of continuing education is required.

TRAINING OF ELECTION ADMINISTRATORS

The Certification and Training Program provides essential training opportunities to Election Administrators in regional areas of the state. The Orientation Class, that is required before an Election Administrator may become certified, is generally held twice per year. Additional training hours are offered throughout the year in areas that will improve our state’s elections. A list of recent applicable training presentations is provided.

REVIEW PROCESS

A review of county election procedures may be completed at the request of a County Auditor, the Secretary of State, or when a recount is required for a statewide or legislative race. The review may be a full review which covers all aspects of election administration in a county or it may be a partial review. A full review is performed during the administration of an election to allow observation of election procedures. Legislation passed in 2009 requires each county be reviewed once every five years. In addition, the legislation added a requirement that the program follow-up within a year after the review to verify the county has taken steps to correct the issues noted in the review report. The Secretary of State's Certification and Training program bases the current year's review schedule upon the date of the last review and review staff availability.

In the case of a recount, a special review is conducted covering only the areas which would affect the outcome of a potential recount. The Program may prioritize counties based on the date and results of the last review, any requests from county auditors, any written complaints filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, any negative media stories or reports, and the date on which the determination is made that a special review is required.

ELECTIONS ASSISTANCE AND CLEARINGHOUSE PROGRAM

The Certification and Training Program provides election assistance to all 39 counties in the state. They produce and distribute Election Clearinghouse notices and Advisories, newsletters, publishable documents and articles, and other pertinent election information.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM

Sheryl Moss, Program Manager
Phone: 360.902.4146
Email: sheryl.moss@sos.wa.gov
Miriam Campbell
Phone: 360.902.4165
Email: miriam.campbell@sos.wa.gov
Libby Nieland
Phone: 360.725.5770
Email: libby.nieland@sos.wa.gov
Kay Ramsay
Phone: 360.725.5785
Email: kay.ramsay@sos.wa.gov
Joe MacLean
Phone: 360.902.4159
Email: joe.maclean@sos.wa.gov