OLYMPIA...Washington ranks second among states in the U.S. for election administration performance in 2010, according to a new national study released Tuesday.
The Pew Charitable Trusts unveiled an Elections Performance Index that examines election administration performance across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who was a member of the Pew project's advisory committee in 2011, was pleased that Washington rated so high in the study.
"It's great news that Washington is one of the very top states when it comes to the accessibility and integrity of elections and voter registration," Wyman said. "I appreciate the hard work put into the index and how it provides an objective set of measurements to look at how we and other states are conducting elections."
Wyman, who served as Thurston County Auditor for 12 years before being elected Secretary of State last November, said the study reflects the great strides taken by Washington and its counties to reach and maintain high standards in administering elections.
"Elections matter very much. They allow voters to have their voices heard and decide how we are governed. It's crucial that we run elections well to earn and keep voters' trust. This study shows we are on the right track, and we will continue to improve," Wyman added.
Using data from 17 key indicators, the index compares election administration policy and performance across the states and from one election cycle to the next. The index is based on the 2008 and 2010 elections and will be updated once 2012 data is available late this year.
The 17 measurable indicators are: absentee ballots rejected, absentee ballots unreturned, data completeness, disability- or illness-related voting problems, military and overseas ballots rejected, military and overseas ballots unreturned, online registration available, post-election audit required, provisional ballots cast, provisional ballots rejected, registration or absentee ballot problems, registrations rejected, turnout, voter registration rate, voting information look-up tools, voting technology accuracy and voting wait time.
According to Pew, the Elections Performance Index is the first objective measure created to comprehensively assess how election administration functions in each state.
The Pew Elections Initiatives Program has spent the past few years working with state and local elections officials, academics and performance measurement experts to put together a performance index for elections. Pew collected the data from U.S. Election Assistance Commission surveys, census data, and various Pew studies.
For more information about the index, contact State Elections Director Lori Augino at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 725-5771, or Assistant Elections Director Shane Hamlin at email@example.com or (360) 725-5781.