Statement from Secretary of State Steve Hobbs on 2024 candidate filings

OLYMPIA — Two of the three people who filed to run for governor under the name Bob Ferguson withdrew from the race before Monday’s deadline. Bob Ferguson, who is currently serving as the state’s attorney general, will remain on the ballot in position 11 of a field of 28 candidates.

Under Washington’s top-two primary system, each voter will get to choose from among the complete field on the ballot. Irrespective of political party, the two candidates with the largest vote totals for each position will appear on the November 5 General Election ballot.

Complete lists of filed and withdrawn candidates can be found through the website of the Office of the Secretary of State. As required by RCW 29A.36.010, candidate lists will be provided to county elections offices Tuesday, May 14. Ballot positions were assigned by random draw May 10, as required by RCW 29A.36.131.

The potential presence of multiple candidates with the same name on the ballot had required the Office of Secretary of State to follow procedures authorized by Washington Administrative Code 434-215-060 to mitigate voter confusion.

“Instances of people filing for office with names similar to well-known officeholders go back nearly a century in Washington and other states,” Secretary of State Steve Hobbs said. “That is nothing new. We know how to address such issues as elections officials.”

RCW 29A.84.320 makes it a felony to declare as a candidate for public office under the name of a fictitious person, a false name, or in using the name of an incumbent or candidate who has already filed “with intent to confuse and mislead” the voting public.

“Voters deserve good-faith candidates who are running on the strength of their ideas to make Washington a better place to live and work, not people who pay a filing fee just to manipulate elections,” Hobbs said. “Washington’s long history of free and fair elections must be protected and preserved in every year and campaign cycle.”

Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.