Washington Secretary of State Ignores Precedent, Steals Major Party Status From Libertarians

Hypocrite SOS Kim Wyman
SOS Kim Wyman

From a Dec 8 statement issued by the Libertarian Party of Washington:

Today the Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, and Governor Jay Inslee signed off and certified the 2016 General Election. 3,209,214 valid votes were cast for president; with 160,879 being cast directly for Governor Gary Johnson, good for 5.01% of the vote. This total officially makes the Libertarian Party of Washington a “Major Party”, entitled to all the benefits this will provide.

Ignoring 24 years of precedent, the Office of the Washington Secretary of State has decided that “write-in” ballots, regardless of who they are cast for, shall count towards the total valid votes in this election. This pushes total “valid” votes cast to the 3,317,019 mark, and drives the Johnson/Weld ticket to 4.85%. Despite previously set precedent, and a nearly 100 page document detailing what constitutes a vote in Washington State( https://goo.gl/wRWKF9), the state will not evaluate write-in ballots for their validity. This means that every vote for Harambe and Mickey Mouse will count against the Libertarian Party of Washington equivalent to a vote for a registered write-in campaign, of which there were 55 this year……

This is either a major failure on the part of the Secretary of State to recognize the ramifications of a procedural change, or direct subversive action to undermine the Libertarian Party of Washington’s standing in Washington State politics. This is an action that marginalizes and disenfranchises the efforts of more than 160,000 voters in Washington State, and an action that shall be heavily scrutinized.

The perception of impropriety on the part of Kim Wyman and the Secretary of State Elections office certainly necessitates further action. The Libertarian Party of Washington is currently consulting with legal counsel, and the Libertarian National Committee, to identify the most effective strategy that aligns with our state party goals and the principled positions of the national committee.

The Libertarian Party of Washington has clearly earned standing equal to that of the “Old” parties under the law in regards to party recognition, and the benefits inherent. It is incumbent upon the Washington Secretary of State to honor our inclusion as a major party, or discontinue the benefits extended to the Democrat and Republican parties.

Richard Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News wrote in a December 20 blog at his website:

The Washington Secretary of State has denied qualified status to the Libertarian Party on the grounds that Gary Johnson did not get as much as 5% of the vote, when write-ins for president are included. However, Johnson got 5.01% of the presidential vote if write-ins are not included. The official election returns on the Secretary of State’s web page does not include any write-ins.

Federal law, Title 3, section 6, requires states to tell the national archives the number of popular votes received by each candidates for presidential elector. Here is the Washington state certificate. It does not include any write-in votes. Therefore, by the state’s apparent own admission, there were no valid write-in votes. Washington state, which has a write-in filing procedure, does not require write-in presidential candidates to submit a list of presidential elector candidates, which means that presidential write-ins in the state are not valid.

“The state has admitted that the presidential write-ins are not valid, because if they were valid, the state had a duty to list them on its certificate,” said Winger. “Other states include write-in votes for president in their certificates.”