An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hobbs hits the road to teach about Washington's all-mail election system

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs
Courtesy of Washington Secretary of State's office
/
Steve Hobbs was selected last fall to replace Kim Wyman as Washington Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State balances his job with running for re-election.

Washington’s top elections supervisor says the state must do a better job teaching people about the election system.

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs was in the Spokane area Monday, trying to build confidence in a system that has taken a battering in the public arena.

Hobbs says Washington’s all-mail system is secure.

“You can actually go to the election center and witness the elections. You can actually witness people checking signatures. You can see them gathering the ballots. The entire process is very transparent and I don’t think we did a good job of telling the public that because we took elections for granted because they’re so smooth," he said.

Others believe Washington's election system is rife with problems and should be replaced by in-person voting at poll sites with ballots counted by hand. Hobbs says that would make ballot counting slow and inefficient.

He says his office is spending money allocated by the legislature to expand public education about elections. One of his targets is students.

“We’re thinking outside the box," he said. "Maybe a mobile game app for young people and they can learn about voting. Maybe they’re voting in a fantasy setting and maybe we throw some civics questions and there’s a leaderboard and they can all compare, say, look, I’m a 20th level citizen. You’re only an eighth level citizen," he said.

"I don’t know, but we’ve got to think of something better than what we’re doing now because we’re not doing much in terms of really educating these young people," he said.

Hobbs was appointed as Secretary of State last fall. He’s running for the right to serve the last two years of the current four-year term.