Kim Wyman best choice for secretary of state

When voters face an easy decision, usually it's because one of the candidates is sub-par.

That's not the case in the race between Kim Wyman and Kathleen Drew for secretary of state.

Drew is a capable administrator and no doubt has the skills to effectively run this important state office, but Wyman stands out as the clear choice.

Voters need a secretary of state who can instill confidence in the election process. Wyman is the woman for the job.

She's garnered support from an impressive number of the state's most distinguished public servants, including former U.S. Rep. Sid Morrison and former Gov. Dan Evans.

More significantly, she has earned the endorsements of the people who know the most about running clean elections in Washington state.

At the top of that list are two former secretaries of state -- Ralph Munro and Bruce Chapman -- and the office's current occupant, Sam Reed.

We're even more impressed by Wyman's support from the officials who are directly responsible for running Washington's elections -- the county auditors. She has the support of 34 current and former county auditors on both sides of the political aisle.

The list includes Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton, a Republican, and his predecessor, Zona Lenhart, a Democrat.

We like that Wyman's endorsements from organizations around the state show a similar bipartisan appeal. She has the support of the normally Democratic-leaning Washington Education Association and the vastly more conservative Association of Washington Business.

And to put a cap on an abundance of evidence proving Wyman's ability to attract support across party lines is the fact that the heavily Democratic voters in Thurston County consistently have supported her election to the county auditor's seat.

Wyman was re-elected to her fourth term in November 2010 with 66 percent of the vote. Before she was appointed to the position in 2001, she was Thurston County's elections manager for 10 years.

Her experience in running elections is another edge she holds over her opponent. Drew, a former state legislator from Issaquah, has no experience running an elections office.

The most important quality the secretary of state can bring to the job is trust. Washington weathered the controversy surrounding the astoundingly close 2004 governor's race largely because of Reed's reputation as an even-handed, nonpartisan advocate for the integrity of the election process.

Voters need to know the state's next top election official has the skills to do the job, and trust her to ensure the process continues to be fair and impartial.

Wyman has earned that trust during nearly two decades of election experience.

The Herald editorial board recommends Kim Wyman for secretary of state.