King County Senator Phil Fortunato announces bid for Secretary of State

Having served on committees and boards that provide oversight and policy changes on elections for nearly a decade, state Sen. Phil Fortunato is running to be Washington’s next election’s chief.

“The Secretary of State is the second most important elected position in Washington, and we simply cannot have one party controlling the entire process from registrations to election legislation, to counting the ballots,” said Fortunato.

While most people who talk about election security are focusing on counting ballots, Fortunato points out it all starts with the registration process. He has sponsored legislation to stress-test the state’s elections systems for vulnerabilities, in addition to a comprehensive bipartisan bill that would have made Washington’s elections more secure.

Fortunato argues that while focusing on testing ballot-counting machines and ensuring electronic security is currently being done, there are potential vulnerabilities in the registration process.

“While on the Election Administration and Certification Board I’ve been told how secure our registration process is. When I laid out problematic scenarios, I was assured that multiple or duplicate registrations would be caught,” Fortunato said.  “We hire hackers to test electronic security, but not the registration process.  The fact is that motor voter laws and documentation loopholes are serious vulnerabilities allowing non-citizens to register and duplicate registrations. To ensure the electorate that the entire process is secure, I say let’s test it.”

Fortunato also highlights lesser-known but just as important functions of the Sec. of State that impact election fairness. His opponent recently declined to take a position on upholding the bipartisan, constitutionally enacted maps in recent redistricting lawsuits.

“Since the Secretary of State took no position, the state Attorney General declined to represent the people in the courts, effectively leaving the defense of the constitution to progressive activists. This would not happen on my watch,” Fortunato said.

Fortunato is asking voters to consider,“With the legislature and all state executive offices being dominated by one party, there is no independent voice to push back on laws that may weaken or dilute their vote.”

He strongly opposes Democrat proposals for ranked choice voting or mandatory voting, which would fine voters who choose not to exercise their right to vote.  “The people of Washington must decide if they want to allow the foxes to guard the hen house or a watchdog,” added Fortunato.

About Phil Fortunato

Fortunato, an Auburn, King County resident, has served as the district’s senator since being appointed in 2017 after being elected to the state House in 2016. He previously served as a state Representative from 1998-2000. Fortunato’s work in Olympia has focused on increased government accountability, tax fairness, and protecting citizens’ rights.

Fortunato attended Rutgers University, Cook College of Agriculture. He is a small business owner, providing consulting and training on environmental regulation compliance. Married for over 40 years, Fortunato is a father of five, three of whom are decorated U.S. Marines. Phil is active in his church and community and supports philanthropic activities including housing low-income families, Knights of Columbus, Project Rachel, and domestic violence issues.