By Lynnwood Times Staff
In a July 13 press release, the Washington Office of the Secretary of State issued the following response to gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp’s omitted candidate statement from the online voters’ guide.
“On May 24, gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp’s campaign manager Christopher Gergen submitted via email a candidate statement to the Office of the Secretary of State’s Elections division. In the email we received, Mr. Gergen claimed he had submitted a candidate statement to our office on two prior occasions – May 20 and May 22. After conducting a thorough search of our email accounts within the Elections Division and the Secretary of State’s Office – as well as the online portal through which candidates were encouraged to submit statements – we did not find previous communications from the Culp campaign that included a candidate statement.
“Culp’s candidate statement was not omitted from any materials produced by the Office of the Secretary of State. The Office does not create a statewide voters’ pamphlet for state primaries; however, the Office does produce an online voters’ guide that contains all candidate statements submitted to the Office. Candidate statements are posted exactly as submitted. The Office of the Secretary of State does not make corrections of any kind or verify statements for truth or fact.”
According to the July 13 press release, County election offices may print and distribute their own local voters’ pamphlets. Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties printed and distributed voters’ pamphlets for the upcoming general election, all of which included the same statements as submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office for the primary election.
“On June 10, Elections Division staff confirmed the candidate statement with Culp’s campaign, and explained the submission did not include biographical information and that all the information contained in the submission as written would appear in the ‘Statement’ section of the candidate statement. On this date, we also asked Mr. Gergen to resend the original emails from May 20 and 22 the campaign alleged it submitted to our office.
“On June 15, we asked Mr. Gergen a second time for the emails he referenced. In total, our office sent the Culp campaign five email notices and reminders, including a June 19 email that allowed candidates to preview their statements and notify our office of any errors. The Culp campaign did not resend the two prior emails we requested; nor did it respond to the June 19 email.”
On August 25, the Culp campaign released an official statement citing internal server issues contributed to the omission of a voter’s statement. Below is the official response by the Culp campaign regarding the voter pamphlet:
“After a thorough internal review of our digital records and our email logs we became aware that the emails sent to the Secretary of State’s office prior to the submission deadline along with several other correspondence to other individuals did not leave our email client and were stuck in our email outbox due to connectivity issues. At no time did the Secretary of State’s office commit any error on their end regarding the voter pamphlet. The campaign takes full responsibility for the error and the cause of the internal error has been identified and corrected. We appreciate the candid conversations with the Secretary of State regarding this matter and wish her well in her upcoming reelection campaign.”
Below is an official copy of the correct voter pamphlet statement released by the Culp campaign on its Facebook page:
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.