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|Record Creator:||Secretary of State|
These records include oaths of office for elected officials taken from 1854-2013. These records were filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, which is constitutionally responsible to “Receive and file all the official bonds of officers required to be filed with the secretary of state” (RCW 43.07.030). Images of the majority of documents are available to view. This is an ongoing digitization project, and images will continue to be added.
About Oaths of Office
Before an elected official may assume office, the election results must be certified and the winner must swear to an oath or affirmation of office (RCW 29A.04.133). If a qualified candidate must also post a bond, it is not the responsibility of the County Auditor to verify that bond.
Who is Required to Take an Oath of Office?
Every person elected to an office in the State of Washington, including jurisdictions within counties, cities, and towns is required by state and federal constitutions to take an oath prior to serving in office. Depending upon the office and tradition, the oath may be attested to either verbally or in writing.
How Should an Oath be Administered to a Candidate?
RCW 29A.04.133 requires that the oath of office be administered and certified by any officer or notary public authorized to administer oaths, without charge.
Five positions are specifically qualified by statute to administer oaths:
Judges and Notary Publics RCW 5.28.010 County Auditors or Deputies RCW 36.22.030 Town Clerks RCW 35.27.220 School Officials RCW 28A.343.360
Article 1, Section 6 of the Washington State Constitution states, “The mode of administering an oath, or affirmation, shall be such as may be most consistent with and binding upon the conscience of the person to whom such an oath, or affirmation, may be administered.”
As long as the oath is regarded by the official qualifying for office as binding, the oath may be administered in any manner by a person of authority, including a seated officer of the same jurisdiction.
When Should an Oath of Office be Taken?
All officials must take an oath of office prior to commencing the duties of the office (RCW 29A.04.133).
The terms for Supreme Court justices, judges of the Court of Appeals, Superior Court judges, District Court judges, and state legislative offices all begin on the second Monday in January.
Traditionally, state legislative officers are administered an oath of office at the start of the legislative session.
The state executive officers assume office on the Wednesday after the second Monday in January. Statute specifically mandates the oath of office be administered at the capital by a State Supreme Court justice.
County, city, and town officials may take an oath either at the last regular meeting of the governing body for which they were elected or within 10 days before the term of office begins. January 1st is the beginning of terms for county officials, except for charter counties that specify otherwise. January 1st is also the beginning of terms for special purpose districts, with the exception of school district directors or districts where ownership of land is a prerequisite of voting (e.g. diking or flood control districts).
School district directors’ terms of office begin at the first official meeting of the board of directors after certification of the election results.
Unexpired terms and short terms also begin immediately after certification of the election. Officials elected to these offices must be administered an oath before assuming the duties of the office.
The records were digitized and indexed by the Washington State Archives.
|Related Records:||For more information or to learn about related records, contact the Washington State Archives at (360) 586-1492 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|
This chart provides information about regular terms and specifics regarding administration and retention of oaths for various offices. 0.9 MB
|Access Restriction Notes:||These records are open for research.
|Source of Transfer||State Government Archives
|Agency History:||The Office of the Secretary of State was established with the adoption of the Washington State Constitution in 1889. The Secretary of State is elected every four years and is second in the line of succession to the Office of the Governor. There are several programs and divisions under the Secretary of State's Office.|
|Preferred Citation:||Preferred Citation: [Identification of Item], Oaths of Office, 1854-2013, Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://digitalarchives.wa.gov, [date accessed].