Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Primary colors

Hans Dunshee is working on getting rid of dual ballots in primaries.
OLYMPIA – An estimated 10,000 citizens cast ballots in last year’s Snohomish County primary and saw their votes go uncounted because they didn’t pick which primary – Democrat or Republican.

“Many of those citizens voted straight Democrat or straight Republican,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish). “They just didn’t check the box. That’s why I helped write a law to fix this problem so we can count those votes. If a citizen takes the time to get informed about issues and go to the polls, it’s our job to make sure their voice is heard. Let’s count every vote.”

Snohomish County had some of the worst problems with voters not checking a box for which party primary they wanted to participate in, Dunshee says, and that’s because Snohomish chose a single, consolidated ballot. Other counties didn’t have the check-box problem because they gave multiple ballots to each voter and let them pick either the Republican, Democrat or independent version.

“I like the single ballot because it saves taxpayer money,” Dunshee said. “This reform gives us the best of both worlds, because now we still save money but we don’t leave uncounted ballots lying around because of this loophole.”
Clark County had the "check box" problem, too, and what you don't know is how many people simply refused to check it out of principle.

I know it seems odd to folks who moved here from party registration states, as I did 17 years ago, but Washingtonians pretty much see it as a birthright not to be forced to declare their party affiliation.

While the blanket primary seems dead and buried, there's no reason not to have separate ballots for each party. And they need to be different colors. I don't care what color the Democratic ballot is, but the Republican ballot must always be either pink or salmon, until they restore the "ic" in Democratic Party.

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