Here in Washington State, 2019 is supposed to be a local election year — a cycle when we focus on filling important offices close to home at the local level, like city council, port commission, school board, and even fire district or water district.
But it’s not going to feel much like a local election year when the time comes to open up that ballot and fill in all the ovals. That’s because — at least in King County, the state’s most populous subdivision — there won’t be a single local position on the front of the ballot. That’s right, not even one.
Why is there no room for local races on the front of the ballot in a local election year!? Because this November, there are fifteen statewide ballot measures, twelve of which are not really ballot measures at all, but rather push polls mandated by an old Tim Eyman initiative that hasn’t been fully struck down yet.
In addition to the unprecedented twelve push polls, there’s one Tim Eyman initiative (I‑976) plus a referendum to reinstate a Tim Eyman initiative (R‑88).
This is why we call this year’s ballot “the Eymallot” — because it might as well have been designed by Tim Eyman himself. Eyman has managed to do something unprecedented: turn the ballot itself into a mechanism for the distribution of pure propaganda. That’s what those push polls are: anti-tax propaganda.
The only item on the front of the ballot that is NOT Eyman related is Senate Joint Resolution 8200, a bipartisan, uncontroversial housekeeping amendment to the Washington State Constitution that would allow the state’s emergency powers to be invoked in the event of a “catastrophic incident” (like a devastating earthquake), as opposed to the more narrow scenario of an “enemy attack”.
Now, it’s one thing for you to read all of this. It’s another thing entirely for you to actually see this year’s ballot. Yesterday, King County Elections completed work on the design of the ballot, and they were kind enough to send over a sample of the design to us. Now I can show you what I’m talking about.
Behold, this year’s general election ballot… the Eymallot!
The staff at Elections told us that trying to make everything fit on a single piece of paper was extremely challenging and they had to consider going to two pages. Ultimately, everything was made to fit on just one page. The three binding statewide ballot measures, plus the Eyman push polls, take up the entire front of the ballot. As mentioned, there’s not a single local race on there.
Every local race has been relegated to the back of the ballot.
It’s just appalling.
Were it not for the twelve Eyman push polls, most of what is on the back of the ballot could fit on the front along with the three real statewide ballot measures.
It is worth mentioning that the Legislature had a chance to put the kibosh on all of these push polls earlier this year, thus averting this stupidity.
Led by Andy Billig, Manka Dhingra, Rebecca Saldana, and bill sponsor Patty Kuderer, the Senate voted to abolish them, but the House of Representatives failed to act because ex-Speaker Frank Chopp wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor.
However, all is not lost. The bill remains alive and it could pass next session… if Washingtonians rise up and insist that their elected representatives act to remove propaganda from the ballot. The House of Representatives will have a new Speaker, Laurie Jinkins, who will hopefully permit this bill to come to the floor for a vote so that it can be sent to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk.
If you agree that 2019 should be the last year that we ever have to suffer through having our ballot turned into an Eymallot, then please take action now. Follow this link to send a message to legislative leaders. Let them know that you want Senate Bill 5224 passed by both houses in the 2020 legislative session. Then, share the call to action with your friends. Together, we can abolish Tim Eyman’s push polls.