NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

NPI launches VoteMaintained.org, a resource for navigating “advisory votes”

Today, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute is pleased to announce the launch of VoteMaintained.org, a new web­site for vot­ers that pro­vides guid­ance on how to respond to statewide “advi­so­ry votes” … the three items (num­bered #36, #37, and #38) that every Wash­ing­ton vot­er will see at the top of this year’s ballot.

Each “advi­so­ry vote” con­cerns a bill that the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture passed ear­li­er this year that rais­es state rev­enue in some way.

“Advi­so­ry votes” are, in truth, a mis­nomer, because they were cre­at­ed to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion instead of mea­sur­ing it. Unlike real bal­lot mea­sures, the out­comes of “advi­so­ry votes” are com­plete­ly mean­ing­less. They can­not even be used by leg­is­la­tors to ascer­tain how the pub­lic feels about recent fis­cal deci­sions, because the ques­tions are loaded and sug­gest their own answer.

Con­trary to what The Seat­tle Times said in a recent edi­to­r­i­al, “advi­so­ry votes” can’t be used to “send a mes­sage” to the Leg­is­la­ture. That’s because you can’t find out what peo­ple real­ly think when you ask loaded questions.

Tim Eyman’s so-called ‘advi­so­ry votes’ are actu­al­ly anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da pieces that inter­rupt the act of vot­ing, there­by serv­ing as a form of vot­er sup­pres­sion. They’re con­fus­ing, cost­ly, and harm­ful to democracy.

We need to repeal them — and Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er thank­ful­ly has intro­duced a bill that would do just that. It’s await­ing floor action in the Senate.

For the time being, we urge Wash­ing­ton vot­ers to vote ‘Main­tained’ on this year’s crop of ‘advi­so­ry votes’ to deny Tim Eyman the lop­sided fake results he would like to have for his post-elec­tion email missives.

VoteMaintained.org con­tains a graph­i­cal depic­tion of how to vote on this year’s “advi­so­ry votes,” along with a brief explain­er fol­lowed by an extend­ed Q&A.

We delib­er­ate­ly chose to build a resource that explains how to vote on ‘advi­so­ry votes’ as opposed to mere­ly try­ing to explain what they are and how we end­ed up with them. Why? Because many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans lack time to research what’s on the bal­lot. They lead busy lives and they just want to know which oval to fill in to vote respon­si­bly so they can expe­di­tious­ly ful­fill their civic duty.

Oth­er vot­ers, mean­while, might have time to do research, but may sim­ply want reas­sur­ance that the con­clu­sion that they end up reach­ing is a good one.

This new, sim­ple one-page web­site will help on both counts. It con­tains a lot of use­ful infor­ma­tion that’s not in the voter’s pam­phlet because Tim Eyman did­n’t want it there when he mali­cious­ly con­ceived of ‘advi­so­ry votes.’ We’re real­ly hap­py to make this new resource avail­able today as vot­ers receive their ballots.

If you get ques­tions about “advi­so­ry votes” from friends or fam­i­ly, please make sure you let them know about VoteMaintained.org. Thanks, and hap­py voting!

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