Elections

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!

Andrew Villeneuve

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