Sunday, July 31, 2016
By Evan Smith
The local voters’ pamphlet that came in the mail was 112 pages long.
There’s little that King County elections officials could do about it. Lots of what makes the pamphlet so thick is out of county control because most of the pamphlet is made up of material from the secretary of state’s office. That includes many pages about candidates for U.S. Senate, the nine statewide offices and a place on the State Supreme Court.
It's particularly bad this year because we have 17 candidates for U.S. senator, 11 each for governor and 7th district congressional representative, and dozens more who want to replace retiring incumbents as lieutenant governor, state treasurer, state auditor, lands commissioner or state superintendent of public instruction.
A little material is countywide, but why do we get the material on ballot measures in Seattle and other places? And why the material on another congressional district and on legislative districts in other parts of the county?
The answer is that printing more editions of the local voters’ pamphlet would cost more than the county would save by mailing slightly smaller voters’ pamphlets.
So, for now voters need to figure out which is the right legislative district and congressional district.
Voters can avoid wasting time with the pamphlet two ways: compare their ballots to what’s in the pamphlet or check their personal voters’ guide online by going to the Secretary of State's website and entering their name and date of birth.
There’s good news and bad news for the general election. We'll have only two candidates for each office, but the pamphlet will add two State Supreme Court positions, some lower court positions, six statewide initiatives, one state constitutional amendment two state advisory votes and the Sound Transit III proposition.
Evan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.