Special Washington lottery determines ballot positions

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ballot lottery
Photo courtesy Office of Secretary of State

By Evan Smith

Numbered markers came out of a machine in Olympia recently.

This lottery didn’t determine million-dollar winners, but it did determine candidate order for offices on the August 2 primary ballot.

When the first ball had the number “8,” Democrat Philip Cornell, who had been the eighth candidate to file for U.S. senator, got the first position among the 17 senate candidates on the primary ballot. That “8” also gave Democrat Brady Piñero Walkinshaw the top ballot position among 7th Congressional District candidates.

The draw determined position on the primary ballot for statewide offices and in any congressional or legislative district that crosses county lines.

The candidates appear in the same order in King County’s local voters’ pamphlet and in the state on-line voters’ guide.

The four candidates for one of the state-representative positions in the 32nd District will appear in this order: Kagi, Schirle, Hart, Irwin.

Ballot order in the November general election will follow the order of the number of votes in the primary.

Each county can choose its own form of lot draw or follow the state draw.

Snohomish County, for example, draws letters to form a special alphabet for in-county elections.

The 2016 Snohomish County elections alphabet is B-X-E-I-Y-L-P-K-V-G-Z-S-U-R-T-D-F-W-N-C-M-O-Q-H-J-A, meaning that a candidate named Aaron would be at the end of the ballot.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.


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