Thursday, August 26

While We're Blog-Visiting Seattle...

Wake up, class! We have a new voting scandal erupting in the State of Washington!
"You have lost my primary vote," declared another voter, reacting, like the first, to Washington's new primary election system.

"I have never voted party line, and I'll not be strong-armed into party line now!" another wrote.

"We will NEVER vote again," vowed another.

The gusher of angry correspondence came from citizens upon whom it finally dawned that the state's popular, wide-open, 7-decade-old "blanket" primary is dead. The outpouring was triggered by the mass mailing of a state guide to the new primary, including a warning that cross-ballot votes will be invalidated.

No longer will voters be able to skip back and forth across the primary ballot, voting for a Democrat for one office, a Republican for another and a Libertarian for still another.

In the Sept. 14 primary, voters will have to choose a single party affiliation -- Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent -- and pick from among only that party's candidates.

The party choice will be confidential, and no party registration is required. But any vote outside the chosen party will be invalidated, and a failure to mark a party preference can invalidate the entire ballot.

At a Seattle news conference yesterday, [Secretary of State Sam] Reed, the state's chief elections officer, predicted that public anger over the new system will diminish voter turnout by 10 percent. For a presidential year primary, it typically is 41 percent to 45 percent of those registered.