Home General Both Minor Party Candidates for the Washington State Legislature Poll Approximately 25% of the Vote in Two-Candidate Races
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Both Minor Party Candidates for the Washington State Legislature Poll Approximately 25% of the Vote in Two-Candidate Races

Published on November 13, 2012, by in General.

In Washington state this year, no minor party or independent candidates appeared on the November ballot for Congress, and only two minor party candidates appeared on the November ballot for state legislature. Both minor party candidates only qualified for the November ballot because, in each case, only one major party member filed to run in the primary. When there is only one major party member running, that makes it possible for a minor party member to place second in the primary, and appear on the November ballot.

The Green Party entered such a race in the 40th district in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, and the Socialist Alternative Party entered such a race in the 43rd district in Seattle. Both polled surprisingly high percentages in November. The Socialist Alternative Party candidate, Kshama Sawant, polled 28.62% (although not all the votes have been counted yet); the Green Party member, Howard A. Pellett, polled 24.13%. Both were running against incumbent Democrats.

Sawant’s ballot label was “Socialist Altern.” Washington state won’t allow party labels longer than 15 characters. If she had been running in California, the law would have not permitted her to have that label on the ballot. Instead, her label would have been “no party preference.” Under California rules, the whole significance of a self-designated socialist winning as much support as she did would have been eviscerated. That is an example of why party labels on the ballot are so important.

3 Responses

  1. Be Rational

    The “top two” scheme is designed to end free elections in America. They do not want party labels on the ballot because “top two” creates a single, state-run and state controlled party.

    The plan is that after “top-two” spreads to most of the 50 states, the people will no longer have the ability to discern differences between the two candidates at all. The old major parties along with all minor parties will cease to exist replaced by a single party controlled by a single group. The primary in the one-party system will be dominated by insiders so that all other candidates are unable to get any traction. The insiders will chose both eventual nominees. Without money and with no chance at a general election audience, the people will be completely at the mercy of the cabal in charge.

    “Top-two” has already caused a decline in voter participation in CA in the general election in 2012.

    “Top-two” promises:

    * A single primary controlled by a single group of insiders.
    * Gradual increase in voter apathy and decline in participation levels.
    * A one-party state as in the old USSR.
    * The end of free elections in America.
    * Total state control and the end of Liberty in America.

  2. Demo Rep

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

    NO EVIL dangerous robot party hack caucuses, primaries and conventions.

  3. Jim Riley

    It was a misinterpretation of California law by Secretary of State Debra Bowen that prevented the use of the party preference that the candidate had designated on their voter registration. The change in the law that was passed at her urging violates the 1st Amendment and California Constitution.

    She is either incompetent or deliberately attempting to sabotage Top 2. She should be recalled.

    Were Kshama Sawant to move to California and registered to vote, she could indicate that her party preference was the Socialist Alternative. To do so, she would have to skip over the check box for “No Party Preference”, check “Other” and write in “Socialist Alternative”. She would sign the form, signifying that all information was truthful and correct, subject to charges of perjury.

    The county registrar would tabulate her registration as “Miscellaneous Other” and not as “No Party Preference”. If the Socialist Alternative Party attempts to qualify for the 2014 primary, her registration would be counted for the qualification.

    How could anyone, let alone the Secretary of State, claim that she has “No Party Preference”???

    California used to have partisan primaries to nominate candidates. In 2010 they extinguished this privilege, except for presidential primaries. Under the old regime if a voter was not affiliated with a party holding a nominating primary (e.g. in 2012 someone not affiliated with the Democratic, Republican, American Independent, Green, Libertarian, or Peace & Freedom parties) could choose to vote in the primary of a party that permitted them to do so (e.g. in the 2012 presidential primary the Democratic or American Independent parties).

    Since the Socialist Alternative Party (SAP) is not among that list of 6 parties, a voter affiliated with SAP would be permitted to request the ballot of the Democratic or American Independent parties, or accept the non-partisan ballot. This does not mean that voter has No Party Preference. It means that their preference is not for one of the 6 specific parties.

    California Elections Code 300.5 says “‘Affiliated with a political party’ as used in reference to a voter or to a candidate for a voter-nominated office means the party preference that the voter or candidate has disclosed on his or her affidavit of registration.”

    So if Kshwama Sawant moves to California, registers to vote, disclosing her preference for the Socialist Alternative Party, and became a candidate for a voter-nominated office, let’s say for the Assembly, she would be affiliated with the Socialist Alternative Party.

    It is insane that Debra Bowen insists that Sawant must have “No Party Preference” when state law explicitly recognizes her preference for the Socialist Alternative Party.

    Is the Libertarian Party holding a nominating primary in 2014? NO. What about the Democratic, Republican, American Independent, Green, or Peace & Freedom parties? NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO. So because Sawant is not affiliated with a party that is not holding a nominating primary.

    Now that the 9th Circuit has settled the Washington litigation, and the SCOTUS has chosen not to re-consider the case, the Washington Legislature should get to the business of fixing up the legislation that has gone undone for close to a decade now. They might consider increasing the length of party names on ballots. They might consider registering parties (similar to what is done in Canada). Secretary of State Sam Reed had suggested 100 members.

    And Washington should remove the language from its Constitution relating to filling vacancies, and go back to the original language that leaves the procedure in the hands of the legislature *** just as it is for the elections in the first place ***. With all-mail elections it is relatively easy to administer special elections. You don’t have to arrange for polling places or poll workers. The ballots are short, and they are sent to all voters, so they are unlikely to be totally unaware of the election.

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