One of the problems contributing to the disgraceful outcome in the Danielson-Gonzalez supreme court race is the lack of a statewide voters' pamphlet.
Only four counties—King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap—printed their own primary pamphlet covering statewide races this year. Danielson lost in all of them, but he's winning in 30 other counties that didn't step in and use their own funds to make up for the state's lack of a voters' guide.
David Ammons, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed, says giving up on printing a statewide guide saved budget writers in Olympia $1.3 million this year. He adds that Washington has only mailed a primary election voters pamphlet twice in the last 40 years—even though supreme court races, due to their unique rules, are frequently decided in primary elections.
"Going forward, the Legislature may decide that it’s important to permanently fund a primary pamphlet every even-numbered year," Ammons says.
Hope so. Will his boss push for that given the Danielson-Gonzalez results?
"Sam continues to support a firm state commitment to do primary voters’ pamphlets," Ammons says, "and hopes lawmakers will make it a regular feature of the state’s voter education and information, rather than reacting to requests at budget-writing time when there are always a huge number of competing requests for money."
We are a little surprised that the turnout apparently is not as robust as we predicted.
We are looking at perhaps 40 percent after all of the ballots are in and counted, which would be lower than the historic average of 43 percent for presidential year state primaries. It was 42.6 percent in the watershed year of 2008.
We fully expected that public interest in campaigns and elections, including the White House, fall ballot measures, and a number of wide-open and competitive offices, would translate into a better-than-average turnout. We still predict a huge turnout for the General Election, but are disappointed that more voters didn’t take part in the first important step, collectively picking our finalists for each office and, in some cases, making final decisions for some of our judges and our state school superintendent.