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Primary kickback

Every state has its hard-to-explain peculiarities: “Why do they do it that way?” “uh … because there were never enough votes in the Legislature to change it, I guess …”

One of Washington’s has been the mid-September primary election date, which neverhad many defenders and might have been changes years ago except that there were always just enough people opposed to any single one of the realistic options. But no more. The Senate, which for long has kept status quo in this area, gave way today, and – starting next year, unfortunately not this one – the state’s voters will have a decent interval between primary and general.

Does that matter, you ask? Secretary of State Sam Reed said that “Moving the Primary from September to August is a win for the people and for democracy itself.”

That is because, as his office noted, “Under current law, election workers have less than three weeks after the State Primary is certified to hold recounts, address election contests, hire election board workers, test voting equipment, format and print ballots for the General Election, and finalize and mail Voters’ Pamphlets. Election workers have just four or five days between certification of the Primary and the date that military and overseas ballots must be mailed.” With resuls like those noted in 2004, when overseas military ballots arrived too late to be counted. Shouldn’t happen under this change.

The immediate celebration over this passage (still needs signature of the governor, but that is almost certain) is in state elections offices. Should extend much further.

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