Time to Change Washington’s Law on Judicial Races

In an unusual quirk of Washington State law, most judicial candidates, including those for Washington State Supreme Court, win their election if they win the majority of the votes in the primary.

This means that at least two and maybe three of the Washington State Supreme Court races this year could be decided in the primary on Sept. 19th.

In his article in the Seattle PI yesterday even Seattle reporter Joel Connelly doesn’t convey clearly what is going to happen in the September 19, 2006 primary.

He says “Each race could be decided in the September primary, if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote.”

When there are only 2 candidates in 2 of the 3 races, it’s pretty hard to understand how one will not get a majority of the votes! At least two and maybe three of the State Supreme Court races will be decided in the primary.

The two races that definitely will be decided on Sept 19th are those between:

Chief Justice Gerry Alexander versus John Groen

Justice Tom Chambers versus Jeanette Burrage

Even Justice Susan Owen’s race could be over if the BIAW’s candidate, Steve Johnson, gets a majority vote because of Reed’s decision to label him as an attorney, state senator with no occupation behind Owens name on the ballot. Reed’s added identification is unfair to the other 3 candidates in this race who don’t get any additional description.

I did a post on this on Tuesday

Washington State law says that if a judicial candidate gets a majority vote in the primary, they win. The election is over. This is a bad law and needs to be changed because the primary vote is usually more conservative and a lot fewer voters vote. It is not as representative of the general voting population.

Next time you speak to your state legislators ask them to change the law so that judicial races are decided in the general election, not the primary.

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