Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission Commits Blooper

O.K. Who polices the police and says that they have committed a violation?

On the lead in page of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission you will find the following item front and center in a box.  Can you tell me what is wrong with this page and how it is is a prime example of the ethics and elections “police” not being able to “police” themselves. I’ve copied the item in question because they will probably change this link by the time you see it.

August 16, 2011 Primary Election
November 8, 2011
General Election

Seattle voters will see a variety of local offices on
their ballots this year, and also some propositions, local and possibly state,
as well.

Seattle City Council Candidates

City Council Positions
on the ballot in the Primary:

Council Position 1 (Godden)
City Council Position 9 (Clark)

City Council Positions on the
ballot in the General:

City Council
Position 3 (Harrell)
City Council Position 5 (Rasmussen)
City Council Position 7 (Burgess)

if there are only one or two declared candidacies for a position there is no Primary. Information on all registered City Council campaigns can be found on our: 2011 Campaigns page

If you click on their link from this elections page to their link for the 2011 Campaigns page you will see the problem.

In an election is it proper to label Council Position 1 as the “Godden” seat on the first page even if she is the incumbent?  Jean Godden has 3 opponents and she has to run for election the same as they do. Are the others running of lesser distinction and not to be given equal exposure? Her opponents certainly wouldn’t think so.

The Ethics and Elections Committee has clearly erred and by doing so has given the incumbents special exposure not accorded to their challengers. That is an unfair advantage.

It has nothing to do with the incumbent’s record or credibility, it has to do with giving the incumbent unique exposure that is clearly an advantage.  Such exposure and labeling does not occur on the actual ballot so why is it happening here in of all place a web page of the commission charged with election ethics.

Likewise Position 3 identified with the label  (Harrell) for the incumbent Bruce Harrell, also has Brad Meacham also running for this position.

Position 5 identified with the label (Rasmussen) for the incumbent Tom Rasmussen, has Dale L Pusey also running for this seat.

Position 7 identified with (Burgess) for incumbent Tim Burgess, has David L Schraer also running.

And Position 9 identified with (Clark) for incumbent Sally Clark, has 2 others also running – Dian Ferguson and Fathi Kashie.

Incumbents have enough advantages in running for office.  The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission does need to contribute further to the disadvantages that challengers have in trying to get their names out there as candidates also running.

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