Washington moves to ‘top two’ election system

Published on Thu, Aug 7, 2008 by Coral Garnick

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Washington moves to ‘top two’ election system

By Coral Garnick

August 19 is the day Washington State voters can mark on their calendars to vote in the upcoming primary election, albeit the rules have changed.

With the state’s new ‘top two’ system, citizens are able to pick a candidate regardless of his or her party affiliation, making it possible for two candidates who prefer the same party to win the primary and run against each other in the November general election.

Nine candidates are running against Governor Christine Gregoire: Dino Rossi (prefers G.O.P Party), Will Baker (prefers Reform Party), Duff Badgley (prefers Green Party), John W. Aiken, Jr. (prefers Republican Party), Christian Pierre Joubert (prefers Democratic Party), Christopher A. Tudor (no preference), Javier O. Lopez (prefers Republican Party), Mohammad Hassan Said (no preference) and James White (prefers Independent Party).

Four candidates are running for the U.S. Congressional District 2 Representative seat, Rick Bart (prefers Republican party), incumbent Rick Larsen (prefers Democratic Party), Doug Schaffer (prefers Democratic Party) and Glen S. Johnson (prefers Democratic Party).

For Washington State Legislative District 42 State Representative position one there are two candidates: incumbent Doug Ericksen (prefers Republican Party) and Mark Flanders (prefers Democratic Party). For position two there are also two candidates: incumbent Kelli Linville (prefers Democratic Party) and Jere Hawn (prefers Republican Party).

Even though there are only two candidates for each of these positions, whoever wins the primary will not automatically win the general election in November, winning the primary only determines who will be listed first on the general election ballot, said Whatcom County auditor Shirley Forslof.

This year Whatcom Superior Court Judge position three is up for re-election, with incumbent Chuck Snyder in a hot race against Douglas Shepherd. Unlike the representative positions, whoever wins the primary election will be elected to the position without going to the November general election.

Other positions on this year’s ballot are: Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Public Lands, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, Legislative District 39 state senator and state representative positions one and two, Legislative District 40 state senator and state representative positions one and two, and Supreme Court Justice positions three, four and seven.

To be counted, ballots must be postmarked on or before August 19. They can also be deposited in the curbside ballot drop box located at 311 Grand Avenue in Bellingham from now until 8 p.m., August 19.

Ballots were mailed out July 30, if you have not yet received one, contact the Whatcom County Elections Division at 360/676-6742 or TTY 360/738-4555, open Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For candidate biographies and statements as well as more information about Washington’s new Top 2 Primary look to the Voters’ Pamphlet, which can be picked up at the library, or go to www.vote.wa.gov.

On election day

There will be a drop box open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Blaine City Hall, Everson Fire Station, Ferndale Library, Kendall Fire Station and the Lynden Public Library.