Discuss: Should voters' pamphlets be available across the state?
If you use that handy voter's pamphlet that arrives in the mail, county yourself lucky. Most of Washington's counties can't afford one. In his Upfront program Sunday, KING-TV's Robert Mak talked about the issue with Clyde Ballard, former speaker of the state House, who lamented the lack of a voter's pamphlet in his rural community in the Wenatchee Valley.
Smaller, rural communities might have an advantage because voters are more likely to know, or know of, the candidates running for local office. But when it comes to statewide candidates, Ballard suggests it's harder for voters to evaluate candidates. Statewide candidates might come press the flesh at the county fair, or speak to the chamber luncheon, but they are not on the street corner, waving their signs.
Problem is that voter's pamphlets cost money.
In King County, the voters' pamphlet cost about $250,000 to produce. Iincidently that is not much more than the $180,000 to $200,000 it cost for the county to run the precinct committee officer elections for the private political parties, which is a Legislature-mandated gift of public money to the state's political parties.
Rural counties don't have the resources King County has. Strikes me that the Legislature should rethink its requirement that counties run PCO elections for the parties -- or at least require the parties to pay for them as school districts, cities and other municipal governments have to do.
The extra money could be put to methods to better inform voters, such as a voters' pamphlet.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics