Monday, August 11, 2008

Warning! The Primary Election is Tuesday, August 19! Repeat: Tuesday, August 19!!!

Washington's primary election date has changed. It's now August 19 and, sadly, most voters don't even realize there's a new date. Fortunately, the good folks at the Washington Bus have put together a fun video to help remind us:

video

Personally, I've always thought holding the primary in August, when people are on vacation and haven't really even started thinking about elections -- especially for down-ballot races -- was a bad idea. I'm afraid turn-out will be depressed and the results will be skewed by the small number of people who actually participate. I wonder how many ballots will be discarded because they are mailed in September.

Secretary of State Sam Reed is more optimistic, predicting the primary turn-out will "hit close to 46 percent." Sam is a good man, and I hope he's right. But if I was going to place a bet, I'd definitely take the "under." The primary election turn-out in 2004 was 45.1%, in 2000 it was 40.9%, and in 1996 it was 42.0%. And all of those elections were in September.

Of course, if in fact there is going to be mass confusion about the date of the primary, that only means it's all the more important for us to make sure we get our ballots in on time, and that our friends and coworkers do the same. -- Dennis

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