The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Election rule change yields single name primary ballot


When Wahkiakum County voters picked up their mail this week, they found mail-in ballots for this year's primary election.

The only race on the ballot was for county sheriff; the only name, unless one counts "Other," was for Mark Howie, who registered as a candidate in May.

The Associated Press reported July 17 that a rule change requiring counties to hold primary elections every time a partisan race is up for grabs could significantly increase the cost of elections for some Washington counties.

Wahkiakum County Auditor and Chief Elections Officer Diane Tischer said Tuesday that the state legislature could have changed the law in their past session but didn't get it done. She estimated the cost for Wahkiakum's primary election at $6,000, which isn't reimbursed by state funds.

The Wenatchee World reported July 17 that taxpayers in Chelan County will pay about $100,000 for the Aug. 6 primary election, even though the only race on the ballot is for county prosecutor and only one person is running for the position.

One side effect of the bill is that candidates can double their campaign fund raising.

Lori Anderson of the state Public Disclosure Commission says Legislative and some county-level candidates may collect up to $900 per donor for their campaigns every time their names appear on a ballot. Appearing on both a primary and general election ballot allows them to double that amount.


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