From Glen Morgan at We the Governed, In this city council race – every politician is breaking the law.
In many cities and counties across Washington State, primary elections are in process as voters complete and mail in their ballots. In the City of Port Angeles there are two contested primary races for city council. However, in one of the council races, every politician running for office is breaking Washington State’s fair campaign practices act (RCW 42.17A). Some are not even trying to comply with the law. When every politician breaks the law, how can a voter decide which one is best to represent them?
Washington State’s all-mail in ballots were sent to every registered voter (in a jurisdiction with a contested race on the primary ballot) last week. The ballots are already trickling back into the 39 different county auditor’s ballot boxes around the state with the first scheduled announcement of election results 8pm on election night, Tuesday, August 6, 2019. Washington State law allows ballots which are postmarked before 6pm that day to count towards the final election results (as opposed to having the ballots in-hand by that date and time), so the final election results are not known in many close races often for several weeks as the later ballots trickle in from throughout the state, and sometimes local auditor offices (typically King County, but they are not alone) suddenly find “missing” ballots in car trunks and back rooms.
In the Northwest corner of Washington State, in Clallam County– the City of Port Angeles has two primary races for city council seats. A total of four seats are up for election in 2019 (out of a council of seven including the mayor). Of these, two races have more than two people who have filed to run, which is why Council position no.7 and position no. 5 are on the Primary election ballot.
These candidates need to file with their local county auditor in order to legally run for office, but they are also required by Washington State Law (RCW 42.17A) to register with the Public Disclosure Commission in order to ensure that their campaign contributions, expenditures, and other information about the candidates are open, transparent, and available to review for all voters, media, and interested citizens. Unfortunately for the voters in the City of Port Angeles, most of the politicians are running “stealth” campaigns, ignoring the law, and generally blundering through the process under the belief there are no consequences for violating the law...