Jan. 29, 2014- Our View

Election bill may save tax money

When the Legislature meets, all too often lawmakers pass bills that cost taxpayers money.

This year, though, 12th Legislative District Rep. Brad Hawkins has introduced a bill that could save tax dollars. And believe it or not the Republican from East Wenatchee has bi-partisan support.

On Monday, the state House of Representatives passed his bill alleviating the need for a special election if only one candidate files to fill an unexpired term for a partisan county office.

House Bill 2106 passed 86-10 and is headed for the Senate.

“This bill is much needed for many counties, because according to current law, primaries are required for all partisan county offices,” Hawkins said on the House floor. “This bill will prevent what happened last August in Chelan County, where a primary election was held when only one person’s name was printed on the entire ballot.”

If approved by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill has the potential of saving taxpayers thousands of dollars for unnecessary county elections. The staff time and money for printing and mailing of ballots in this instance can be spent better elsewhere.

The bill will particularly alleviate costs for filling the unexpired terms of positions like prosecuting attorney, county clerk, assessor, coroner and others.

It doesn’t make sense to have a special election for an unexpired term when only one name appears on the ballot.

Hawkins pre-filed the bill in December to ensure it had a chance to pass in this year’s abbreviated 60-day session.

“I look forward to this bill being heard in the Senate so it can be passed in that chamber and be signed into law,” Hawkins said.

So do we.

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