Seattle's Free Weekly Newspaper Suggests Republican Party is no Longer Ballot-Qualified in Washington State

The Stranger, Seattle’s 21-year old free weekly newspaper, has this column suggesting that the Washington state Republican Party is no longer ballot-qualified. The column also points out that because no petition was submitted to place Mitt Romney’s name on the ballot by the July 28 deadline, the Republican Party is too late to qualify as a minor party.

The column quotes the Washington state law accurately, although not completely. The second, unquoted sentence in the definition of “political party” is, “A political party qualifying as a major political party under this section retains such status until the next even-year election at which a candidate of that party does not achieve at least 5% of the vote for one of the previously specified offices.” The Secretary of State will probably interpret this to mean that the Republican Party had no statewide candidate in 2010, and therefore it retains its status based on its 2008 vote for President. Of course, under that interpretation, a minor party that happened to have qualified for party status could retain that status indefinitely as long as it failed to run any more candidates in the future for any statewide office, so that is not really a reasonable interpretation.

Washington state elects all its statewide state offices in presidential years. The only statewide office that is ever up in midterm years is U.S. Senate, which comes up in two-thirds of the midterm years. The 2010 election did have a U.S. Senate election. Washington state parties don’t have nominees (because of the top-two system) except for President. One could even make a case that the Democratic Party also didn’t have a 2010 nominee for U.S. Senate. The Stranger column assumes the Democrats are not affected because at least the Democrats endorsed a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010 at their party meeting, whereas the Republicans didn’t.

The Secretary of State realized in 2009 that there is a problem, and asked the legislature to pass a bill, defining a qualified party as one that had polled 1% for President at the last presidential election. But that bill didn’t pass. Thanks to Sean Haugh for the link.

14 comments

  1. Washington should have just pulled an Oklahoma and everything would be fine.

    In Oklahoma, the Republican and Democratic parties are written into law as permanently recognized parties. They can never lose official party status as long as current law stands.

  2. To clarify, I think Oklahoma’s law is completely stupid and is a violation of the Oklahoma Constitution which states “All elections shall be free and equal.” The law as it stands does not treat all parties as equals.

    I am happy to see so many troubles plaguing the Republican and Democratic parties around the US.

  3. Richard Winger · · Reply

    Oklahoma law does not mention the Democratic or Republican Parties. The Oklahoma definition of a qualified party is one that polled 10% for the office at the top of the ticket in the last election. That means governor in the midterm years, and president in the presidential election years.

  4. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Obviously the gerrymander robot party hack MORONS in the WA Legislature did not look at the WA election law in connection with the top 2 primary stuff.

    i.e. esp the super-moron party hack officers in the Donkey/Elephant parties – and their MORON lawyers.

    Where is that Model Election Law ??? — esp for MORONS.

  5. sean haugh · · Reply

    Thanks to Sarah Ovenall for posting it on facebook, which is how I found out about it.

  6. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    What does it matter if the Republicans are not on the ballot? It’s a “safe” state for Obama anyway so using the usual logic about “if they can’t win who is really harmed?” balderdash this is no different than booting the Libertarians or the Greens. Get used to it GOP!

  7. Richard,

    This is the exact quote:

    “Recognized political parties shall include parties whose candidates’ names appeared on the General Election ballot in 1974, and those parties which shall be formed according to law.”

    The only two parties on the general ballot in 1974 were the Republican and Democratic parties. Neither party will lose party status if they fall below 10%.

  8. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    Richard, so will the Republican party not be on the ballot?

  9. IOKIYAR · · Reply

    Silly Rabbit, laws are for Democrats.

  10. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #7, you are right. Thank you very much. 1-108 has the 10% vote test, all by itself. But 1-107, as you say, says the Democratic and Republican Parties are on automatically forever and ever. I should have known this before and I thank you for increasing my knowledge.

  11. If anyone had checked, Katie Blinn, state co-director of elections and an attorney, says the two major parties still get automatic slots on the ballot for their tickets:

    “The Rs and Ds are major parties.

    The Legislature has not repealed the old RCWs that were put in place for the old pick-a-party primary system, so many of the old definitions are still on the books. All three levels of federal courts (District Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court) have commented at some point in the 8 year litigation over the Top Two Primary system that Initiative 872 impliedly repealed the old party nomination procedures for the pick-a-party primary. The upshot is that we have adapted many procedures for the Top Two Primary in WAC.

    WAC 434-208-130 define major and minor political parties. The relevant paragraphs of the WAC state:

    (1) For purposes of RCW 29A.04.086, “major political party” means a political party whose nominees for president and vice-president received at least five percent of the total votes cast for that office at the last preceding presidential election. A political party that qualifies as a major political party retains such status until the next presidential election at which the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of that party do not receive at least five percent of the votes cast.
    (2) For purposes of RCW 42.17A.005, the secretary of state recognizes as a minor political party a political party whose nominees for president and vice-president qualified to appear on the ballot in the last preceding presidential election according to the minor party nomination process provided in RCW 29A.20.111 through 29A.20.201. A political party that qualifies as a minor political party retains such status until certification of the next presidential election. This definition is for purposes of chapter 42.17A RCW only.

    Because the Republican and Democratic nominees for President and Vice-President both received at least 5% of the total votes cast for that office in the 2008 presidential election, those parties retains their status as major parties until the next presidential election at which their nominees do not receive at least 5% of the votes cast.”

  12. Demo Rep · · Reply

    # 11 How many ARMIES of New Age lawyers are now needed to decipher the EVIL ANTI-Democracy UNEQUAL ballot access laws in ALL of the EVIL rotted gerrymander regimes controlled by the EVIL gerrymander Donkeys/Elephants ???
    ———-
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. — to END the nonstop EVIL since 1776

  13. Richard: I think that way back when, in B.A.N., there was a mention of a state which had the Democratic and Republican parties specifically written into the law as being qualified permanently. Maybe it was North or South Dakota.

  14. clueless_idiots_in_wa · · Reply

    “A political party qualifying as a major political party under this section retains such status until the next even-year election at which a candidate of that party does not achieve at least five percent of the vote for one of the previously specified offices. If none of these offices appear on the ballot in an even-year general election, the major party retains its status as a major party through that election”

    The free weekly crack reporters forgot to include this part of the statute. They are either illiterate, liars, or the stupidest people in Seattle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: