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  [WA] Primary date might stay put
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ContributorRalphie 
Last EditedRalphie  Mar 08, 2005 10:17pm
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CategoryProposed Legislation
News DateWednesday, March 9, 2005 04:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe Legislature might not change the date of Washington’s primary election after all.

Although the state Senate on Monday was poised to pass a bill that would have moved up the election by one month – from September to August – Lt. Gov. Brad Owen ruled that changing the date would require a two-thirds “yes” vote by the Senate.

That threshold might be too steep. It’s tougher to get 33 votes than a simple majority of 25.

“It certainly makes it a lot harder,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed, who wants lawmakers to move up the date by at least one month.

He wants more time between the primary election and the November general election in case he needs to conduct a hand recount and to get general election ballots to Washington military voters who are stationed overseas.

Owen said the passage of Senate Bill 5219, which would move the primary from the third Tuesday in September to the third Tuesday in August, needs a two-thirds approval because of Initiative 872.

That ballot measure, approved last November, changed the state’s primary election so the top two vote-getters in partisan races will advance to the general election.

Owen ruled that because I-872 also restated that the primary is to be held in September, as it has been for decades, any change must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate.

The state constitution says the Legislature can’t make any changes to an initiative within the first two years after it becomes law without a super- majority vote in both the House and Senate.
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