Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.
Purpose: The purpose of these rules is to implement Initiative 872 for partisan public offices, and to administer political party precinct committee officer elections, for the 2008 primary and general elections.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 29A.04.611.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: On March 18, 2008, the United States Supreme Court issued Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, et al. 552 U.S. __, 128 S. Ct. 1184, 170 L. Ed. 2d 151 (2008). In this opinion, the court reversed a Ninth Circuit opinion that had declared Washington's top two primary system unconstitutional. The impact of this ruling is that the primary system enacted by Initiative 872 (chapter 2, Laws of 2005) is now in effect. This change in primary election systems necessitates changes in the administrative rules relating to the format of ballots, and administration of political party precinct committee officer elections. The regular candidate filing period ends June 6, 2008. Ballots will be formatted and sent to print in June. There is insufficient time to adopt these rules through the standard rule-making process.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 3, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: May 27, 2008.
Assistant Secretary of State
WAC 434-230-036 Office format for partisan offices. The description "partisan office" must be printed either for each partisan office or as a heading above a group of partisan offices.
WAC 434-230-100 Political party precinct committee officer. (1) In even-numbered years, the election for the position of political party precinct committee officer must be held on the third Tuesday of August.
(2) Unlike candidates for public partisan office, candidates for precinct committee officer file and appear on the ballot as members of a major political party. The election of precinct committee officer is an intraparty election. Candidates compete against other candidates from the same political party. The candidate of each political party who receives the most votes is declared elected. Precinct committee officers are not elected according to the top two primary system established by chapter 2, Laws of 2005 (Initiative 872).
(3) Unlike candidates for public office, the order in which candidates for precinct committee officer appear on the ballot is based on each candidate's political party. The political party that received the highest number of votes from the electors of this state for the office of president at the last presidential election must appear first, with the other political parties following according to the number of votes cast for their nominees for president at the last presidential election. Within each party, candidates shall be listed in the order determined by lot.
(4) If no candidate files for political party precinct committee officer, the position appears on the ballot with a write-in line. There is no special filing period, the political party does not appoint a candidate, and the election does not lapse. If no candidate is elected, the party may fill the position by appointment, pursuant to RCW 29A.28.071.
(5)(a) The position of political party precinct committee officer must appear following all measures and public offices.
(b) The heading must state, "election of political party precinct committee officer."
(c) The following explanation must be provided before the list of candidates: "Precinct committee officer is a position in each major political party. For this office only: If you consider yourself a democrat or republican, you may vote for a candidate of that party."
(d)(i) If all candidates are listed under one heading, the applicable major political party affiliation of either "democratic party candidate" or "republican party candidate" must be printed under each candidate's name. The first letter of each word must be capitalized, as shown in the following example:
Democratic Party Candidate
The race must explain, "for a write-in candidate, include party."
(ii) If candidates are listed under a major political party heading, the applicable heading of either "democratic party candidates" or "republican party candidates" must be printed above each group of candidates. The first letter of each word must be capitalized. A write-in line must be provided for each political party heading.
(6) A voter may vote for only one candidate for precinct committee officer. If a voter votes for more than one candidate, the votes must be treated as overvotes. For the limited purpose of voting in a precinct committee officer election, a voter affiliates with a major political party when he or she votes for a candidate of that party.
WAC 434-262-075 Election of political party precinct committee officers. (1) The election of political party precinct committee officers is not conducted according to a top two primary established by chapter 2, Laws of 2005 (Initiative 872). The candidate of each political party who receives the most votes in the August primary election is declared elected.
(2) RCW 29A.80.051 includes a requirement that, to be declared elected, a candidate for precinct committee officer must receive at least ten percent of the number of votes cast for a candidate of the same party who received the most votes in the precinct. This requirement for election is not in effect because candidates for public office do not represent a political party.