Special Elections – Where’s the Emergency?
Constitution Party of Washington Chairman, Robert Peck, recently submitted the following article to the Spokesman Review for possible publication as an op-ed piece. While it addresses a City of Spokane special election, the issue of the waste of taxpayer dollars applies to all Washington residents as special elections are held all around our state every year.
It’s that time again – time for another “special election.” This time, the City of Spokane is looking to renew a levy (i. e., Tax) for emergency medical services (EMS) at an April 26 special election. But why is the city spending taxpayer money to hold a special election for this single measure instead of just adding it to the November general election ballot? Well, it’s for the same reason that every special election is held – it’s because levies, bonds and other tax measures have a better chance to pass at special elections than at general elections.
Voter turnout is far lower at special elections than at general elections. Therefore, if the particular government agency or program that is seeking the funds does a good job of encouraging voter turnout among their employees, employee’s spouses, fellow union members, associated contractors, businesses or special interest groups that will benefit, they will make up a larger percentage of the total votes cast at a special election than at a general election. This is why agencies learned long ago to have their funding measures placed on special election ballots.