By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
BOTHELL — Republican Mark Davies of Bothell thought he did everything needed to earn a spot on the primary ballot as a candidate for a state House seat.
He submitted his paperwork on time May 18. Then, in lieu of paying a filing fee, he turned in petitions signed by registered voters, confident he had collected the minimum number required to qualify.
Three days later, state election officials told him he was three signatures shy of the 421 he needed.
Now Davies is mounting a write-in campaign in the 1st Legislative District, hoping he receives enough votes in the Aug. 7 primary to advance to a November showdown with Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace.
Davies and his wife, Eva, are knocking on doors to reach potential voters. If he garners at least 1 percent, voters will see his name on the general election ballot.
“That’s what we’re planning for,” said Eva Davies, who’s managing her husband’s campaign. “We think he will get more than 1 percent.”
This is Davies’ second bid for office. He lost in 2006 to Democratic state Rep. Mark Ericks, D-Bothell.*
Moscoso said this week he’s reserving comment until it’s known whether he’ll have an opponent this fall. Moscoso is seeking a second term representing the district which straddles the border of Snohomish and King counties and includes the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Bothell and Kirkland.
Even if the write-in effort gets Davies on the ballot, the 57-year-old business analyst with the Boeing Co., and his wife won’t lose the feeling they got wronged in the process.
Eva Davies said state election workers incorrectly ruled some signatures invalid and wouldn’t correct the mistakes even after the couple pointed them out. She said efforts to inform employees by phone and email went for naught.
“It was clearly their mistake not ours,” she said. “They could have fixed it right up until they printed the ballot. We notified them and they didn’t answer. They ran us off the clock.”
Sheryl Moss, certification and training manager for the secretary of state, and Libby Nieland, a program specialist, said the signatures were checked four times including once with the couple watching. The state’s director of elections also was on hand.
“He was very close but he did not have an adequate pad,” Moss said.
One reason is he turned in signatures of several registered voters who did not live in the district and thus could not be counted, she said.
Moss and Nieland said state law did not permit them to do days of additional research and add him to the ballot if they found more valid signatures. They said state law made clear the list of qualified candidates had to be certified by May 21.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Correction, July 31, 2012: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about Davies’ previous bid for office.