The future of Presidents Day

  • Evan Smith<br>Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:59am

As we approach Presidents’ Day, we find a former first lady as a leading candidate to be the next president. That might start a trend that will make the presidents of out era easy for future students to remember.

They may have this list:

No. 41— George H.W. Bush

No. 42— Bill Clinton

No. 43— George W. Bush

No. 44— Hillary Rodham Clinton

No. 45— Jeb Bush

No. 46— Chelsea Clinton

Why do judges oppose changing how we elect them?

The most important elections-reform proposal before state legislators would change the way we elect judges.

Now, many judicial races are decided in the primary because any judicial candidate who gets a majority of the primary vote is unopposed in the general election.

For most other non-partisan offices, if three or more people run, the primary serves to narrow the field to two. If only one or two candidates run, we skip the primary and go straight to the general election.

Senate Bill 1596, which would run judicial elections the same way we run elections for other non-partisan offices, gets opposition from judges, who told a recent legislative hearing that they “would have to campaign for 10 months.”

The judges are wrong. This bill wouldn’t make judges campaign any more than they do now. A judge with more than one opponent would have to run in both the primary and the general election just as he or she does now. A judge with only one opponent would have to run only in the general election, making his campaign shorter than it is now.

County auditors’ election-calendar proposals return

Two weeks ago, a proposed change in the state’s elections calendar seemed to be dead for this legislative session. Now, however, the state Senate committee on government operations and elections has scheduled hearings on the subject and expects to send a bill proposing the change to the full Senate.

The proposal would reduce the number of dates for school-district and other special elections each year by two. While many county auditors had said they thought the proposal needed more study, one auditor got his legislator to introduce a bill. That bill has been resurrected as a political bargaining chip.

Before the legislative session, I had heard that the Washington Education Association was willing to support the bill only in exchange for the resolution that would amend the constitution to allow school levies to pass by a simple majority rather than 60 percent.

Now, legislative leaders want the bill to reduce the number of election dates to placate a legislator who is holding out on the simple-majority resolution.

Law is like sausage. You don’t want to see how it’s made.

Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to

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