After years of slapping the proposal down, the state Senate on Wednesday approved SB 6236, which would move the state's September primary election to August.
County election officials and Secretary of State Sam Reed have long called for the change. Every year, they say, it's a nail-biter to get the September election done in time to print the ballots for Election Day in November. It's worst, they say for deployed U.S. troops, who worry that they won't get their fall ballots in time to vote.
"One of these days, the federal government is going to sue us because the people overseas aren't getting their ballots on time," said Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley.
But some lawmakers -- both Democrats and Republicans -- said it's a mistake to try to hold an election when many families are on holiday.
In August, Sen. Pam Roach said, "no one's answering the doro. They're all at the beach or on vacation." Most military members, she predicts, will be voting online within a few years.
"I believe that we are attacking a problem that isn't there," Roach said.
The Senate voted 37 to 11 to change the election date to August.
"We have the latest primary in the United States currently," Sen. Jim Kastama said moments before the vote. Other states that have August primaries, he said, haven't had problems with low voter turnout.