Too many candidates, too little space.
That’s the problem CityVote, a first-time presidential straw poll, presents elections officers in Washington and Idaho.
It means voters in the cities of Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Moscow, Idaho, will pick one candidate from two full pages of names on Tuesday.
One from either page - but not one from both.
In Spokane, the ballot is divided along partisan lines. The 12 Republicans are listed on one page, alphabetized from Lamar Alexander to Pete Wilson. A collection of nine Democrats, independents and third-party candidates is on the second page.
Bill Clinton’s name is at the top of that page, with the alphabetical lead over sometime Democrat Lyndon LaRouche. The independents and third-party candidates are listed alphabetically below the Democrats, from Bill Bradley to Lowell Weicker.
In Coeur d’Alene and Moscow, city officials decided to skip partisanship and list all names alphabetically.
But they don’t have the same list.
Coeur d’Alene has the same names as Spokane, the ones from the official CityVote list. It includes some potential candidates such as Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even though he has not announced a campaign, as well as California Gov. Pete Wilson, even though he dropped out after the ballots were printed.
Moscow officials were able to drop Wilson from their list, said city Clerk Elaine Russell. Texas billionaire Ross Perot sent a letter asking that he be removed from the ballot, so he’s gone, too. But he’s on the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene lists.
Another Republican, Tom Shellenberg of Livingston, Mont., who is traveling the country in a motor home to campaign for the office, asked to be on. So he is in Moscow, but not Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. The ballots will be marked clearly to alert voters that the list continues on a second page. Still, there may be some confusion, Russell said.
There are more names on the CityVote ballot than there are cities participating in the straw poll.
At last count, 17 cities, ranging in size from Tucson, Ariz., to Fayette, Mo., were sticking with the urban primary.
Last month, Newark, N.J., and Lowell, Mass., dropped out of the straw poll because of questions regarding election laws in their states.
Major candidates scrupulously have avoided any participation in CityVote and refused to participate in a presidential forum in Spokane last month.
But refusing to debate doesn’t keep them off the ballot, CityVote organizer Larry Agran said.