April 2, 1996 in City

Primary Should Go ‘Back To Drawing Board’ Candidate For Secretary Of State Also Calls For Levy Voting Reform

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Washington state should “go back to the drawing board” for its presidential primary, a candidate for secretary of state said Monday in Spokane.

Phyllis Kenney of Seattle, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the statewide office, also said school levies should be approved with a simple majority, rather than the 60 percent required under law.

Kenney, 59, argued that many of the voters who cast “unaffiliated” ballots in last Tuesday’s primary were poorly informed. More voters requested those ballots than those for the Democratic or Republican parties, even though the parties had said they would ignore the results of the “unaffiliated” balloting.

“Many did not know that their vote was not going to count,” Kenney said at a press conference after speaking to the Warren Magnuson Democratic Club.

The state should continue to search for ways to be part of a regional primary, she said.

The longtime party activist also called the current system of approving school levies antiquated.

Schools and all other taxing districts that wish to collect a levy through property taxes must get a 60 percent “supermajority” from voters. Those levies also must be validated by a turnout equal to at least 40 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the last general election.

But many other civic projects are approved with a simple majority, Kenney said. Those ballot items, however, do not obtain their funding from property taxes.

At one point, Kenney suggested all property tax levies should be approved by a simple majority, but later she backed off and said she was “not necessarily” advocating the change for anything but school levies.

Kenney is challenging Republican Ralph Munro, a four-term incumbent. She said she would stress voter education, would publish a voters information guide for statewide primaries and would increase the use of technology for the state’s elections and records.

, DataTimes


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