OLYMPIA — The special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee may end up costing Washington state $1 million as state officials factor in the spending needed to educate voters about the confusing ballot situation, officials said Friday.
Washington secretary of state spokesman Dave Ammons said the agency is asking lawmakers for $225,000 to send out postcards to voters explaining the situation. Some voters will see two congressional races on the ballot, including a race covering Inslee’s old 1st District to put someone in Congress to finish the final month of his term.
That money will come in addition to an estimated $770,000 the state will spend to reimburse counties for the cost of the special election votes in August and November.
Ammons said the postcard money is critical for voter education, especially since the state would ideally do something more widespread such as television or radio advertising. He said officials in King County are also looking at supporting the voter education effort.
“It’s a bare-bones request,” Ammons said.
Inslee resigned from his seat in March to focus on running for governor. The Democrat has said he delayed his departure in part because of cost considerations, telling KUOW in an interview last month that he didn’t want to “expose the citizens to a $1 million election.”
Had he resigned before March 6, the state would have had to call a special election for the summer to fill his seat for the remainder of the term.