The Spokesman-Review

Letters to the Editor

Keep PCOs on ballot

Your March 8 editorial opposing HB 1860 uses faulty logic. Your comparison of the public election of Democratic and Republican precinct committee officers to elections for Rotary clubs, fraternities and sororities shows a serious misunderstanding of how government works.

Precinct committee officers are the heart and soul of our political parties. Service clubs and fraternal organizations play no legal role in electing or appointing candidates.

When there is a vacancy in an elected partisan office (as when Sen. Bob McCaslin died), PCOs of the person’s party recommend three names to fill the vacancy, a requirement of the Washington State Constitution.

It is also the legal duty of PCOs to nominate candidates for partisan office during an election cycle, since the top-two primary ignores partisan ties. Isn’t it better to have publicly elected officers leading that process?

Yes, PCOs could be appointed by party leaders. However, that could very well lead to the party boss, Chicago-style politics we fought to keep out of Washington. Electing precinct-committee officers maintains the right of people in each precinct to choose local party leaders. It provides grass-roots political input.

You call it a “self-serving charade”? I call it a small price to pay for democracy.

State Rep. Sam Hunt


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