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Spin Control: Play it again, Congress: As daylight time goes by

For some readers, it may be earlier than you think.

This is not a judgment on your age, your state of mind or even whether you should be setting aside money for the kids’ college. Clocks should have been switched to standard time overnight, and if yours weren’t you might not notice it until you sit down to watch the Seahawks this afternoon or PBS this evening.

But wait, you might be thinking. Didn’t the Legislature pass a bill to keep the state on daylight saving time earlier this year? Isn’t it against the law to make me fall back?

Yes to the first question, but no to the second. The much-discussed bill passed the Legislature in April and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 8. But it’s only a first step. Congress must pass a law that allows states to stay on daylight saving time year round.

A quirk of federal law allows a state to stay on standard time all year, but not remain on daylight saving time. It’s not a really good reason, but it’s the law.

Congress has four separate bills to allow year-round daylight saving time, two in the House and two in the Senate. All were introduced around the time folks started carping about making the change last spring. They have bipartisan but limited co-sponsors; none have had a committee hearing.

With Congress somewhat preoccupied with impeachment, it seems unlikely it will take up something like year-round daylight saving time for the next few months.

Some smart politician, however, might grab the DST ball and run with it sometime next March, when folks are bemoaning the impending loss of an hour’s sleep with spring forward and sell it as a way to enhance states’ rights, avoid the semi-annual assault on body rhythms and bring the country together on a rare issue that can unite Democrats and Republicans. If there are any smart politicians left by then.

In the meantime, if you didn’t set your clocks back last night, this would be a good time to do it.

Still time to register, vote

Turning the clocks back an hour also means people who have been putting off registering have an extra 60 minutes to sign up, and the vast majority of registered voters have that much more time to mark the ballot and get it in.

It is possible for eligible citizens in Washington to register through Tuesday evening if they are willing to take a little trip. Registration in the closing days of an election requires signing up at a county elections office or some other designated place.

In Spokane County, the elections office is at 1033 W. Gardner Ave., or about halfway between the courthouse and REI, for those of you who go by landmarks. Spokane residents can also register at the Voter Service Center at CenterPlace Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley.

Friendly bit of advice No. 1: Don’t procrastinate so long that you show up to register at 7:59 p.m. Tuesday. You might get the paperwork filled out, but if the clock ticks past 8, you won’t be able to get a ballot.

Of those already registered, roughly three out of four of you in Spokane County hadn’t sent in your ballot as of Friday. Ballots have to either be deposited in a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday, or mailed so that the postmark isn’t any later than Tuesday.

Friendly bit of advice No. 2: The ballot envelopes are postage paid. But don’t put the envelope out in your home mailbox for pickup on Tuesday, because it’s highly unlikely it will be postmarked that day. Swing by the post office and ask them to postmark it when you drop it off.

Last minute help

It’s possible that some unmarked ballots are the result of voters still looking for information about a particular issue or candidate. Here are some places to check:

The Spokesman-Review Election Guide, which is near the top of spokesman.com, has all the coverage of candidates and issues since before the August primary. Although this may be a shameless plug, it’s also the most information in an easy-to-select format by race or candidate.

The state and local Voter’s Guide may have gone into the recycling with the junk mail, but the information can be found online at sos.wa.gov. The state measures at the top; local races and issues below with counties alphabetized.

The League of Women Voters of Spokane has links to the video of candidate forums for Spokane city races under it’s What’s New heading at lwvspokane.org.

The Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank at washingtonpolicy.org, offers its take on the state ballot initiatives and the city of Spokane’s two propositions. The titles on the main page are a bit more editorialized than the ballot titles themselves, so the study for City Prop 1 is headlined “to end secrecy in public negotiations with government unions” rather than “Charter Amendment Regarding Open Government and Transparency in City Government” like on the ballot.

For an opposing view, Fuse Washington has its Progressive Voter’s Guide at fusewashington.org, which lists that group’s picks on state ballot measures and many Spokane candidate races and propositions.