State lawmakers pass bill to remove advisory votes from Washington ballots

Washington State lawmakers passed a bill, on Friday night, to remove advisory votes from Washington ballots.

Advisory votes ask citizens if they want to maintain or repeal tax laws, but these votes have no impact, said the WA Voting Justice Coalition in a news release on Friday.

House Bill 5082 was made to encourage voting and make ballots more meaningful by abolishing these votes, according to the WA State Legislature.

The WA Voting Justice Coalition said that the bill will replace advisory votes with more useful and accurate online information that explains elected representatives’ budgeting decisions.

“Championed by Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen, SB 5082 will liberate our ballots from what are really push polls... fake ballot measures created by Tim Eyman that interrupt the act of voting, saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year in ballot design, printing, and tabulation costs,” the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI) said in a news release on Saturday.

The NPI’s policy brief says that advisory votes act as a barrier to voters and are “anti-tax messages dress up to look like ballot measures.” The brief also says that ballots are already unnecessarily complex and the extra votes increase voter fatigue.

“I’ve previously voted incorrectly based on the misleading wording of the advisory votes. I’ve not made the mistake since, but how many other voters have also made these mistakes?” asked a woman between 35 years old and 49.

“I have multiple degrees and still struggle with the wording. I think many people don’t go and research each one… they just do their best. I support saving taxpayer money on the ballots and writing a full, fifth-grade level explanation in the voter pamphlet,” said a man between 18 years old and 34.

Removing the votes will save millions of tax dollars, as King County billed the state of WA over $1 million for costs associated with advisory votes in one year, said the WA Voting Justice Coalition.

The NPI believes that removing these votes will encourage citizens to vote on important issues.

“The ballot is sacred, and not a place for surveys,” said Kathy Sakahara, from the Northwest Progressive Institute.