February 8th, 2023
NPI hails Senate passage of SB 5082, repealing Eyman’s push polls
Statements & Advisories
Minutes ago, on a bipartisan vote of thirty to eighteen, the Washington State Senate passed the Northwest Progressive Institute’s legislation to permanently repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls, which Eyman calls “advisory votes,” but which are really anti-tax messages dressed up to look like ballot measures.
Prime sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer (D-48th District: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond) for the fifth consecutive legislative session, SB 5082 would eliminate a barrier to voting in Washington by liberating our ballots from being polluted by Eyman’s propaganda (which Washingtonians are paying for), saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year in ballot design, printing, and tabulation costs.
Importantly, however, 5082 does more than just repeal “advisory votes.” Part III of the bill requires legislative staff to work with the Office of Financial Management to create and publish a primer on the state’s finances for voters that is actually useful and truthful. This primer, devised by Senator Kuderer and NPI, will be available online each summer and referenced in the official voter’s pamphlet with a quick response (QR) code, phone number, and web address as suggested by Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, whose office is supporting the effort to repeal “advisory votes.”
The bill’s intent language eloquently explains the principles underpinning the legislation, from the sacredness of the ballot to the importance of making it easy to cast a ballot and asking neutrally worded questions:
The legislature finds that making the act of casting a ballot as simple as possible will help promote the free and equal elections guaranteed by Article I, section 19 and Article VI, section 1 of the Washington state Constitution. The legislature recognizes that transparency and fiscal responsibility are important to the people of Washington, and that election administration and ballot design should reflect these long-held values. The legislature further finds that the people rightfully expect items on their ballots to be neutrally and accurately worded. Finally, the legislature finds for the votes that Washingtonians cast to have meaning, the ballot must be limited to candidate elections that give the people the power to choose their representatives or ballot measures that determine what laws and plan of government the state and its localities shall have.
“Our team at NPI is thrilled by today’s passage of SB 5082 in the Washington State Senate,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve.
“We congratulate and thank the Senate for making this an early priority in the 2023 session. This legislation is a huge win for voters and taxpayers. It’s heartening to see it pass with bipartisan support. We are particularly grateful to our prime sponsor Senator Patty Kuderer, Senate State Government & Elections Committee Chair Sam Hunt, and Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig for their steadfast commitment to getting this done. Our state is fortunate to have champions for voting justice like them in the Legislature. Additionally, we thank Senator Liz Lovelett for her excellent floor speech today in support of the bill.”
5082 is a priority of the Washington Voting Justice Coalition, of which NPI is a member, as well as a priority of the Washington State Association of County Auditors.
Two of WSACA’s members testified in favor of SB 5082 and its House companion 1158 last month: Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall and King County Elections Director Julie Wise.
Also working with NPI to pass this legislation are the League of Women Voters of Washington State, Fix Democracy First, the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Faith Action Network, the Economic Opportunity Institute, the Washington Community Alliance, and Progreso: Latino Progress.
NPI’s updated policy brief is an excellent resource for anyone planning to write about SB 5082 and today’s vote in the Washington State Senate. It explains the principles underpinning the bill and the data that supports its passage.