Local Candidate Information Guides

Resources–Positive and Negative–for filling out your Primary Ballot this weekend.

Your Washington State Primary Election ballot must be put in a Drop Box or postmarked by 8PM August 2, this coming Tuesday, for it to be counted. If you haven’t done your homework or you’re stuck deciding for whom to vote, here’s some help. (If you’ve already turned in your ballot, go to vote.wa.govand check under My Ballot/Ballot Status to see that your ballot has been received and accepted.)

First, understand that you are not required to vote for a candidate in every race. A race in which you do not cast a vote is counted as an “undervote.” If you’re stuck after checking out the available resources, don’t let that keep you from turning in your ballot. There is no penalty for incomplete homework. (Undervotes can be seen tallied in each race on the final Certification Documents in the Election Archives at the SpokaneCounty.org website.)

My personal favorite resource for candidate recommendations is the Progressive Voters’ Guide. It provides reasoned analysis of candidate qualifications in many, but not all, races. Here’s the link: progressivevotersguide.com

The League of Women Voters of the Spokane Area, a non-partisan organization, has a website (click on the name) with a lot of good voter information and candidate forums on video. They are a bit time-consuming to watch, but they offer a pretty clear idea of the preparation of the candidates who participate. Candidates are not provided with the questions ahead of the forum (although a well-prepared candidate would likely have a pretty good idea what might be asked).

Spokane Valley Speaks podcasts with Al Merkel offers extensive interviews with many candidates. In some cases the lack of an interview speaks volumes. For example, Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton sat for a two episodes that offered extensive detail on what the Auditor does. But, as stated on the website with the Vicky Dalton interviews, “Candidate Bob McCaslin, also running for Auditor, was invited to interview as well. He initially agreed but withdrew after receiving the questions which were the same as those used for this interview.” It is hard not to assume that he was afraid his ignorance of the Auditor’s job would be exposed.

WeBelieveWeVote.com (WBWV) can also be useful. It seems to me that a higher percentage of candidates than usual are listed as “DID NOT RESPOND”. Considering the slanted Survey statements and the fact that some like myself now use this website mostly to decide for whom NOT to vote, not responding might be politically wise for some candidates who might otherwise score well with WBWV. (Bob McCaslin for County Auditor and Michael Cathcart for County Commissioner District 2 might be in that category, for example. Neither responded to WBWV.)

The “We Believe” part of WBWV’s name deserves some scrutiny. A candidate who indicates complete agreement (a 10 out of 10 rating) with the usual first statement on WBWV’s Survey, “The Holy Bible is the supernatural, inspired Word of God; it is inerrant, supreme, complete, and final” is self identifying as a Fundamentalist Christian. Biblical inerrancy implies belief in a literal seven day Creation, Noah’s Flood, End Times predictions, etc. that preclude acceptance (and understanding) of much of modern biology, geology, and climate science. Many practicing, highly moral Christians do not subscribe to Biblical inerrancy and the world view it implies. No one, especially Christians who are not of a Fundamentalist stripe, of whom I know many, should assume that the WBWV expresses universal Christian values. Make no assumptions about shared belief.

However, if you’re stuck making a decision in a race where all the candidates are of one party checking out WBWV may be helpful. For example, see the Spokane County Commissioner Race in the new County Commissioner District 4 (SE Spokane County). All three candidates responded to the questionnaire and all three get a 98% or above “alignment rating”. Don’t stop with just the alignment rating. Be sure to click “View Survey Responses.” There you can read the comments the candidate submitted. To my reading, Mary Kuney offers by far and away the most reasoned commentary (See question 12, for example). The other two are only interested in demonstrating their far right, Fundamentalist Christian bona fides. 

Properly used, WBWV offers useful information.

At one time or another I have written about and offered links to information about many of the candidates in this election. Visit the blog archives at jxindivisible.org and type a name into the Search box to see what comes up.

Do your homework. Fill out your ballot and drop it in a Drop Box this weekend. Avoid the rush! (If you need a Drop Box recommendation go to vote.wa.gov and click “Ballot Drop Boxes and Voting Centers for an interactive map.)

Keep to the high ground,