When are we going to start talking about Eymans obsession with long sleeve t-shirts?
When are we going to start talking about Eyman's obsession with long sleeve t-shirts? HEIDI GROOVER

On Friday the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee heard a bill that would repeal Tim Eyman's "advisory votes."

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Nearly every time Washington voters open a ballot, they stare down one or two of these deceptive little questions asking them to "maintain" or "repeal" some tax the legislature passed earlier in the year. But here's the thing: the results are nonbinding. They don't count. They're pointless. A waste of time. A waste of space. Useless. And they cost money.

According to the Seattle Times, the Secretary of State said printing and distributing the advisory vote explainers in the 2017 voters' pamphlets cost $160,653.

So, if these votes are useless and somewhat costly, then why do we have them?

Because anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, who's currently facing a lawsuit for campaign finance violations, ran an initiative to put them on the ballot in 2007, and a majority of us (51.24 percent) were dumb enough to vote for them.

During the hearing, Eyman defended the advisory votes by championing the merits of state-funded political expression, arguing that the questions allow voters a chance to offer their opinion on the state legislature's activity. They serve as “tax increase report cards” from the people of Washington to their elected officials, he said. "Give the peasants a couple of crumbs," pleaded the man who makes $42,000+ per month, "And at least let them express their opinion at the ballot box."

Of course, in a representative democracy, voters already have the opportunity to express their opinion at the ballot box by voting out politicians who don't do their bidding. But if we're not charging voters money so that Tim Eyman can spread misinformation through official channels, then can we really even say we live in a democracy at all? I think not!!!

King County Elections director Julie Wise called the bill "a common sense, smart bill." She said her office receives "countless questions" about the advisory votes from confused voters, and argued that their positioning on the ballot contributes to that confusion. "They appear on the ballot before Senate races… even ahead of the President of the United States. It’s silly, it’s misleading, it’s dangerous," she said.

Eyman's anti-boyfriend, Andrew Villeneuve, who's the executive director of Northwest Progressive Institute, called the language of these advisory votes "prejudicial," and said they amounted to an attempt to "disingenuously influence" voters, since they're presented without any context.

"Voters are not told regardless of how they vote that their vote won’t change what the legislature did. They’re not told that the dollar figures are misleading. They’re not told what the actual reason is for the revenue increase. And they’re not told that the revenue increase is often part of a budget," Villeneuve said.

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Sen. Patty Kuderer, who introduced the legislation, argued that “doing away with these state-funded, after-the-fact straw polls" will reduce confusion and also shorten ballots and voter pamphlets, which will save the state a little money. "We should be looking for ways to clarify and increase participation in our voting process,” Kuderer said.

Tim Eyman is asking his supporters to flood the phones to defend this waste of taxpayer dollars. So if you've got a little time over lunch, give your state senate rep a ring and offer your support for a cleaner, clearer, less Tim Eymany ballot.

Update: On Wednesday, the bill was passed through the committee with support from Republican state senator Hans Zeiger. Good going in this one respect, Hans!