Earlier this year I wrote about how advisory votes are nonsense and encouraged everyone to contact their state legislator in support of SB 5224, which would eliminate them. That bill stalled in the last legislative session, so unfortunately it’s time to talk about these ridiculous survey measures again. If there was ever a poster year for abolishing advisory votes, this. is. it.
Advisory votes are essentially polls on how we feel about actions our legislators have taken in Olympia. This sounds good in theory. But in reality, these votes are meaningless and non-binding. Advisory votes have no actual impact on our lives, on our taxes, on anything.
Instead, they only serve to tire voters out before getting to the races and issues that will have an actual impact on their lives. There will absolutely be voters who vote on each advisory vote and then lose steam after pouring their energy into understanding these confusingly-written wastes of time and before they get to any of the races that will have a true impact on their lives. Every year, our phone bank gets hundreds of calls from confused voters trying to make sense of what these senseless ballot measures even mean.
The advisory votes also make elections more expensive—wasting tax dollars and lengthening ballot processing times for a poll that should be commissioned and paid for by the lobbyists who pushed for advisory votes in the first place, not taxpayers.
So, what can you do?
First, you can skip them on your ballot. Don’t waste your time and don’t not vote because the huge ballot is daunting. Feel free to focus your time and attention on the races and ballot measures that matter and that will have a binding, meaningful result. Second, tell your legislator to stop this advisory vote insanity and support SB 5224 during the legislative session early next year.
Election Day is tomorrow, November 5. Get your ballot in the mail today (no postage required!) or find a ballot drop box.
Julie Wise is the director of King County Elections.