Thursday, January 03, 2008

Why don't we vote to fill vacancies on local boards?

One of the things that made vote-by-mail an easy thing to do politically, was that the proponents said that it would make elections cheaper. No need for real world voting locations, everyone would just mail it in (on their own dime, btw).

So, why don't we hold special elections to fill vacancies in local boards. Right now we're going through the process of appointing a new city council member in Olympia. I've been blogging about it a lot because compared to the regular system of reviewing candidates (at least five months and two elections) the appointment process is short and undemocratic.

Which makes me wonder why we just can't have another election. Here are more thoughts:
  • Local school boards hold elections at irregular times for citizens to consider bond measures and levies.
  • Again, if vote by mail elections are so cheap, why not hold elections to fill vacancies?
  • More democracy is a good thing.
Now, if someone quit five months before an election to fill their seat, I could see the wisdom of not holding an election. But, in Olympia we have a seat with 23 months left to go on it, so if we were to draw a line, somewhere between 23 months and nine months would be a good place to start. I'd go with nine months or a year.

Just creating an option for local governments to hold an elections somewhere in RCW 42.12 would be a good place to start.

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