Prefers Grange Party
I am running for public office in Wahkiakum county. On the ballot I will state that I Prefer Grange Party.
Voters might not be aware that the Grange is a non-partisan organization that DOES NOT offer candidates for public office. And the Grange may spend time and money to try and make this clear through media communications. However, under state law in Washington, the Grange cannot rebut my party preference on the public ballot – the only place a voter is guaranteed to see my claim.
So How Can This Be?
In May of 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed my right to run as a Grange candidate regardless of what anyone in this venerable organization thinks. I could have chosen other local groups like American Legion, Rotary or Lions Club but Grange suited me best. In fact, I’m also chairman of the Wahkiakum County Democratic Central Committee but people hold the Democratic and Republican parties in such low esteem, I thought I’d and prefer Grange on the ballot to best appeal to voters.
It could be worse – at least I’m not an interloper only out to usurp the good name of the Grange. I was elected Master of the Grays River Grange and am a committed member. I’m also doing this to beat anyone else with the same idea. However, if there were another Grange candidate in the race, it would be up to voters figure out who is their preferred Grange candidate – even though the Grange doesn’t run candidates.
As a strong believer in private association, I oppose the way The State has implemented I-872 – the Grange sponsored Top Two Primary. My problem is not really with a top two runoff election. My issue is with the way candidates can appropriate the name of a private group.
I-872 opens a can of worms with our First Amendment right of
free association. There are complex legal arguments regarding private
association and the right to use a group’s name. But I am only exercising my
rights under the law and have no obligation to explain complicated
legal issues to anyone.
I-872 opens a can of worms with our First Amendment right of free association. There are complex legal arguments regarding private association and the right to use a group’s name. But I am only exercising my rights under the law and have no obligation to explain complicated legal issues to anyone.
It’s unfortunate that my candidacy might lead some voters to believe that preferring Grange on the ballot is an actual endorsement by the group. Any confusion is not my affair as it is my right as a candidate to prefer Grange party – even if it is at the expense of the good faith of voters and also the members of the organization I choose to name on a ballot.
I’m not the only one who sees the problems with I-872. It’s back on the ground floor of the federal court system – only to face more appeals, more rulings, more motions and more legal wrangling all the way back to the Supreme Court of the United States.
I would like to see I-872 settled. Perhaps the Grange itself could remedy the ongoing lawsuit and offer a solution? Let’s keep the August Primary with the Top Two vote getters advancing to the November general. What’s different is that private groups - like the Grange - or any political party, could keep control over their name. Candidates could also choose to run independent of any association.
With this settlement, voters will still Pick The Person And Not The Party in the primary. By passing I-872 voters only didn’t want to pick a party - there was hardly discussion regarding complex association rights as applied to constitutional law.
If you seek details about the constitutional complexities of I-872, ask its proponents to explain how their parsing of words doesn't really make me a Grange candidate on the public ballot?