Finally, it's being reported how the State of Washington and the Washington State Grange are responding to the "Grange Party".
In speaking with the Longview Daily News, State and Grange officials are not saying why it's OK for me to drag the Grange onto a public ballot. They're instead making it sound like I'm playing with funny names. Indeed, this may be a stunt to draw attention to an assault on the fundamental right of private association - but by no means is it a joke.
It's serious business to be able to usurp the name of a group on the public ballot. The law used to be tight in the United States - what I've done would have simply been illegal. Now there's this gray area. The state has kindly requested that candidates take prefers party seriously and not play games. But it's the proponents of this election law who are playing the games. It's their attorneys who devised this play on the word "prefers". It doesn't matter if this is confusing to voters - these lawyers want to squeak by judges in court.
And confusing voters they are. I'm finding out that many people have a positive impression of the Grange Party. They like the Grange Party - even though there is no such thing.The State and Grange have spent a lot of time and money over four years of litigating for my right of claiming the Grange Party on a ballot. The Grange can be fine with spending even more money on media that refutes my claim, but they still have no say whatsoever on the public ballot, or in the State Voters Guide for that matter!
It's no surprise proponents of this confusing law are refusing to speak to the complicated legal issues involved - they're in litigation! So they need to hunker down with flimsy PR and trot out the Pick-A-Party bogeyman. Claiming that parties "want more control" makes it sound like this mess is about a return to exclusive party ballots in the primary. It's not. All my settlement proposal suggests is any private group ought to control who appears on the ballot with their name. And they need to do so on their own time and own dime.
With my settlement, a voter will still be able to pick the person and not the party in any race in the primary.
The leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties comment in the article too. This is a fortunate PR turn for The State and Grange. The political parties make good points but I'm concerned their appearance in the article resurrects the tired dynamic of Exclusive Party Primaries verses The People.
The two big parties need to consider the unassembled caucus for inclusive, community based nominations. We can never return to the Pick-A-Party and never will - as voters would not allow that.
The State is now circling its wagons. They're mentioning laws that prohibit the use of "funny names" on the ballot. And here's yet another one for the legal beagles. What exactly is a "funny name"? We'll have to leave that complicated question to the lawyers and judges.
Instead of complex legal barriers, PR smokescreens and dodging the issues in The Grange Party Debacle - I say keep it simple and go with the settlement I'm suggesting.