Tuesday, September 14

Primary Today

If you're reading this page, the announcement that today is the WA State primary is unlikely to come as news to you. So I'd like to take a moment out of the widespread complaint about our new primary system to talk about the New Hampshire primary system.

I went to New Hampshire to volunteer with the Dean campaign, and one of the things I ended up doing (besides visibility event and political tourism), was acting as a poll watcher on primary day. The Granite State doesn't have caucuses, instead you have to show up at the polls as though it were a regular election. And one of the more noticable features of that day was the number of people I saw and heard complaining about their ballots.

In New Hampshire, you have to register by party or as an independent. If you're registered as either a Republican or Democrat, that's the ballot you get, end of story. If you're registered as an independent, you may choose the ballot of either party, but there's a catch. Choosing that ballot automatically registers you with that party, unless you specify to the poll worker that you would like to be switched back to independent.

There were a number of people who showed up asking for the ballot of one party, only to be told that they had to take the ballot of the party they'd voted with last time. With the small compensation that they could switch back to independent after casting the day's (frustrating for them) primary vote.

So if you hear people unhappy about the new primary system, or if you're unhappy with it yourself, realize that people in the rest of the country probably have little sympathy. It's comparatively rare not to have to register by party, though I realize that some might consider it a small favor.

Other primary news:

The attack ads we've all been seeing run against Deborah Senn were entirely funded by the national Chamber of Commerce. See the P-I & Times' stories. The Chamber of Commerce will be running hit pieces against John Edwards later in the election cycle, according to some reports, so keep an eye out.

The PI's voters' guide, election headlines and endorsements.

The Times's election headlines and endorsements.

Kayne McGladrey brings us a local Legislative District news aggregator, for more on local races.

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