Some counties separate and store their primary ballots by precinct, which makes doing a recount pretty easy. Others don’t segregate their primary ballots that way, so getting the named precincts meant going through all ballots turned in. As one can imagine, the time and costs of that are much higher.
Washington puts the responsibility for elections on the counties, as a way of maintaining local control. But that creates a problem, said Scott Stafne, an attorney who ran as a Republican in the 1st Congressional District.
“When you want to get something done, there’s no uniformity,” Stafne said. “It’s hard for candidates to understand all their processes.”
That runs against the constitutional protection of free and equal protections, he said.
The challengers will at least raise that claim in a lawsuit they expect to file in the next week or so in Skagit County Superior Court — a county not involved in, but adjacent to, those in the recount.
Biggest loser in August
Picking winners and losers of any election is easy. You just look at the numbers. But picking the biggest loser? That can be hard, because is it worse to lose by a handful of votes, or a boatload?
No matter for this year’s primaries, because it’s clear the biggest loser was Rocky De La Fuente. He didn’t just lose the Washington’s U.S. Senate primary, finishing 21st out of 29. He lost nine U.S. Senate primaries in as many states.
De La Fuente was testing the constitutional provision that a candidate need not be a resident of a state to run for the U.S. Senate, only a resident of that state to take office. So he filed in nine states, and presumably would have moved to a state where he won. What he would have done if he had won in two states was unclear, but also academic because he failed to qualify for the general election in all of them.
It’s possible that Republican voters were disinclined to vote for someone who ran two years ago for president, first as a Democrat and then as a member of the Reform Party.
His showing in Washington, with one-third of 1 percent of the vote, was his worst percentage-wise. In terms of total votes, his worst showing was Wyoming, with only 1,280 votes.
One could say his best showing was either Rhode Island or Florida, where he finished second. But in each of those races, there was only one other primary opponent, so by finishing second he also finished last.
Some folks might say this should discourage De La Fuente from repeating this strategy in the future. But Washington elections officials probably won’t. A candidate pays 1 percent of the annual salary to file for office in this state, and Rocky’s $1,740 were just as green as anyone else’s.