Wednesday, August 06, 2008

VG: Secretary of State

One of the joys of Washington State government is that all the state executive positions are up for grabs at the same time. So you’re not just electing a chief executive who brings in all his cronies- you get a say in who those cronies are. This also produces administrations which are a forced mixture of Reps and Dems, with the result that a more balanced and moderate state executive emerges.

It does make problems for the parties, however, since you can’t blame everything wrong in the executive branch on the other party without admitting culpability, nor can you take credit for everything being peachy keen without having to admit that the other party helped.

Case in point, the most powerful Republican in Washington State, our Secretary of State, Republican Sam Reed. Overseeing the state elections, he had the duty of presiding over the last election’s real squeaker, dispatched his job fairly, and has ever since been vilified by his own party for not putting politics before principle. Since then he has winnowed out the voting roles in a way that did not trip any political sensibilities on both sides, and has been working through the nightmare of the primary process. I do not like the Top Two primary, which he has been working to implement, but I cannot help but feel he is one of the good ones.

That said, Democrat challenger Jason Osgood points out the most worrisome point in our electoral armor – computer fraud. In the past few elections, there have been hints and allegations of nefarious dealings and outright incompetency with the electronic vote counters, and Osgood, a computer security guy, hits the nail on the head. Problem is, the elections are more than just computers.

Mark Greene represents the Party of Commons (no, I haven’t heard of them before, either), He believes that the Top 2 primary is more egalitarian. I beg to disagree. Should he end up in the final, he has made a strong case for his point.

Marilyn Montgomery of the Constitution Party also goes after previous election fraud, of course, that fraud is about people voting without proper ID. She favors the restrictive Indiana photo ID law that keeps nuns from voting. Obviously Sam didn’t winnow the lists far enough if we’re still letting the brides of Christ have a say in government.

More later,