Advisory votes are waste of time and money

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Advisory tax votes mean nothing. But even worse than being a waste of time, these advisory votes are essentially taxpayer-funded political propaganda.

Yet, five nonbinding advisory votes were on the fall ballot in Washington because of mandates in Initiative 960. The results of the meaningless balloting were mixed, with “advising” three taxes being maintained and two be rejected.

Given the nebulous results over issues few know about and even fewer care about, the anti-tax zealots such as Tim Eyman (who sponsored I-960) nevertheless attempt to put a spin on results for political gain.

State Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, is moving forward with an effort to curb the advisory vote nonsense. Hunt is on the right track.

The Daily Olympian reported recently that Hunt is drafting legislation to repeal the advisory vote requirement on grounds it is confusing and costs money. Hunt, chairman of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, has set a work session on the repeal proposal for 10 a.m. Friday in Olympia.

Not surprisingly, Eyman is working to get some political mileage out of Hunt’s plan.

He sent an email to Hunt, which he copied to “Our thousands of supporters throughout the state, the media, house & senate members, and Governor,” asking Hunt to invite him to the Friday session.

Eyman’s argument in favor of advisory votes centers on forcing politicians to stand on their records.

In reality, however, it does no such thing. Since the vote doesn’t mean anything, no effort is made to promote one side or the other. Few pay attention. Flipping a coin would likely get similar results.

Beyond that, we elect people to the Legislature (or Congress or our local city councils and county commissions) to represent us. We should allow them to do the job we elected them to do, not constantly second guess them with advisory votes.

If voters don’t like what their representative, senators, council members or commissioners are doing, work to oust them from office. That’s why we have elections — to vote on things that actually matter.

The Legislature should do away with the unnecessary advisory votes.

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