By Marianne Lincoln
This coming week, May 16 through 20 is filing week in Pierce County for people interesting in running for an elected office in Pierce County or the State of Washington.
The major parties have already held caucuses. The Presidential primary ballots are due May 24. The filling is for anyone seeking office in Congress, State Administration, Legislature, and County Council. There will also be some off year positions where people have resigned their offices and smaller offices such as water districts, fire districts and school.
Every two years the major political parties hold elections for Precinct Committee Officers (PCO). These are the most grass roots organizing positions I the state. It the PCO’s job to work their precinct on behalf of their party to get out voters in the elections. It only costs $1 to file for PCO in your neighborhood.
Below are links to help you better understand our upcoming election, what office are open and where to go to meet the people that understand how the system works. If you are interested in running, you should get to know your party organization first, as they have the power to support or defeat your efforts.
Most candidates can now file online, but must be prepared with a promotional statement and a good photo to supply for the voter’s pamphlet shortly after filing. If you have never done this, seek out someone who has for additional advice, it is priceless.
Candidates must also file right away with the state Public Disclosure Commission, have a Committee Treasurer selected, a bank account for depositing donations, describe your financial status and know the contribution limits. You can get data on registered voters from the Auditor’s Office to assist with doorbelling, sign posting and mailing literature. If you run and lose, prepare to feel a little depressed, it’s a huge letdown. Plan a vacation. If you win, prepare to get a lot of emails, phone calls, press inquiries and be far busier than you were during the election.
August 2, 2016 is the Primary Election. That is the race to wean out competition in an election down to two major competitors. The General election will be on November 8, 2016.
Pierce County Auditor Election Information Election Guide for Candidates
Washington State Republican Party http://wsrp.org/
Pierce County Republican http://piercegop.org/
Republican PCO http://kc47gop.org/becomeapco.html
Washington State Democratic Party http://www.wa-democrats.org/
Pierce County Democrats http://www.piercecountydems.org/
Democrat PCO http://www.fileforpco.com/
Green Party Washington http://www.gp-wa.org/
Green Party Pierce County http://pcgreenparty.blogspot.com/
One more thing. If anyone ever challenges your voter registration, you have rights. (RCW 29A.08.810, RCW 29A.08.850.) You get a hearing. The burden is on the accuser to prove something is amiss, even if the Auditor herself calls you and threatens to call the Prosecutor and charge you with a felony. The process is meticulous and the burden is on the accuser. This is useful if you are voting and homeless. You still have the right to vote, even if you do not have a residence of your own.
And remember, all candidates are human. They make mistakes, they get apprehensive. Go to an event and actually meet them, you will never regret knowing your elected officials personally. They and their staff are a priceless resource!