Citizens planning to run for public office this fall must officially file with the secretary of state or county elections office next week. The candidate filing period begins next Tuesday, June 2, and ends the following Friday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Candidates may file by mail as well.
Several positions are open for election this year, however, in even-ending years there are no City Council or School Board elections. Several state, federal and judicial positions are open.
The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 4, and the primary will take place on Aug. 19. The primary for most positions will send the top two vote getters, regardless of political party, to the general election.
Candidates must also file with the public disclosure commission. According to the state disclosure law, a registered voter becomes a candidate whenever he or she raises and spends money for a campaign, reserves space or purchase advertising to promote a candidacy, authorizes someone else to do any of these activities, publicly declares the desire for office or files a declaration of candidacy.
Several Islanders have already announced their candidacy this year. Councilmember Steve Litzow is running as a Republican to become a state representative for the 41st District, which includes all of Mercer Island as well as parts of Bellevue and Renton. His challenger, Democrat Marcie Maxwell, is a Renton resident. The open seat is being vacated by current Rep. Fred Jarrett.
Instead of seeking another term in the House, the former Island mayor and Republican representative Jarrett is running for the state Senate as a Democrat. As of last Friday, Jarrett had no challenger. Island attorney Brian Weinstein is not seeking re-election after serving just one term. Michael Bond, an Island attorney, is also running for the state Supreme Court, and Rep. Judy Clibborn is seeking another two-year term in the House.
The race for governor and the Island’s federal representative, District 8, are expected to be close rematches. Gov. Chris Gregoire will face the same challenger she narrowly defeated in 2004, Republican Dino Rossi, and Darcie Burner will try to unseat incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert for the second time.
Filing fees for offices with annual salaries of $1,000 or more are one percent. For instance, it cost $1,652 to file for the U.S. House, $1,636.18 to run for governor and $418.80 for the state legislature.
Public initiatives must also be filed by July 3 with petitions containing the signatures of at least 224,880 registered voters. Initiative No. 985, filed by Tim Eyman, is seeking signatures to support a measure that would open high-occupancy vehicle lanes on local highways to all traffic when it is not rush hour. The initiative would also require traffic lights to be synchronized, increase roadside assistance funding, and dedicate certain taxes, fines, tolls and other revenues to traffic-flow purposes.
The City of Mercer Island is also planning a parks levy for this November. Voters will be asked to approve a measure that includes maintenance costs for Luther Burbank Park and several capital projects. The levy must be officially filed by Aug. 12 to make the November ballot. An ad-hoc stakeholders committee formed by the mayor has made its recommendation, but the City Council must approve the final measure. The Council will deliberate the ballot measure further during its annual summer planning session taking place on Saturday, June 21, at the Community Center at Mercer View. The Council must make its final decision no later than its meeting on Aug. 4.
For more information, go to www.secstate.wa.gov.