Advisory Votes: Wasted Tax Dollars or Direct Democracy?
A Senate bill to repeal advisory votes moves to the Washington State House for further consideration.
In 2007, Initiative 960 started as a way for voters to voice their approval or disapproval over tax increase proposals with non-binding measures.
Senator Patty Kuderer of the 48th District on the west side of the state compares advisory votes to a form of negative campaigning and says voters should have genuine conversations with lawmakers.
"And they do not belong on our ballot. They are essentially taxpayer funded, biased push polls that are designed with one outcome in mind, and that is to instill distrust in government. They apply to anything that increases revenue." Senator Kuderer said.
During committee testimony on Senate Bill 5082, Senator Kuderer went on to say advisory votes lead to confusion and frustration for voters.
"Case in point, 2021 voter pamphlet where 18 out of 23 pages were advisory votes. And that was at a cost of hundreds of 1000's of dollars to print without telling the voters that they are completely non binding. Simply put, advisory votes are exhibit A for waste, fraud and abuse government." Senator Kuderer added.
On the east side of the state, Senator Shelly Short of the 7th District disagrees.
"Like, it's not your right as a voter to understand how we voted, and she's very demeaning and condescending, I think the Senate and the House are places where multiple ideas should be shared, multiple points of view, and we should have that respectful discussion," Senator Short said. "We're proud that we supported and stood up against the bill to preserve your right to have access to that information on your voter ballot, stay tuned. Unfortunately the bill passed, it goes to the house. I hope that it can be stopped there."