Dear Elections Director Huff,
I am extremely disappointed to learn that you are opposing the tradition of PCO elections in our state. James McMahan, the Executive Director of the Washington Association of County Officials, recently testified on your behalf that you oppose PCO elections. Given your past support for our party in King and Kitsap County, I'm very suprised at this position.
The Democratic and Republican parties are committed to continuing grassroots PCO elections in Washington. Our political system is more transparent and more democratic than any other state because we elect PCO’s. Washington’s Legislature originally passed precinct committee officer election laws in 1907 to prevent the political corruption of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed. Your position would effectively force such corruption upon us from the top down. PCO’s are, and of right aught to be, elected by the voters within the precinct, not chosen by the Party boss at either the county or state level.
It is currently within State Law that only Elected PCO’s may gather to organize the County and Legislative District party organizations, electing its officers and two state committee representatives, who then perform the same function to form the state party organizational structure. Elected PCO’s are a source of stability for both the Democratic and Republican (D and R) parties. The election of PCO’s every two years is the “re-set button” that allows us to re-organize our parties every two years.
County central committee — Organization meetings.
Precinct committee officer, eligibility.
Precinct committee officer — Election — Term.
Legislative district chair — Election — Term — Removal.
The fight against corruption that resulted in the 1907 law is still going on. The King County Central Committee is currently complying with the Washington State Constitution to present a list of three names to the King County Council to fill the vacancies opened up by the death of Senator Scott White and the resulting appointment of Rep. David Frockt to that Senate Seat. The rules we are operating under specify that only "Elected or Appointed" PCOs may vote to produce that list. Having this conducted from the grassroots up, with Elected PCOs at the core of the deciding voters, is critical to finding the right candidate.
I do understand that PCO elections are an expense, and that because of the economic downturn municipalities are needing to find ways to save money. This expense is part of the fundamental fabric of our democracy. It's an expense that we can't afford not to make. The opportunity cost is just too high, consisting of the corruption that will sweep in to silence the voices of the grassroots activists who want to push real positive change in our state. PCO elections are another motivation for the Legislature to raise revenue to cover the basic expenses of running our government. If we continue to do nothing but cut, we will be cutting the heart out of our government, our society and our future. Please stand with us against that.
Please reconsider your opposition to PCO elections, and work with the Republican and Democratic parties to find a sensible way to continue this important feature of our democracy. Your voice as the Elections Director of the most populated county in the state would hold a lot of weight in the discussion, and we really need you on our side.
Chair, 46th District Democrats
3rd Vice Chair, King County Democrats
Chair, Washington State Democratic Chairs Organization
Elected Democratic PCO, SEA 46-2324