File photo

File photo

Legislator’s bill proposes wiping advisory votes from your ballot

‘They are nothing more than push polls designed to instill distrust in government,’ says state senator.

Legislators are looking to get rid of the advisory votes that allow voters to give feedback on tax-raising legislation.

Senate Bill 5182’s primary sponsor, Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), called advisory votes a “failed experiment” during the bill’s public hearing on Jan. 20.

“In theory, these votes are opportunities for voters to express their approval or disapproval of actions taken by the legislature,” Kuderer said. “But in reality, they are nothing more than push polls designed to instill distrust in government and the decisions made by elected leaders.”

Legally non-binding advisory votes have been informing voters of tax-increasing legislation since 2008 after voters approved Initiative 960, spearheaded by anti-tax activist Tim Eyman.

Eyman testified that support for advisory votes has only increased among voters since they were originally implemented. He cited the more than 72 million votes cast in eight elections on 35 tax advisory votes.

Kuderer said these ballot provisions confuse and anger voters with biased language and assertions that tax increasing legislation was passed “without a vote of the people.”

“Well that’s exactly what a representative democracy is,” she explained, saying that legislators are voted by the people to make policy decisions on their behalf.

Additionally, Kuderer said the advisory votes do a poor job of adequately explaining what the tax increases are funding as well as their impact on the state budget, including vague phrases such as “for government spending.”

Andrew Villeneuve, founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute, testified that advisory votes are not real ballot measures and rather anti-tax messages made to look like ballot measures.

He also claimed that advisory votes discourage voter participation because they can confuse or mislead voters about policies and tax legislation.

“You can’t ask them to measure anything because they violate every single guideline for asking unbiased questions,” Villeneuve said.

The bill will replace advisory votes with accurate information about tax increases, including budgetary charts and impacts.

Eyman has said that the Legislature’s effort to get rid of advisory votes is evidence that legislators do not care about voter input.

Kuderer said he is wrong.

“We care a lot about what voters think and feel,” said Kuderer, adding that she is open to honest and open conversations about policy with constituents.

She said these ballot measures are not intended to gauge or measure voter opinion, but rather to sow distrust in government and to play into the theme that “all taxes are bad.”

“As a legislator, I believe in transparency,” Kuderer said. “We have to rebuild trust in government, and advisory votes are an obstacle to that.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

file photo
May 7th pop-up vaccination clinic planned for Central Park in Issaquah Highlands

The City of Issaquah is partnering with Eastside Fire and Rescue to provide the vaccinations.

photo credit: Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park Facebook page
Lake Sammamish State Park Receives Grants for Trails

Nearly $3 million in grant funding is expected to go towards the park.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
New laws will tax the rich, offer aid to low-income workers

Inslee signs bill creating capital gains tax; foes are challenging it in court as unconstitutional.

Washington state case count since March 2020. WA Governor's Office
Pandemic pause: King County remains in Phase 3

No Washington state counties will be rolling back their phase under the… Continue reading

Courtesy of Washington Military Department
Washington gets mobile earthquake alerts

Washington state will have its own earthquake early warning system on May… Continue reading

File photo 
A gray wolf.
Wolf population continues to make a comeback in Washington

The number of wolves in Washington state increased by 22%, marking the… Continue reading

photo credit: Snoqualmie Tribe Vaccine Partnership
Over 1300 vaccinations available at Sammamish Lake State Park

Vaccines provided by the Snoqualmie Tribe Vaccine Parnership.

The state must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 2017 levels by 2028. By 2035, emissions must be below 20% of 2017 levels. The clean fuels program is scheduled to begin by Jan 1, 2023, provided the Legislature passes a transportation-spending package by then. File photo
State lawmakers approve key climate and environmental legislation

Bills target clean fuel standards and carbon emissions.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Top 10 issues in Washington state’s 2021 legislative session

Democrats used their majorities to muscle through social, economic, environmental and tax policies.

Most Read