Updated Jan. 16, 2012

Washington state has a $1.5 billion deficit, and ample justification for implementing government and budgeting reforms.

But nearly two dozen lawmakers have something more important to do. They’re gaming the voter registration system in a disingenuous effort to win elections.

That’s right. They’re not addressing the concerns of most businesspeople and consumers – a balanced budget and government reforms.

But more on that later; for now, let’s address some background information in two examples:

Example No. 1. Perhaps you saw the May 30, 2011 headline: “Voter registration could be key to Obama in 2012.” The article indicated Barack Obama’s 2008 election hinged on his ability to capitalize on the nearly 15 million voters who were newly registered.

However, the article also mentioned that Democrats are looking at a major red flag – their party has regressed in terms of voter registrations in states won by Mr. Obama. Many Independents now disfavor Mr. Obama’s re-election. The upshot being he needs to attract more black, college students, Hispanic and women voters.

He has problems in at least three states:

  • Florida – 2.6 million voters haven’t declared their party affiliation
  • Pennsylvania – 500,000 unaffiliated voters
  • Iowa – at least 762,000 nonpartisan voters

The article indicated several cities are in play:

  • Philadelphia
  • Denver (site of the 2008 Democratic convention)
  • Charlotte, North Carolina (site of the 2012 Democratic convention)

And the newspaper report quoted Mr. Obama’s adviser, David Axelrod, who said voter registrations are a big priority for the 2012 election.

Example No. 2. Democrats are also worried about the Washington’s gubernatorial race. First the time in recent memory, Washington state Republicans have a solid chance to elect a governor.

Since last September, State Attorney General Rob McKenna has a six point lead in four polls pitting him against U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee. The polls include two by SurveyUSA, The Washington Poll, and Strategies 360 (D).

As of this writing, Mr. McKenna has netted $3.67 million in donations – $560,000 or 18 percent more than Mr. Inslee.

Disingenuous lawmakers

Fear by Democrats in a spirited competition to win elections is one thing, but it’s another to behave against the best interests of the electorate. A new development has failed to be adequately covered by the news media.

Twenty-three Washington House Democrats have introduced HB 2204, which would require the state’s 60 counties to accept voter registrations on Election Day after the polling is well underway – until 5 p.m. to be exact.

“What?!” you’re probably stunned. “Don’t voters have to register eight days before an election – not on Election Day?!”

Yes, you’re right.

Such a new law would have several ramifications.

It means the right to vote is no longer sacred. It games the voter registration system. It opens the door for voter fraud. It leaves no time to check the registration of new voters’ eligibility. It overburdens county election workers when they’re already straining to count votes.

Indeed, citing such concerns, the County Auditors Association and the Secretary of State oppose the bill.

Further, there’s a recent precedent to consider: Election Day registrations had 33.7 percent error rate in the April 5, 2011 election held in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

It isn’t too much to ask legislators to earn their pay. Stop trying to game the voter registration system.  Fix the budget and institute permanent safeguards for good government and balanced budgets.

Then, it will be possible for Washington to have a healthy climate for economic development and the creation of jobs.

From the Coach’s Corner, in case you’re not aware, state lawmakers have long failed to do their jobs.

The most recent example is featured in this column: Washington: A Balanced Budget Is No Longer Enough.

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

-Abraham Lincoln


Terry Corbell is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services (many are available online). For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule Terry Corbell as a speaker, why don’t you contact him today?