After deciding to challenge Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp in the general election on Tuesday, August 21st, the Kshama Sawant campaign moved to contest a decision by the Secretary of State to deny her the right to declare her party preference on the November Ballot. The legal brief can be viewed on the campaign website.
This follows an unprecedented series of election results for the Socialist Alternative candidate, who is running in the 43rd Legislative District. Sawant received over 9% of the vote against Democratic incumbent Jamie Pedersen in Position 1, and over 11% of the vote as a write-in candidate against Frank Chopp, in Position 2. State law allows Sawant to switch positions so that she can challenge Speaker Chopp in the general election. (For more information on this decision, please see the campaign’s press release from Tuesday, August 21st).
Yet Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, has challenged the Sawant campaign’s ability to declare a party preference on the November Ballot. Citing WAC 434-262-160, his office argues that a write-in candidate who did not declare candidacy in the primary race will have no stated party preference on the general election ballot. However, as per another state law, RCW 29a.24.311, Sawant was unable to declare candidacy in the write-in race, because she was already on the ballot in Position 1.
The campaign attests that voters supporting Sawant as a write-in were clearly aware of her party preference, as it was declared on the ballot in her race against Pedersen, directly above the write-in line for position 2. Washington state law prioritizes voter intent, and in this race, the voters’ intent was clear.
“It’s absurd we have to contest this in court. The right of a political candidate to declare a party preference is a basic constitutional, democratic right of free speech, along with the rights of voters to full disclosure,” said Sawant. Nonetheless, the State’s position amounts to falsely telling voters that Sawant has “no party preference.”
The campaign’s political director, Philip Locker, explained, "We have nothing to hide. We want voters to know exactly who we are and what we're about, and we welcome a conversation about capitalism and socialism.”
How You Can Support our Campaign:
1) Like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/VoteSawant
2) Donate on-line at: www.VoteSawant.org
We need YOUR support to pay our legal bills. Access to the courts and justice is not free in this society. Our legal costs represent a big burden on our grassroots campaign, and we are relying on you, our supporters, to donate.
We now have a major opportunity to put a real scare into Frank Chopp and stir up a debate on the need to break from the Democratic Party throughout Washington. But we can only do it with YOUR support. Please donate as much as you can, but even small contributions allow us to purchase signs, campaign materials, mailings, and to organize events.
3) Contact the Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed to demand he allows us to state our party preference (Socialist Alternative) on the general election ballot
Please contact Sec. of State Sam Reed and tell him that he should allow our party preference to appear on the ballot!
Telephone (360) 902-4151
Twitter - @secstatewa
We are running a 100% grassroots, working-class campaign. We rely on ordinary people contributing their time and energy to build our campaign. We need you to get involved! There are many things that we need help with, so you can definitely pick a task that works for you! Sign up at www.VoteSawant.org
5) Endorse our candidate
Invite the candidate and/or a campaign representative to talk with your organization about endorsing. Please also contact us if you want to personally endorse as an individual. Include exactly how you want to be listed, for example, as “John Gallup, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 member.”
6) Get organized - Join Socialist Alternative!
We have weekly activist meetings, events, and education programs to help understand the key lessons of past movements, revolutions, and how to change society.
For more information or to get involved in the Sawant campaign and/or Socialist Alternative:
Paid for by Vote Sawant/www.votesawant.org/206-486-0099/VoteSawant@gmail.com