Remember the scene in “The Jerk” when Steve Martin yells, “The new phone book’s here!”? Well, he might be pretty pumped up about this news, even if his name isn’t in it: The Voters’ Pamphlet is coming!
If you haven’t received your statewide Voters’ Pamphlet for the 2012 General Election, you will soon. Nearly all of the Voters’ Pamphlets are being delivered this week, around the same time Washington voters receive their ballots.
“This is a very important election, with many races and measures on the ballot, so I encourage all voters to take time to become more informed,” said Secretary of State Sam Reed. “The Voters’ Pamphlet is a very useful tool that helps voters learn more about the candidates and issues found on their ballot.”
This year’s Voters’ Pamphlet is especially large due to so many races and ballot measures, as well as a federal law requiring voting information materials be available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese in certain counties. For example, the Franklin County edition (which is in English and Spanish) is a whopping 248 pages! The edition for Adams and Yakima counties, in English and Spanish, is close behind at 240 pages. Most editions range between 120 and 168. The pamphlet is printed on recycled paper.
“Someday we hope enough voters will have Internet access to warrant an opt-out list for a printed Voters’ Pamphlet,” Reed said. “Until then, we’re pleased to offer voters’ information online and in print that costs less than a postage stamp to print and deliver to every household in the state.”
The Voters’ Pamphlet includes useful information about the candidates and measures that will be on the ballot in this important election. Races include U.S. President; the U.S. Senate matchup between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner; all 10 U.S. House contests, all state executive offices, including open positions for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and Auditor; all 98 state House seats and about half of the state Senate races; one contested State Supreme Court contest; and other races.
Also found in the Voters’ Pamphlet are for and against statements and the entire text of the statewide ballot measures, including Initiative 502 (marijuana legalization); I-1185 (limiting tax and fee increases); I-1240 (authorizing charter schools); Referendum 74 (legalizing same-sex marriage); two constitutional amendments (one dealing with the state’s debt limit, the other regarding investments by the University of Washington and Washington State University); and two state advisory votes.
About 3.3 million are being sent to all Washington households, as required by the state Constitution.
Here are some other interesting facts about the 2012 Voters’ Pamphlet:
• Each pamphlet costs roughly the same as a postage stamp to print and ship to every household in the state.
• Twenty-six zoned editions of the pamphlet are created, including Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese editions.
• Additional editions are created in alternative formats such as audio and large print for voters with limited vision.
If you don’t receive your ballot or Voters’ Pamphlet by Oct. 24, please call the Voter Hotline at (800) 448-4881 for assistance.