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Chairman expects to defer to Pierce County lawmakers on all-mail voting

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
January 13, 2011 12:47 pm

Pierce County’s state senators may have a shot at stopping the elimination of the remaining election polling sites in the county — if they want to.

Craig Pridemore, the new chairman of the Senate panel on elections, has voted for versions of the all-mail-voting bill in the past, but says he will “defer to the maximum extent possible to the Pierce County legislators.”

“If they were to oppose it stridently, I would have a hard time, personally, pre-empting local control,” Pridemore said.

But the Pierce County delegation is divided, at least in the House. The key will be whether Democratic senators unite around the position that it should be up to Pierce County to decide how long to keep polls. That’s the position of at least one senator, Steve Conway.

It’s not clear if Conway and other senators would block it from ever coming to a vote, as Pierce County lawmakers have done in the past, particularly Sen. Rosa Franklin.

Franklin retired last year.”That’s probably a problem,” said Pierce County Council Chairman Roger Bush, a proponent of poll voting.

In another sign the bill might have an easier path this year, the county council is not actively fighting it. “We’ll save our ammunition for a more important fight,” Bush said.

The only Pierce County voice at a hearing Thursday was the county auditor, Julie Anderson. She was testifying in support of the bill.

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