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Pierce County all-mail voting bill clears committee

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
January 31, 2011 3:53 pm

A bill that would require Pierce County to close its last polling places moved forward this morning.

The Senate Government Operations Committee approved Senate Bill 5124, sending it to the Rules Committee. Gov Ops Chairman Craig Pridemore said he supported moving it along because of a separate provision unrelated to the poll voting controversy, but said the all-mail-voting proposal needs more work.

Pridemore, D-Vancouver, said he’s not persuaded by those who say the whole state needs to have a uniform way of voting. “I have always believed we should defer to local control,” he said.

But so far, Pridemore said, he sees local support for ending poll voting. County Auditor Julie Anderson testified in favor of it. “The people I’ve heard from, from Pierce County, are in favor of eliminating this,” Pridemore said.

Pridemore still wants to hear from those in Pierce County who are opposed to going to all-mail voting, he said.

Sen. Pam Roach, a Republican who represents much of east Pierce, was the lone opponent of the bill. She called it an “end run” around the County Council, which includes her son Dan.

The other Republican on the panel, Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester,  joined the Democrats in supporting it, citing cost savings to Pierce County and Anderson’s testimony as reasons.

A House committee could vote on a similar measure this afternoon.

UPDATE: The House State Gov. panel moved its bill forward, rejecting an attempt to gut it by leaving the decision on poll voting to counties.

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