There’ll be no last hurrah for Pierce County’s optical-scanner voting machines. No red-white-and-blue farewell to the last traditional polling places in Washington. No one-last-chance for 85-year-old Erika Cranmer of Lakewood to exercise the democracy she cherishes so by helping conduct an election at her neighborhood polling place; nor for 90-year-old Morry Kenton of Gig Harbor to make his 70th in-person trip to a traditional voting station.
We all knew the Legislature approved statewide all-mail voting last month, forcing Pierce County – the only holdout – to fall in line with the state’s other 38 counties. Close your polls, legislators said. All-mail elections are more cost-effective.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5124 into law two weeks ago, making Washington the second state behind its southern neighbor to implement vote-by-mail. What wasn’t widely publicized was that the law would take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.
“Most of us believed that polling places would be open in 2011, because the legislation being considered had an effective date of January 2012,” Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson recently wrote to county officials.