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Under the Washington State Constitution (Art. 4, Sec.
29) and state statute (RCW 29A.36.171), elections for
nonpartisan offices are conducted in a different manner
than the nominating/elections process used for partisan
offices. The following is an overview of the rules that
apply to elections for nonpartisan state and judicial
The only nonpartisan statewide (executive branch)
elective office in Washington is Superintendent of
Superintendent of Public Instruction
All candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction
appear on the Primary ballot. If any candidate receives
more than 50% of the vote for that position in the
Primary, he or she goes on the General Election ballot
alone. If no candidate receives a majority, the two
candidates receiving the highest number of votes go on
the General Election ballot.
State Judicial Offices
All elective judicial offices in Washington are
Justice of the State Supreme Court
All candidates for Supreme Court Justice appear on the
Primary ballot. If any candidate receives more than 50%
of the vote for that position in the Primary, he or she
goes on the General Election ballot alone. If no
candidate receives a majority, the two candidates
receiving the highest number of votes go on the General
State Court of Appeals Judge
The same rules apply to Court of Appeals Judge as apply
to Supreme Court Justice.
Superior Court Judge
When there are two or more candidates
for a Superior Court Judge position and one
candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, that
candidate is elected in the Primary and does not
appear on the General Election ballot (provided no
write-in candidate submits a petition of 100 valid
signatures within ten days after the Primary). When
there are more than two candidates in the Primary
and no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote,
the two candidates receiving the highest number of
votes go on the General Election ballot.
If there is only one candidate for
Superior Court Judge, the rules differ depending on
the population of the county:
Less than 100,000 residents:
The candidate appears on both the Primary and the
General Election ballot.
More than 100,000 residents:*
If no other person has filed for the position by the
end of the candidate withdrawal period, the
candidate is automatically issued a certificate of
election and does not appear on either the Primary
or General Election ballot.
*Benton, Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit,
Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Whatcom, and Yakima
(Office of Financial Management Population Report -
April 1, 2005)
Registering a Person to Vote
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When registering a person to vote, you
Treat every person the same and ask
each person the same questions.
Have the voter read and sign the
Advise the voter if the deadline for
voting in the next election has passed.
Not ask intimidating question
regarding such issues as race, creed, religion,
color, national origin, gender, disability or
political affiliation (RCW 29A.04.205).
To prevent disenfranchisement of voters,
completed forms must be returned to the Office of
Secretary of State or County Auditor's Office within
five days. (In King County, return them to the Records,
Elections and Licensing Division.) They must be returned
immediately if the 30-day voter registration deadline
before an election has passed. Unused forms should be
returned to the office from which they were issued.