Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/04/2001 01:10 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 193 - MODIFIED BLANKET PRIMARY ELECTION Number 2078 CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that the next order of business before the committee would be HOUSE BILL NO. 193, "An Act relating to the primary election; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was CSHB 193(STA).] CHAIR ROKEBERG said he had prepared a proposed committee substitute (CS), version 22-GH1089\J, Kurtz, 4/4/01 (Version J), which has substantive differences, and that Representative Kookesh had prepared two amendments. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL spoke in favor of CSHB 193(STA). [Although HB 193 was originally sponsored by the House Rules Standing Committee by request of the Governor, Representative Coghill had done extensive work in creating CSHB 193(STA), and had therefore provided additional background material for members packets.] He called the committee's attention to page 2, Section 3, [subsections] (a) and (b). He explained that under CSHB 193(STA), primary elections will be held through the parties. The parties will each have a ballot, and if they choose to allow anybody in addition to party members to vote on their ballot, then they can, but they must submit their bylaws in a timely fashion. He described CSHB 193(STA) as very similar to what the governor had produced [with the original HB 193] except for the following: They presumed that they would have to exclude people, and then they would have an open ballot, which I maintain is going in the wrong direction, and so I said ... I think the parties should be able to choose their candidate and ... [each party's primary would be presumed closed to nonmembers] until such time as they chose to open it to allow other people; and I think that's being more consistent with what the [U.S.] Supreme Court [ruled]. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he had a few quotations he would like to put on the record. He noted that he believed the Supreme Court was trying to give the parties the primary responsibility for selecting their candidates and also to give them the choice of who is able to vote within their primary elections. He said he thought that CSHB 193(STA) would align best with that thinking. Number 1936 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL paraphrased from California Democratic Party v. Jones [Syllabus]: In no area is the political association's right to exclude more important than in its candidate-selection process. That process often determines the party's positions on significant public policy issues, and it is the nominee who is the party's ambassador charged with winning the general electorate over to its views. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL also paraphrased from California Democratic Party v. Jones [Opinion of the Court]: There is simply no substitute for a party's selecting its own candidates. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL explained that with CSHB 193(STA), he was trying to say that parties are assumed to have that right of association. If they choose to invite others in, then they can do so by way of petition. Whether or not to include others would be a decision within the party. He said: I think it would be wrong for us as a state to say you must have an open ballot, and then exclude people. I think it would be going directly against what the Supreme Court said on the right to that free association, [because] we would be forcing them to open, rather than close, their primary. But if we allowed them the legal opportunity to open their primary election, then we're well within our limits, and the party then makes that decision. And I think we should let it rest at the party [level]. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted that CSHB 193(STA) included the September 1 deadline recommended by the [Primary Election Task Force ("Task Force")]. He summarized the main points of CSHB 193(STA) as: normally closed [party primaries], a ballot for each party, and inclusion of those not registered with that party. He said he thought that CSHB 193(STA) was good policy and in keeping with what the U.S. Supreme Court said. He quoted from California Democratic Party v. Jones [Opinion of the Court]: ... the Court has recognized that the First Amendment protects "the freedom to join together in furtherance of common political beliefs," [Tashjian, supra, at 214-215], which "necessarily presupposes the freedom to identify the people who constitute the association, and to limit the association to those people only" [La Follette, 450 U.S., at 122]. Number 1805 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he thought it would be contrary to that [statement from the court opinion] for the state to force an open [primary] ballot upon [the political parties]. He also paraphrased from California Democratic Party v. Jones [Opinion of the Court]: ... a corollary of the right to association is the right not to associate. Thus, if parties are given the right to include people, it follows that parties also have the right to stay closed. He again paraphrased from California Democratic Party v. Jones [Opinion of the Court]: There is simply no substitute for a party's selecting its own candidates. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said that the whole idea of a primary election is to let parties put forward their own candidates. He acknowledged that in Alaska, many people have chosen not to affiliate with a party, but he said he thought that was partly because the state allows [undeclared and nonpartisan voters] to participate in determining a party's nominee. "We've got the cart before the horse here in Alaska," he said. And while he acknowledged that if parties stay closed, members would become "purists," he said he believed that at that point, the parties would be enlivened and thus bring forth a better mix [of candidates] for Alaska. Number 1737 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL recommended reading the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down California's Proposition 198, which changed California's partisan primary from a closed primary to a blanket primary. The CSHB 193(STA) version is more consistent with [the U.S. Supreme Court] decision than is the governor's original HB 193, he said. CHAIR ROKEBERG clarified that Version J actually agrees in very large part with Representative Coghill in terms of approach, with one major exception. That exception is found in Section 2; Version J would have an "opt out" provision for nonpartisan and undeclared voters, whereas CSHB 193(STA) has an "opt in" provision. He said at issue was the default mechanism. He said he believes that all political parties should, via statute, be able to invite the undeclared and independent voters of the state to participate in their primary without taking an active step. By contrast, CSHB 193(STA) requires that a party take an active step to invite people in. "I think we should be inclusive to start with and not exclusive, and that's the distinction," he concluded. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES agreed with Representative Coghill. She summarized his position as: the U.S. Supreme Court decision says parties have a right to choose who can vote for them, so the parties should have that choice and make that choice. By contrast, she said, Chair Rokeberg is saying that the legislature is going to make the choice that every voter is included in the primary, and then the parties have to take action if they do not want everyone included. She said she thought the latter course was automatically making a choice for the parties. Number 1574 CHAIR ROKEBERG disagreed with that analysis. "I think it still gives the party the right to make the choice," he said. "It's just where we start from, and what is the default ...." He suggested that the parties in Alaska should be forced to take overt action to exclude people, rather than to take overt action to include them. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded, "I believe that the Supreme Court decision said that we as ... parties have the right to choose our own candidates. If we want to let other people in, we have a right to do that. You're taking the other approach that ... a state ...[has] a right to include people and so therefore ... [the parties] have to do something to exclude them." She offered that her interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision was that [parties] had to so something if [parties] wanted to include more than [party members]. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL, to clarify a point, quoted from California Democratic Party v. Jones, Kennedy, J., concurring: A political party might be better served by allowing blanket primaries as a means of nominating candidates with a broader appeal. Under the First Amendment's guarantee of speech through free association, however, this is an issue for the party to resolve, not for the State. Number 1472 KATHRYN KURTZ, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel, Legislative Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, said she thinks both versions solve the big problem that is identified in the Jones decision, which is that parties cannot be forced to associate with people who don't share the parties' political beliefs. These two drafts take different approaches to getting parties out of that situation of forced association, but she does not think the Supreme Court's decision prescribes a particular solution to the problem. "I think you have options," she said. "I think both of these address the constitutional problem that we currently have in the statute." REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said the difference between prescription and direction is obvious. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH asked Ms. Kurtz to clarify what she meant by the two different versions. MS. KURTZ said the ones she was talking about were CSHB 193(STA) and [Version J]. The governor's [original HB 193] takes yet a different approach. She said she thought that all three [versions] provide ways in which a party can choose not to associate with people who don't share its political beliefs, and all three of them get at the major problem. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH said he had brought it up because Ms. Kurtz had not mentioned the governor's [original HB 193] and he wanted to make sure that that was included in the group of alternatives she thought were acceptable. Number 1313 AVRUM GROSS, Chair, Primary Election Task Force ("Task Force"), explained that the Task Force was asked by the Lieutenant Governor to give the legislature something to work on. The Task Force was made up of all the living lieutenant governors and former attorneys general. The intent was to reduce some of the debate. He also explained that the Task Force had tried to adhere as closely as possible to present law, which provides for a blanket primary. In a blanket primary, all of the candidates are listed on the ballot and anyone can vote for anyone regardless of party affiliation. The U.S. Supreme Court in the Jones case decided that a state that imposed that kind of a ballot on parties was interfering with political parties' rights of association. The court said that if a political party wished to limit the people who could participate in its primary, it had the right to do so. MR. GROSS said the first reason [the Task Force] started with the blanket primary was because that was in Alaska law, and the Task Force was trying to vary it as little as possible. The second reason is a public policy reason. It's one thing for parties to close the ballot; it's another thing for the state, which has set up a primary election system as the means of producing candidates for a general election, to close the system. If parties decide that they want to exclude people from voting in their primaries, they have every right to do that. But, he said, it seemed to him that it would require some sort of an affirmative act by the party, rather than the state's saying nobody but party members can participate in a primary election. Number 1135 MR. GROSS said that is the fundamental difference between CSHB 193(STA) and the recommendations of the Task Force. Both get to the same point, but [the original HB 193] ensures that if a party takes no action, the maximum number of people may participate, thereby encouraging maximum voter participation in elections. Mr. Gross observed that there doesn't seem to be much discussion over the deadlines for parties to notify the lieutenant governor of their choices, or for individuals to indicate their party affiliation. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she would prefer a system in which the political parties had to say, "I want to include," or "I want to exclude." Beyond that, she would rather not have primaries at all and just leave it to the parties to figure out how they are going to choose their candidates; however, she didn't think that option was available. She asked Mr. Gross to comment on her position. MR. GROSS noted that in the only known instance, a major party (the Republican Party) last year, by allowing only party members and independents to participate in its primary, had not shown any reluctance to exclude people. The Task Force had heard testimony from all of the political parties, and almost every one of them made it clear that they would choose to exclude members of other parties, particularly if those parties excluded them. Small parties were inclined to let only party members participate because they were afraid of being completely overwhelmed. However, he said, no one who testified before the Task Force raised the argument that Representative Coghill is making - which is not to say that it is not a good argument, simply that it was not raised - that having to rule out some people would put the parties under some pressure. Mr. Gross said he had seen no evidence to indicate that anyone would be uncomfortable or would find it difficult to "opt out." That being the case, the Task Force decided to leave the primaries open and let the parties limit participation as they saw fit. Number 0839 REPRESENTATIVE MEYER noted that voter turnout in last summer's primary election was "pathetic," and said people had told him, "It's because of your [Republican] party, Kevin, that we didn't participate." He asked Mr. Gross which, version [CSHB 193(STA) or Version J] would maximize voter participation. MR. GROSS replied: Let me answer that by suggesting there are three levels. The first [level] was the original [HB 193], ... which started off with everybody having a blanket primary ballot, and the parties reducing it as they saw fit. The second level is [Version J], in which ... party candidates run on a ballot for which members of that party and independents may vote ... (unless parties open it further ....) The third level down is ... CSHB 193(STA), which says that the only people who can vote in primary elections for a party's candidates are ... registered members [of that party], and then the parties can open it up beyond that ... [to independents, or beyond, to members of other parties].... All [versions] satisfy the Jones case because they allow the parties to make decisions .... The question [is] of whether parties have to take affirmative actions to open, or close. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER asked if [the procedure outlined in CSHB 193(STA)] was the same as what occurred last summer. MR. GROSS said no. Last summer, Independents and Republicans were allowed to vote in the Republican primary. The CSHB 193(STA) version says that only party members would get that party's ballot automatically, and then the party would have to affirmatively act to open it up to Independents. CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed out that both [CSHB 193(STA) and Version J] would differ from last year's primary in that there would not be an open or "other" ballot; there would just be a party ballot. MR. GROSS said the Task Force also had been concerned about last year's voter participation's being so dismal, "and I think that's another thing that motivated us to start with a blanket primary." REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted that there were several circumstances around the last primary that could have contributed to the dismal turnout. He mentioned the emergency regulations, a great deal of press coverage, a court case, and many uncontested races, saying there were too many dynamics involved to interpret the cause. Number 0588 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said although she believes there should not be primary elections for all races, there is an entirely different dynamic operating in the gubernatorial race. "You have a statewide vote and a limited amount of time for those candidates to get around to the entire state to be chosen, and so if you were to have any other kind of a system such as a convention or a caucus (which is the one I would prefer), you'd never be able to get a good feel, it would be easy to stack it," she said. She asked if it would be legal to have primaries just for gubernatorial candidates. MR. GROSS said he guessed [the state] probably could do that. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES continued, "So, we'd only be having a primary every four years." MR. GROSS said the reason the Task Force tried to stick as close as it could to existing law was because everybody has a different view about how to nominate candidates. In recognition of that and the fact that there is an election coming up next year, the Task Force was trying to narrow the choices. But it would be possible to do an infinite variety of things as long as they were reasonable and fair to all candidates. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said her experience indicates that intensive efforts within a precinct will get more people out to vote, and that is what caucuses would do. CHAIR ROKEBERG asked Mr. Gross to take off his "Task Force hat" and give his personal opinion as a long-time observer of the Alaskan political milieu. MR. GROSS said: I was perfectly content with the blanket primary. I realize that there are people who feel quite strongly that the parties were not nominating people who were pure enough for them, ... but I always could tell the difference. It seemed to me that the Republicans nominated people [whom] I could pretty well identify as Republicans, and the Democrats always seemed to nominate the people [whom] I could reasonably identify as Democrats, and whereas I may have disagreed with the voters' choice from time to time, I thought the system worked reasonably well in terms of getting different views in front of the voters. So [I think] a lot of the fears that people have ... about this are exaggerated. So to the extent that the Supreme Court ruled that parties could have a greater control over the election process than they had had in the past - because this is ... a state election process we're talking about ... - I believe we should recognize [the U.S. Supreme Court ruling], ... but at the same time, I would not vary the existing system any more than we had to. That's my own personal view. Number 0264 CHRISTIAN WARREN, Chairman, Election Committee, Libertarian Party, testified by teleconference. He agreed with Representative Coghill that the open ballot is going in the wrong direction. He also agreed that the salient point is that the parties have the right to exclude. He asked if the [Alaska State] Constitution mandates a primary, and asked the committee to consider that Alaska was recognized as a state through the agency of a constitutional convention. Mr. Warren said the mainline parties select their presidential aspirants through a straw poll, going from caucus to state convention, and selecting candidates via convention is a faithful application of the principles of republican government and follows Mr. Gross's advice about adhering as closely as possible to present law. Mr. Warren also agreed with Representative James about eliminating primaries. MR. WARREN noted that Washington State is in a similar dilemma is attempting to restructure its primaries, and he also noted a recent Associated Press story reporting that Washington's House Select Committee on Elections had written a bill providing for state conventions for major parties. At those conventions, endorsements would be made for partisan offices, and the endorsed candidates' names placed on the ballot automatically, with no need for declaration. He spoke in favor of choosing candidates through conventions, with participation limited to party members only, saying he thinks that upholds the principles of the Jones decision and is congruent with republican government. TAPE 01-56, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR ROKEBERG asked Mr. Warren if he understood the proposed CS, Version J. MR. WARREN explained that he was working from the premise that the U.S. Supreme Court decision was not a prescriptive [solution] but a proscriptive [solution], with the intention being to limit the interference of the state. He said that he thought the place to start was with the principle that parties have the right to exclude, and then take it from there. CHAIR ROKEBERG responded that there was no question that either of the alternatives being discussed provides that right. MR. WARREN countered that the question was one of the starting point. One alternative assumes that the parties are active participants in their own affairs, and that they can take it upon themselves to find out what suits them best. The other alternative assumes that [the parties] are passive agents that need to be directed by a "higher source," because [the parties] are in flux and need intermittent, if not constant, intervention by the state to provide guidance in their decisions. He added that [the Libertarian Party] thought the latter was a paternalistic way of viewing the situation. CHAIR ROKEBERG asked Mr. Warren if he was an official of the Libertarian Party. MR. WARREN explained that he was chair of the election committee, and that [any solution] that is worked out is of great interest to [the Libertarian Party]. He also explained that he was speaking as a representative of the [the Libertarian] Party; the executive committee had instructed him to attempt to convince [the House Judiciary Standing Committee] of the desirability of having caucuses and conventions in lieu of primaries. He added that because of the special rules regarding the election of the governor, he would accept the proposal voiced by Representative James to have a primary every four years exclusively for governor, and the rest of the time candidates could be managed through a convention. Mr. Warren concluded his remarks with the following observation: although Mr. Gross argued that his approach for blanket primaries would encourage greater [voter] turnout, that rational was explicitly rejected by the [U.S. Supreme] Court, which said that neither in the interest of privacy, increased turnout, greater choice, greater fairness, voter alienation, expansion beyond partisan thresholds, nor better representation was there a valid rational for blanket primaries. Number 0355 SARAH FELIX, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs Section, Civil Division (Juneau), Department of Law (DOL), noted that she had just received Version J. She said she wondered if the committee - via Version J - intended that the "nominating petition candidates" (the candidates who are not affiliated with a political party) would appear on the primary ballot of the political parties. She added that she did not see that issue addressed in Version J, and she needed to know if that was the intent in order to implement that type of provision. She noted that under current law, nominating petition candidates appear on the primary election ballot. CHAIR ROKEBERG said that if Ms. Felix meant individuals who file for office as nonpartisan or undeclared candidates, he did not intend for the names of those individuals to appear if they did not "draw a party." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES added that she did not see any reason [to have those names appear]. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if, historically, nonpartisan candidates have appeared on primary [ballots]. MS. FELIX responded that this had occurred, and was in fact required by existing law. CHAIR ROKEBERG commented that he thought that same question should be applicable to both Version J and CSHB 193(STA). MS. FELIX said that she had assumed from her reading of [CSHB 193(STA)] that those candidates would appear on the ballots provided for in that bill version. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL added that he thought [CSHB 193(STA)] was very clear; those names would not appear unless included in a partisan ballot. MS. FELIX said it seemed to her that [CSHB 193(STA)] included a provision to place those names on the ballot, and that [Version J] seemed different to her in that it precluded placing those names on the ballot. [She referenced language in Version J, Section 4, page 3, lines 6-7, which is identical to language in CSHB 193(STA), Section 4, page 2, line 31, and page 3, line 1.] She added that it was a technical point that she thought could be fixed. Number 0560 MS. KURTZ agreed with Ms. Felix that that point could be fixed, and she added that it should be fixed for clarity. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES reiterated that she did not see any reason to have the [names of nominating petition candidates] on the primary ballot. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH offered that the suggestion was to clarify in the legislation whether those names would be included. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he agreed that it should be clarified that those names would not be included on the ballot. He paraphrased again from [California Democratic Party v. Jones, Opinion of the Court]: The voter who feels himself disenfranchised should simply join the party. That may put him to a hard choice, but it is not a state-imposed restriction upon his freedom of association, whereas compelling party members to accept his selection of their nominee is a state-imposed restriction upon theirs. He added that he thought the parties should have the right to say [who is on their ballots], and it is wrong [for the state] to impose any restrictions upon parties unless those restrictions are self-imposed. Number 0698 CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that public testimony was closed. After noting that Representative Kookesh had two amendments, Chair Rokeberg inquired if both amendments were applicable to Version J. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH said that he thought they were. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES noted that the committee should decide whether to adopt Version J as a work draft before taking up any amendments. Number 0772 CHAIR ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt the proposed CS for HB 193, version 22-GH1089\J, Kurtz, 4/4/01, as a work draft. Number 0786 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected. He said that in his view, Version J went in the wrong direction. He added that he thought the committee should go in the direction of having parties allow the inclusion of other candidates on their primary ballots via an affirmative action. He opined that to do otherwise would be bad political policy, bad public policy, and bad legal policy, and would go in the wrong direction from the [U.S.] Supreme Court ruling. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES added that while she agreed with Representative Coghill, she could accept either Version J or CSHB 193(STA), but would not accept the original HB 193. CHAIR ROKEBERG, in defense of Version J, suggested that the poor turnout in last year's primary election was a direct result of the [U.S. Supreme Court decision] that raised this particular issue. Speaking as a candidate in the 1992 primary election, he surmised that the vast majority of people in the state resented closure of the primary. He added that as a new candidate he was reluctant to knock on many doors because of poor reception due to the closure of the primary. He also said that he thought the "body politic" of Alaska rejected the concept [of closed primaries]. He noted that he was putting himself on the side of the Primary Election Task Force by offering [with Version J] a position of openness as the default with regard to primary election ballots. He said that because he believed that both case law and the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it, he wanted primary ballots to be inclusive for nonpartisan and undeclared voters, which make up in excess of 50 percent of registered Alaskan voters. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she understood Chair Rokeberg's position on that issue and she agreed that that was the attitude of the public. She suggested, however, "If that's a direction we want to go in, then maybe we should file as 'N's or use our 'I's and let all those people support us, that are in our group." CHAIR ROKEBERG noted further that both Version J and CSHB 193(STA) allow the party to be completely exclusive. The nuance is the point at which exclusion starts. He said he did not disagree with the opinion of either the [U.S. Supreme] Court, the Republican Party, or most other political parties, that parties shall have the right to exclude if they so desire; both Version J and CSHB 193(STA) embody the right to exclude. Number 1045 REPRESENTATIVE MEYER commented that he agreed with the statements made by Chair Rokeberg. He added that during his own primary race, many undeclared [voters], Independents, and conservative Democrats would have voted for him if not for the closed primary. He also said that with so many Independents and undeclared [voters] in the state (and certainly in his district), there was a need for a "user friendly" system. Further, he said that he thought it would be easier for the parties to adjust rather than ask the voters to adjust to the parties. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL concluded that [Version J] would force "inclusion" on the party - that is, the party would be presumed open - unless the party specifically chooses to exclude. He opined that that was backward; he said that instead, he wanted to be able to say to a party that it had a right to be "purist" if it wished, or to be inclusive if so stated in the party's rules. With Version J, the state would be compelling a party to include voters who had not had anything to do with building that party. CHAIR ROKEBERG declared, "Absolutely not. I disagree with you entirely. The party has every right to close the primary under both versions." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES called for the question. Number 1170 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kookesh, Meyer, and Rokeberg voted for the adoption of proposed CS for HB 193, version 22-GH1089\J, Kurtz, 4/4/01, as a work draft. Representatives James and Coghill voted against it. Therefore, Version J was adopted as a work draft by a vote of 3-2. Number 1188 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH made a motion to adopt Amendment 1, which, after being altered to conform to Version J, read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Page 3, line 3, Add a new subsection "(d) If a political party's bylaws do not permit voters not registered with a political party or registered with another political party to participate in that political party's primary ballot, all costs incurred by the state to administer that political party's primary election shall be reimbursed by that political party" REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH explained that while he suspected that Amendment 1 would not pass, he wanted to have it on record. He went on to say, "There is only, in reality, one political party [the Republican Party] that is asking for a closed primary in the state; I have not seen anybody else step up and ask for one. And it is my opinion that if you want a closed primary, then you ought to pay for it." He also noted that in this legislature, many individuals have said that costs to the state will continue to be cut; thus, when looking at [the issue] of a closed primary, which is only being requested by one political party, the cost alone (last year's closed primary cost $270,000) would cover the cost of 4.5 Village Public Safety Officers (VPSOs) in rural Alaska. He said his intention in offering Amendment 1 was to have on record his recognition that funds for a closed primary could be better spent on other purposes (such as VPSOs). Number 1320 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES objected. Number 1375 A roll call vote was taken. Representative Kookesh voted for Amendment 1. Representatives James, Coghill, Meyer, and Rokeberg voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 failed by a vote of 1-4. Number 1390 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH made a motion to adopt Amendment 2, which, after being altered to conform to Version J, read as follows: Page 3, line 12 Delete "not" Page 3, line 12, following "writing" Delete "or pasting in" Number 1392 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES objected. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH explained that the reason for deleting "not" was because he would like the ability to have write-in blanks for the primary election, and the deletion of "or pasting in" was in recognition that pasting names on a ballot would have adverse effects on the "Accu-Vote" machine. Number 1448 GAIL FENUMIAI, Election Program Specialist, Division of Elections, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, confirmed that sticking or pasting names on the ballot would gum up the "reader heads" of the Accu-Vote machine. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH further explained that Version J currently says, "Blank spaces may not be provided", and Amendment 2 would allow names to be written (or stamped) in, although not pasted in, on the ballot. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER asked Chair Rokeberg why blank spaces were precluded from ballots in Version J. CHAIR ROKEBERG suggested directing the question to Representative Coghill because that language in Version J was taken directly from CSHB 193(STA) [which, in turn, was taken from HB 193]. MS. KURTZ explained that current statutes do not allow write-in names on ballots in the primary election, just in the general election. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if it says somewhere else in the election laws that write-in [candidates] are not allowed in primaries. MS. KURTZ said she was not sure if it appears elsewhere or only in the section that is being repealed and re-enacted by [Version J]. It is complicated because there are a lot of references to write-ins throughout the statutes, so she did not want to answer off the top of her head. "The way this is would maintain the status quo on write-ins," she said. Number 1615 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she thought the only way a person can get on the primary ballot now is by filing as a party member or coming forward with a petition signed by a certain number of voters. The latter route is only for non-party members. But for the general election, she said she thought anyone, including a party member, can get on the ballot by petition. MS. KURTZ said currently, if a person qualifies by petition, his or her name goes on the primary election ballot. A person who does not succeed in the primary can also file as a write-in candidate in the general election. It used to be the case that all the names of candidates by petition just went straight to the general election ballot, rather than being in the primary. That is no longer the case. Now they go in the primary. In response to a question by Representative James, she said she did not know why that change had been made. CHAIR ROKEBERG asked if they would still be allowed on the primary ballot under this [Version J]. MS. KURTZ said that is the question that came up earlier because it was unclear. CHAIR ROKEBERG remembered that was to be Conceptual Amendment 3, and the committee would address that issue next. [Still before the committee was the question of Amendment 2.] REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH expressed continuing concern about the paste-in part [that Amendment 2 would address]. CHAIR ROKEBERG said by leaving [that portion of Version J] alone, the committee was prohibiting it. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she thought it might be necessary to come back and fix it again if Amendment 2 were adopted. She said, "I see absolutely no reason to have any candidates on a primary election [ballot] if they're not competing with anybody." CHAIR ROKEBERG observed that Version J reads, "Blank spaces may not be provided on the ballot for the writing or pasting in of names." Thus it was prohibited. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH indicated he did not want to withdraw Amendment 2. Number 1765 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kookesh and James voted for Amendment 2. Representatives Coghill, Meyer, and Rokeberg voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 2-3. CHAIR ROKEBERG concluded, "So we have the status quo, where we're prohibiting the writing in of names and 'paste-ons,' on the primary ballot only." MS. KURTZ confirmed, "This is only about primary election ballots, so here we're saying you can't leave spaces to write in or paste in names on the primary ballot." Number 1778 CHAIR ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Conceptual Amendment 3, "which would exclude from any party's ballot the names of any nonpartisan or undeclared candidates," who he surmised were those who had qualified by petition. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES questioned whether [those names] would go directly to the general election ballot. MS. KURTZ said that used to be the case, but now [names of nominating petition candidates] go on the primary election ballot. CHAIR ROKEBERG said this committee wants to exclude [those names] entirely. MS. KURTZ asked, "Is your wish to exclude them by putting them on the general [election ballot]?" Number 1831 CHAIR ROKEBERG said yes, that the committee wanted to prohibit their names appearing on any primary ballots. He asked if that was the sense of the committee. After noting there was no objection, Chair Rokeberg announced that Conceptual Amendment 3 was adopted. Number 1841 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES moved to report CSHB 193, version 22- GH1089\J, Kurtz, 4/4/01, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH objected. Number 1850 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Coghill, Meyer, James, and Rokeberg voted in favor of moving CSHB 193, version 22-GH1089\J, Kurtz, 4/4/01, as amended. Representative Kookesh voted against it. Therefore, CSHB 193(JUD) was reported out of the House Judiciary Standing Committee by vote of 4-1.