Don’t Be Late Getting Those Ballots Turned in Today

OLYMPIA... With the August 17 Primary Election, Secretary of State Sam Reed is reminding Washington voters to take part in the Primary by filling out and returning their ballots.

"This year's Primary features many important races, including a U.S. Senate seat, congressional, legislative and judicial races, plus many county and local contests," said Reed, the state's chief elections officer. "If you want your voice heard, fill out your ballot and turn it in by Election Night."

While many Washingtonians already have filled out and returned their ballots, Reed said, a large percentage of voters either forget or put it off until the last minute.

Online Guides Available to Aide Washington Voters

OLYMPIA – As Washington’s third running of the Top 2 Primary gets under way in just a few days, Secretary of State Sam Reed notes that the state Elections Division, in partnership with the County Auditors and TVW television, is providing a significant amount of information for Washington voters.

The state’s budget crunch doesn’t allow publication of a state Voters’ Pamphlet for the primary, but there is plenty of good, solid, unfiltered information for voters who want to do their homework, the state’s chief elections officer said Tuesday.

“Through our excellent `My Vote’ customized information service for individuals, our Online Voters’ Guide, our partnership with TVW’s Video Voters’ Guide, and county election websites, great information is just a mouse-click away on home or library computer,” Reed said.

Union to pay teachers for campaign violations

OLYMPIA—The Washington Education Association (WEA) has agreed to return $225,000 to teachers after using their wages for the union’s political agenda without their authorization. This settlement ends a nine-year lawsuit that included an appeal the U.S. Supreme Court in which the high court ruled in favor of the teachers, Davenport v. WEA. The suit began when the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (EFF) filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission. To date, the WEA has been ordered or agreed to pay over $1 million for violating teachers’ rights in this case.

Teachers in Washington are generally required to pay for union representation as a condition of employment. Teachers who decline to join the union must also pay union fees, but are given protections in state law to ensure protection of their First Amendment rights. Specifically, RCW 42.17.760 required unions to get permission from nonmembers before using their payments for political activity. (The legislature amended the law in 2007, significantly weakening its free speech protections for union-represented employees.)

Washington Court Limits Child Pornography Charges, New Sentencing for Grays Harbor Resident

     OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has ruled that defendants accused of possessing multiple images of child pornography can only be prosecuted for a single offense, not multiple counts based on the number of images or children involved.

The court decision Thursday upheld an appeals court ruling ordering a new sentencing in Grays Harbor County Superior Court for Randy Sutherby on a single count. He had originally been convicted of 10.

The Supreme Court says the proper unit for child pornography prosecution is one count per possession, rather than for each image or each child. The court separately reversed Sutherby's convictions for child
rape and child molestation, because his lawyer was ineffective. He had been accused of assaulting a 5-year-old girl in 2004. Investigators found pictures in his computer.