Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall’s(Democrat) office has broken new ground by allowing a candidate to add his photo and statement to the 2016 Primary Voter’s Guide after the deadline has passed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time this has ever happened in Thurston County. The rules dictating when information must be received by the Auditor’s office is set in stone, and was not flexible. Until now.
We the Governed published an article a few days ago providing an outline of the five candidates who filed to run for the Thurston County Commissioner seat, District 1. We had a copy of the draft Primary Voter’s Guide page from the Thurston County Auditor’s office which had clearly indicated that Allen Miller, one of the most experienced politicians in the race, had failed to get his photo or statement into the Auditor’s office before the deadline.
Usually, once a draft page like this is sent out to all the candidates running for that office, it becomes a very stringent rule that no further submissions or significant changes can be made to the voter’s guide. The primary reason for the rigidity of this administrative rule is that if competitive candidates could see their opponent’s statements in advance, then they could adjust their own, and it would provide a competitive advantage to the last candidate. That rule stood the test of time and prevented any candidate or partisan favoritism until now.
Here is a copy of the original voter’s guide page draft for the Thurston County Commissioner District 1:
As you can plainly see, Allen Miller had no photo and no statement. This happens all the time in local races, but usually it is considered an amateaur mistake or laziness on the part of the candidate. We were hard on Allen Miller for this mistake in our article, and his campaign deserved ridicule for this error. However, Allen Miller contacted me and provided an alternative voter’s guide draft which I’ve attached here:
After communicating directly with candidate Allen Miller and calling the elections office to get to the bottom of the story, I need to clarify
this new situation in this race. Allen Miller’s campaign claims they got a photo and statement submitted in time, but due to a typo in the email address, it was never received by the Auditor’s office. Again, whether the dog ate the voter’s guide statement or some other tragedy intervened, historically, the excuse hasn’t mattered and a candidate would be out of luck.
However, for the first time ever, it appears that the Thurston County Auditor’s office’s “deadlines” have some flexibility. We now call this the “Allen Miller Rule.” Here is how it worked for him, and although I don’t suggest any Republicans try this, if you are a Democrat or have ties to the Auditor’s office, you might pull it off:
- Report that your “statement and photo” that missed the deadline was sent to the wrong address.
- Receive your competitor’s photos and statements for reference.
- Contact the Auditor’s office and convince them you sent the documents to the wrong address.
- Sign an affidavit confirming that you made no changes to your photo or statement after seeing your competitors’ statements.
- Invoke the “Allen Miller Rule” and presto, you are back in the game.
Here is what the voter’s guide statement will actually look like in the final 2016 Thurston County Primary Voter’s Guide:
Jim Cooper gets preferred position on the first page (coincidentally, his wife works in the elections department at the Thurston County Auditor’s office), justly deserved if you are one of the Democrat establishment who have been anticipating his impending “coronation.” If you want to know more about Jim Cooper see this article we wrote here. It appears that John Hutchings got bounced from the first page to the second page, which is tough for him.
In the end, Allen Miller deserves kudos for his campaign’s canniness. Although his campaign amateurishly botched the original statement photo submission process, he rebounded and in coordination with Democrat Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall forged an exception to a longstanding rule, now called the “Allen Miller Rule.” Impressive new precedent is created, rules are broken, and an interesting election in Thurston County is sure to follow…
Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.” It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people. It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government. It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.” Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed…
For more background on this story and source documents:
For More Background on Thurston County: