Let your voice be heard on Election Day

Maybe you're among the thousands who have called our office to protest Washington's new primary.

Maybe you sent an e-mail like Scott Lasher, who writes, "This new system takes away my choice, my vote, my voice."

Maybe you returned the publication we sent to each household on the new voting rules because you strongly believe this is the wrong system for Washington.

I agree and feel the sensitivity myself.

I admire your passion.

I share your passion.

For 30 years, voting has been my life.

Throughout my career I've traveled worldwide and witnessed those taking part in their first democracy ever.

That is something to see.

I admire your willingness to speak your mind whether you support the changes to our primary.

The right to protest and debate issues on their merits has built this state, and we are better for it.

Whatever your view of Washing-ton's 2004 Primary, I urge you to vote Tuesday, Sept. 14.

You can express your view on the new system by contacting the Legislature (www.leg.wa.gov) or by voting on an initiative in November.

If you're adamant about not "picking a party," you can vote the nonpartisan races only (like judges) and for or against statewide measures.

But vote.

Have your voice heard.

Hang on tightly to one of our most precious rights.

I fought for our blanket primary.

And when the last court ruling came down and Washington could no longer hold a legal "blanket" primary, I fought for something similar.

I deeply believe in voting for the person, not the party.

But current election law requires us to pick one political party to vote in partisan races.

And I will vote Tuesday, Sept. 14.

I knew it would be controversial.

I expected the letters, the e-mail and the phone calls.

I commend the citizen who is speaking out and pounding on an elected official's door.

And if you're among the thousands protesting this primary, please join more than a million who will have their voices heard Election Day.

Sam Reed is the secretary of state for Washington.

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