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King County

Charter Amendment No. 1
Nonpartisan Prosecuting Attorney

Shall the King County Charter be amended to make the elected office of King County prosecuting attorney nonpartisan?



As provided in King County Ordinance No. 18308, if this proposed charter amendment is approved, the office of county prosecuting attorney would be elected according to general law governing nonpartisan elections with the first nonpartisan election occurring at the next regularly scheduled election for prosecuting attorney in 2018. Nonpartisan elections for the office would be held every four years thereafter. Vacancies would be filled pursuant to general law governing vacancies for nonpartisan county elective office with interim and acting officials appointed as provided in section 681.10 of the charter.

For questions about this measure, contact: Nick Wagner, Principal Legislative Analyst, 206-477-0894,

In 2008, voters made all elected positions in King County non-partisan except for Prosecuting Attorney.  It makes no sense that the only office in King County that remains partisan is the Prosecuting Attorney.  The prosecutor is a position concerned with justice and is not a place for partisan politics.  This is an important criminal justice reform.

Help strengthen the fairness, independence and integrity of our judicial system.  Our judicial system is the heart of our democracy.  It is the ultimate check on governmental power, and the place where law, fairness and justice must rule.   Key to the criminal justice system is the prosecutor, who decides whether to charge individuals with a crime, seek prison time and even the death penalty.  

These life and death decisions must not only be fair, people must believe they are fair.  King County has a proud history of prosecuting attorneys who acted for justice, and not for political reasons.  But this should be the law.

Since the three of us are not in the same political party, it is rare that we can agree on something.  But we all strongly believe that the King County Prosecutor position should be non-partisan.  Improve the system.  Vote Yes.

Party labels provide vital information to voters about candidates’ values and positions. Charter Amendment 1 takes that information away.  We urge you to protect informed voting by voting No on this measure.

We all dislike highly partisan politics. Representatives of both parties must work together to solve problems and serve our common interest.  The gridlock in Congress and state legislatures across our great nation is a disservice to all of us.

We also believe that informed voters are the foundation of a strong democracy.  Voters cannot make informed choices unless they know what candidates stand for.

Knowing a candidate’s political party shines a spotlight on the values and beliefs guiding their decisions. It helps voters understand the differences between candidates.

Taking away party labels forces many voters to choose between candidates they know almost nothing about. More troubling are studies that show voters in this situation consistently turn (consciously or subconsciously) to whatever other cues are available, such as the ethnicity of a candidate’s last name or a candidate’s gender.

It’s crucial that we protect informed voting and continue to know which party our candidates for King County Prosecutor belong to. We strongly urge you to vote No

It is time to remove party labels from the job of County prosecutor.  As opponents acknowledge, partisan politics is hurting our democracy.  This is why party affiliations have no place in criminal investigations or prosecutions.  A prosecutor is qualified not by the political party that appears on a campaign sign, but by experience, integrity and a commitment to justice.  We trust that informed voters don’t need party labels to judge the merits of individual candidates. 

Submitted by: Jenny Durkan, Mike McKay, Christopher T. Bayley,

In an ideal world, party labels wouldn’t be needed. But in a time when politics on the national level dominates media coverage, these labels easily tell voters the fundamental beliefs and values of those they are entrusting with the public’s well-being. Voters deserve to know if the person making life and death decisions sides with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Submitted by: Jaxon Ravens, Aaron Ostrom,

Simple majority (King County Charter, Section 800)

For questions about this measure, contact: Nick Wagner, Principal Legislative Analyst, 206-477-0894,

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