So much for more low-income people running for city office. Christal Wood has lost her case.
On June 22, King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick ruled against Wood’s challenge to candidate fees collected in Seattle. Under current rules, to run for Sally Clark’s seat on the Seattle City Council, Wood would have to pay $966, an amount equal to 1 percent of Clark’s salary. The King County Elections division offers an alternative—collecting 966 valid signatures. But Wood had argued that, either way, a lack of resources precludes low-income persons from being able to participate in the free and equal elections guaranteed by the Washington State Constitution.
Erlick disagreed with Wood, ruling that “free and equal” pertains to the right to vote, not the right to run for office. Wood is considering an appeal of the judge’s decision.
“If we were talking about an equal protection between gender or race, then he would have looked at it with a little more scrutiny,” Wood says. “But the judge’s values are not with protecting low-income people from anything. It’s not surprising.”