Deadline to postmark, return ballots is hours away

November 6, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 6, 2011

The deadline is approaching to postmark or return ballots.

Tuesday is the last chance for voters to cast ballots in local races — City Council and Issaquah School Board — and statewide ballot measures — including liquor privatization and tolling initiatives. Ballots must postmarked by Tuesday or slipped into a ballot drop box by 8 p.m.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed forecast 47 percent statewide for the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot.

County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

Reed said about half should be processed and returned to county elections offices by Election Day. Expect the local elections office to release the initial results after 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, and 10 other sites countywide host drop boxes.

“I personally urge all Washingtonians to take part in this important election,” Reed said in a statement. “We may not have exciting statewide or national races to vote on this year, but the election still is consequential. We have many local officeholders to choose and state and local propositions to decide.”

The liquor measure, Initiative 1183, and Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, Initiative 1125, dominate most discussions about the election. No statewide offices appear on the ballot in November.

Issaquah-based Costco is the major supporter behind I-1183, a push to remove the state from the liquor business. I-1125 aims to change rules to allow state lawmakers, rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

The ballot also includes Initiative 1163 — a measure sponsored by the Service Employees International Union to address homecare workers’ certification and training.

State lawmakers also placed noncontroversial constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 addresses a residency requirement for presidential voting outlined in the state constitution. The measure is meant to bring state law into synch with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Senate Joint Resolution 8206 calls for the state “rainy day” reserve fund to require contribution of a portion of “extraordinary” revenue in the future.

“All Washington voters will have the final say on three citizen initiatives, including one that has attracted record spending by national players,” Reed said. “We also have two amendments to our state Constitution.”

Voters still waiting to receive a ballot should call the King County Elections hotline at 206-296-VOTE.

“So take a few minutes and fill out your ballot, following all directions, including signing your signature in the designated space,” Reed said. “It’s simple – and so important for self-government. Don’t count yourself out.”

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