King County turnout reached 84 percent in November election

November 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 28, 2012

King County matched the record for voter turnout in a presidential election, and achieved other milestones in the Nov. 6 contest, officials announced late Tuesday after certifying the results.

Countywide, voters returned 993,908 ballots for about 84 percent turnout, a similar figure to the record turnout set during the 2008 presidential election, although the elections office received more ballots in 2012.

The county set records for registered voters — 1,170,638 — and for the number of ballots tallied on election night — about 556,000.

“Voters responded to our messaging this year and returned their ballots early,” Elections Director Sherril Huff said in a statement. “We counted a record high of 556,000 ballots on election night and the number of ballots received too late to process was down 76 percent.”

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King County voters return ballots, shatter records

November 6, 2012

Cathy Gulezian, of Maple Valley (left), watches sons Brady, 2, and Dylan, 4, place ballots for her and husband Ken in a ballot drop box attended by King County Elections workers Michele Phelps and Jon Gentry at Issaquah City Hall. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 7 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The ballot drop box outside Issaquah City Hall transformed into a nucleus of activity as Election Day stretched into night, and voters raced to deposit ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline.

King County Elections staffers, dressed in aprons the same shade as traffic cones, directed voters to the secure box. The elections office opened the box last month and, as the ballot deadline approached and after post offices closed, more and more ballot-toting voters arrived.

“Unlike during tax season, the post office does not stay open longer hours for voting,” said Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman.

Staffers plan to use atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide. If a line forms for a drop box, voters in line at 8 p.m., can still submit ballots.

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Change in geography alters landscape for congressional race

October 23, 2012

Karen Porterfield

Dave Reichert

The showdown in the 8th Congressional District is far different from the most recent contests for the seat.

Incumbent Republican Dave Reichert held on amid spirited challenges from Democrats in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Redistricting last year reshaped the landscape for the district, and the 2012 race is not attracting the same kind of attention — or money — as the earlier battles.

Reichert’s opponent is Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield, a nonprofit professional and adjunct instructor at Seattle University.

Porterfield grew up in Seattle, in a family active in Democratic politics, and settled in Issaquah more than a decade ago. She said the expertise she gained in affordable housing development and in leadership roles at nonprofit organizations means she could offer a unique perspective in Congress.

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King County could break election record

November 2, 2010

NEW — 9:40 p.m. Nov. 2, 2010

King County Elections included results from 373,941 ballots in the initial tally released Tuesday night, and the county could set a record for mail voting in the days head.

Contests to represent Issaquah in the Legislature produced some surprises and close races in the initial results.

The office received more than 120,000 ballots in the mail Tuesday. The next round of results is due to be released at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

King County has estimated a total election return of about 720,000 ballots — or 68 percent of voters. The tally released Wednesday should reflect about 45,000 additional ballots.

The return could set a record. The elections office received 650,000 ballots during the 2008 presidential election, the current record holder.

The office expects to receive a greater amount of mail Wednesday, because many voters waited until Election Day to mark and return ballots.

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Jimmy Carter offers another chapter on tumultuous presidency

October 19, 2010

Former president brings book tour to Costco

Jimmy Carter owes a lot to Richard Nixon.

Sure, the Watergate scandal set the stage for the Washington outsider persona Carter cultivated on the stump in 1976, but the former peanut farmer credits Nixon for something else: the reason he started a diary.

Former President Jimmy Carter signs copies of ‘Living Faith’ during a 1996 stop at the Issaquah Costco. File

Back in the early 1970s, Carter and future first lady Rosalynn attended a White House reception.

Carter, then the governor of Georgia, had not met a president before.

“Nixon reached out to my wife and he shook her hand and said, ‘Young lady, do you keep a diary?’ Rosalynn said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Well, you ought to keep a diary to let people know in future years what happened to you at the White House,” Carter recalled in a phone interview last week.

The idea lingered and Carter, then a little-known Southerner, put pen to paper. Nixon, of course, preferred to tape record.

Carter recounts the prescient scene in the opening pages of “White House Diary,” the annotated, edited and candid account of a tumultuous era.

The former president — in the midst of a national tour to promote the tome — is due in Issaquah next week to sign copies at Costco. (Carter last appeared at the local Costco on a 1996 book tour.)

“I think a lot of people are intrigued by my personal insights into the struggles and achievements and doubts and fears and accomplishments — and sometimes failures — of an incumbent president,” he said.

Carter, 86, outlined parallels between the political squabbles of a generation ago and the present day.

“Many issues carried over from my time — and I had a very difficult time dealing with them — and are now on the desk of President Obama,” he said.

The nettlesome struggle to foster peace in the Middle East, questions about energy policy, a hostile regime in Iran and a lethargic economy — for the record, Carter did not use the word “malaise” — continue to shape the debate in the other Washington.

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Ballots head to voters as state predicts record turnout

October 11, 2010

NEW — 3 p.m. Oct. 11, 2010

King County voters should start to receive ballots and voters’ pamphlets in the mail this week.

In addition to the county voters’ guide, the Secretary of State’s Office has a mailed a guide to state and federal races.

Voting starts as soon as voters receive their ballots. The elections office has 11 ballot drop boxes, including a box at Issaquah City Hall. The county also plans to open accessible voting centers Wednesday for voters with disabilities.

Ballots must be postmarked or dropped off by 8 p.m. Nov. 2, Election Day. Track returned ballots here.

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The Hot List

February 23, 2010

- Movie: ‘Shutter Island’

Ehrik Aldana

Touted as filmmaker Martin Scorcese’s first venture into the horror genre, “Shutter Island,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, follows a U.S. marshal’s venture onto an island for the criminally insane. The film is adapted by the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, author of other novels adapted into film, including “Mystic River” and “Gone Baby Gone.” Read more

Off The Press

January 27, 2009

The possibilities are at last endless for all

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar Press photographer

An open letter to the students in Susan Adler’s fifth-grade classroom at Issaquah Valley Elementary School:

Congratulations on your opportunity to watch Barack Obama’s inauguration as president! You set a great example of patriotism and knowledge about how our government works by the amount of attention you gave to the ceremony. It sounded like your teacher had taught you a lot leading up to the day. Read more

Skyline students attend swearing-in ceremony

January 27, 2009

inaug-shs-event-20090120

Thirty-five Skyline High School students, humanities teacher Rob Rosemont and three chaperones spent three days learning about history and attending the inauguration. Here, they pose in front of their bus. Contributed

American politics and government took on a whole new meaning for 35 Skyline High School students, their government teacher and three chaperones, after experiencing the presidential inauguration firsthand Jan. 20. Read more