Top elections official predicts strong voter participation

October 17, 2012

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Oct. 17, 2012

The top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, predicted strong voter participation in the Nov. 6 election, as counties started mailing ballots to voters Wednesday.

Statewide, county-level elections administrators sent more than 3.85 million ballots to registered voters. King County Elections is due to mail 1.16 million ballots.

Reed said intense interest in the contests for president and governor — plus ballot measures and other statewide races — should lead to strong voter participation.

“The presidential/gubernatorial election year always has the best turnout, and this year really has something for everyone,” he said in a statement. “We have a presidential race that is essentially tied at the national level and an open governor’s race that is very close and hotly contested.”

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King County carves up rural communities into service areas

July 24, 2012

King County could carve unincorporated neighborhoods — including Four Creeks and Klahanie just outside Issaquah — into community service areas, if a plan proposed July 19 is put into action.

The proposal is the latest in a yearslong effort to change the way county government and unincorporated communities interact. King County Executive Dow Constantine characterized the effort as a reform measure to ease access to government for residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

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King County carves unincorporated communities into service areas

July 20, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. July 20, 2012

King County could carve unincorporated neighborhoods — including Four Creeks and Klahanie just outside Issaquah — into community service areas, if a plan proposed Thursday is put into action.

The proposal is the latest in a yearslong effort to change the way county government and unincorporated communities interact. King County Executive Dow Constantine characterized the effort as a reform measure to ease access to government for residents in rural and unincorporated areas.

“These new community service areas will provide a vehicle and a point of contact for residents to talk to county staff about the things they care about, like public health and public safety,” he said in a statement.

In a companion proposal, Constantine also introduced legislation to change the relationship among the county and the unincorporated area councils, a group of citizen-led boards responsible for relations between unincorporated area residents and the county government based in Seattle.

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Ballots for August primary to reach voters soon

July 10, 2012

Ballots should start to arrive in King County voters’ mailboxes in the days ahead.

The summer primary — bumped up to Aug. 7 to accommodate military and overseas voters — allows local voters a chance to decide a property tax measure and cull the field in federal, judicial, legislative and statewide contests.

The electorate selects the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

In the 5th Legislative District, voters must narrow the field of Republican Chad Magendanz, Democrat David Spring and independent candidate Ryan Burkett in the race for a state House of Representatives seat.

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Candidates receive boost from Municipal League of King County

July 10, 2012

Issaquah candidates for the Legislature received top marks from the Municipal League of King County, as the nonpartisan organization ranked candidates a little more than a month before the Aug. 7 primary.

The league ranks candidates through a rigorous process during each election cycle. The ratings provide a tool for voters — plus fodder for candidates’ campaign mailers and websites.

Evaluators scrutinize candidate records, check references, review candidate questionnaires and interview the electoral hopefuls. The league rates candidates on a set of criteria: involvement, character, effectiveness and knowledge.

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Issaquah surpasses 31,000 residents in latest population estimate

July 3, 2012

Issaquah surpassed 31,000 residents in the past year, as population growth continues to inch upward after a decade of rapid expansion.

The latest tally from the state indicates Issaquah added 460 people last year to reach 31,150 residents. The state Office of Financial Management released the information June 25 for the period from April 1, 2011, to April 1, 2012.

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Issaquah candidates receive boost in Municipal League rankings

July 2, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. July 2, 2012

Issaquah candidates for the Legislature received top marks from the Municipal League of King County, as the nonpartisan organization ranked candidates a little more than a month before the Aug. 7 primary.

In the 5th Legislative District, state Senate candidate Mark Mullet and state House of Representatives candidate Chad Magendanz impressed Muni League evaluators.

Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, earned a very good rating from the group. The league ranked Mullet’s GOP opponent, Snoqualmie businessman Brad Toft, as good.

Magendanz, a Republican and Issaquah School Board member, received a coveted outstanding rating from the Muni League.

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Washington is No. 1 state for bicyclists — again

June 5, 2012

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fifth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

“With support from the highest levels of government, (Washington) leads the nation in creating new bicycle infrastructure and using federal funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects,” the league noted in the announcement.

Statewide, the number of people bicycling has increased 116 percent in the past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

The announcement came as Washington celebrated National Bike Month in May. The annual observance is meant to encourage citizens to bicycle to work, on errands and for recreation.

Campaign season starts as candidates file for election

May 22, 2012

The ballot voters receive in the mailbox by late July is all but certain to contain some familiar names, as elected officials campaign for higher offices and other candidates try another run for elected office.

The period for candidates to enter races up for election on the August and November ballots ended May 18 in a buzz of activity.

Local voters face choices in countywide, legislative, statewide and federal offices.

Voters pick the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, Aug. 7 in the all-mail primary election. The top vote recipients then advance to an all-mail general election Nov. 6.

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King County mails voter registration cards to reflect redistricting changes

May 22, 2012

King County Elections is mailing updated voter registration cards to all King County voters.

The elections office started sending the cards May 21. The cards identify a voter’s precinct, and congressional, legislative and King County Council districts. Many districts changed late last year due to post-Census 2010 redistricting.

The recent redistricting affected more than 600,000 of the 1.1 million registered voters in the county.

Officials plan to mail ballots for the Aug. 7 primary election July 18, so mailing the voter registration cards in May allows time for the county to update records before the primary.

Voters can reach the elections office at www.kingcounty.gov/elections. Or call 206-296-VOTE. Visit elections headquarters at 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton.

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