King County matches turnout record in election

December 4, 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 Nov. 27 after certifying the results.

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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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In local legislative contests, outside spending reshapes races

November 27, 2012

Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet raised $315,166 in the race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate and garnered 36,630 votes throughout the 5th Legislative District.

The total raised amounts to about $8.60 per vote for the ubiquitous campaign mailers, yard signs and TV spots, and online advertising in Mullet’s successful race against Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft.

Toft collected $306,599 and received 30,683 votes districtwide — or about $9.99 per vote.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 27, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District.

The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

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Mark Mullet elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

November 13, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night Nov. 6 moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate reached a coda in the days after the Nov. 6 election, but not before more public friction between the candidates.

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Dave Reichert wins another term in Congress

November 13, 2012

Dave Reichert

Redistricting ended almost a decade of close challenges for control in the 8th Congressional District, as voters re-elected Republican Dave Reichert by a comfortable margin after a campaign unlike other recent contests for the seat.

In a landslide, Reichert, a former King County sheriff and Auburn Republican, defeated Issaquah Democrat Karen Porterfield, a nonprofit professional and adjunct instructor at Seattle University.

Reichert held on amid vigorous challenges from Democrats in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, but redistricting last year reshaped the district. The state commission responsible for redrawing the political map snipped Eastside cities from the district and added Eastern Washington communities.

The result created a seat observers said is reliably Republican — and offered little suspense as Election Day came to a close. Reichert led by 18 points in the initial election night results and continued to hold a commanding lead.

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Maria Cantwell discusses jobs, stumps for votes in Gilman Village

November 13, 2012

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell focused on the economy and education during a campaign stop at Issaquah’s Gilman Village early Nov. 2, and urged voters to return ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Maria Cantwell

Cantwell’s 26-city “Jobs for Washington” bus tour across the state stopped at the Issaquah Coffee Co. In remarks to a group of sign-toting Democrats and local dignitaries, she emphasized efforts to aid small businesses since the economy collapsed in 2008.

“In my opinion, a lot of money went to Wall Street and the five big banks, and Main Street got the short end of the stick,” she said. “Well, we worked hard to try to correct that by passing a new bill to help support community banks who would lend to small business. In fact, that program helped banks from Issaquah to Bellingham increase their lending to small businesses by as much as 24 percent.”

Cantwell said Eastside residents — and a workforce defined by Boeing engineers and Microsoft programmers — value quality education.

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Issaquah drop box buzzes as voters return ballots, shatter records

November 13, 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 on Nov. 6. By Greg Farrar

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,” Lynne Miller, a King County Elections spokeswoman, said just before 7 p.m. Nov. 6.

Elections staffers used atomic clocks to determine the precise 8 p.m. deadline at ballot drop box sites countywide.

King County Elections forecast 87 percent turnout countywide — a hike from the 84 percent record set in 2008. (The county relied on a combination of mail ballots and polling sites in the last presidential election.)

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Editorial

November 13, 2012

Voters’ Pamphlet needs rethinking

The expense of the mass-mailed Voters’ Pamphlet surely outweighs the service it provides, especially in this day and age.

For one, most of the candidates who submit statements for the guides have nothing substantive to say; their messages have been sanitized to the point of being little more than feel-good pablum.

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Editorial

November 13, 2012

Change ballot deadline

As the 2012 election winds down, there is a chorus calling for mail-in ballots to be due on Election Day, not sent on Election Day. The chorus is right.

Ballots are already sent with ample time for voters to return them by the election. Procrastinators will simply need to get their votes in the mail a couple of days earlier, or take them to the nearest ballot drop box.

The water-torture drip of results in the week or more after the election needlessly prolongs the results. Florida actually finished counting its ballots before Washington state. We can do better.

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