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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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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Off the Press

November 13, 2012

Campaign tests candidates’ — and voters’ — mettle

Warren Kagarise
Press reporter

Throughout campaign season, as the insults zinged back and forth across screens and in mailboxes, I often hoped for Election Day to arrive as soon as possible.

But now, as the election recedes into memory I feel wistful, maybe even a little nostalgic.

Though the process often degraded the candidates and, in the process, voters, I found the contenders dedicated and focused on the task at hand.

Candidates knock on thousands of doors in the run-up to Election Day, a process referred to in candidate-speak as doorbelling. The exercise tests the candidates’ mettle and offers voters a grassroots introduction to the person behind the political sign.

Besides the usual pitfalls — unfriendly dogs, voters pretending not to be home — everybody on the doorbelling circuit, state Sen. Steve Litzow told me in a pre-election interview, encountered at least one naked voter at the door.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 13, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 13, 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.

Students cast ballots online from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, and then Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office posted the results online. The results in the statewide Student Mock Election reflected the outcome in the real election, albeit with different margins.

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Brad Toft concedes state Senate race to Mark Mullet

November 9, 2012

NEW — 10:05 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

Less than 24 hours after urging supporters to wait for more election results, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft conceded a hard-fought state Senate race to Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet early Friday.

Toft could not overcome the lead Mullet, a Democrat, posted on election night, and then continued to maintain as subsequent results arrived. In the most recent results released Thursday by King County Elections, Toft trailed Mullet, 54 percent to 46 percent, out of 50,681 ballots tallied.

“There’s a disappointment in what happened, but the cause goes on,” Toft said in a message to campaign supporters Friday.

Mullet declared victory after the initial election results landed Tuesday, and then disputed Toft’s assertions about a possible turnaround in subsequent days.

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Brad Toft: State Senate race is too close to call, despite Mark Mullet’s lead

November 8, 2012

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The contest for the 5th Legislative District state Senate seat is too close to call, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft said Thursday, despite a 3,307-vote lead for Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet.

The race attracted attention in recent weeks for the insults the candidates lobbed at one another and, for a time, observers said the match-up could determine state Senate control. However, Republicans did not gain enough seats on Election Day to crack the Democrats’ majority in the chamber.

Mullet held about 54 percent — or 23,216 votes — to Toft’s 46 percent — or 19,909 votes — among more than 43,000 ballots counted in the race so far.

King County Elections is scheduled to release additional results at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Ex-Issaquah legislator is locked in tight race for secretary of state

November 7, 2012

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Democrat Kathleen Drew, a former Issaquah state senator, is locked in a close race for secretary of state against Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman, a Republican.

The contest to choose a successor to Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed is split 50.39 percent for Wyman against 49.61 percent for Drew in the initial results released Tuesday.

The secretary of state serves as the top elections official in Washington. The office also handles registrations for corporations and charities.

Reed plans to retire after a dozen years in the post. In 2004, he led the office through the contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi — the closest gubernatorial race in U.S. history.

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Issaquah students cast ballots in mock elections

October 30, 2012

The minimum age to vote is 18, but the hurdle did not stop students throughout the Issaquah School District from casting ballots in the tight races for president and governor.

Educators on local campuses organized mock elections or joined the annual Student Mock Election overseen by the state elections office to educate students about the importance of participation in the political process.

Students at Issaquah and Tiger Mountain Community high schools, Issaquah Middle School, and Creekside, Endeavour and Sunny Hills elementary schools cast ballots in ersatz elections or plan to do so by the actual Election Day, Nov. 6.

Teachers involved in the mock elections said the exercise is about more than determining whether students support Jay Inslee or Rob McKenna for governor.

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Student Mock Election asks for future voters’ opinions

October 25, 2012

NEW — 9 a.m. Oct. 25, 2012

The minimum age to vote is 18, but the hurdle did not stop students throughout the Issaquah School District from casting ballots in the tight races for president and governor.

Educators on local campuses organized mock elections or joined the annual Student Mock Election overseen by the state elections office to educate students about the importance of participation in the political process.

Students at Issaquah and Tiger Mountain Community high schools, Issaquah Middle School, and Creekside, Endeavour and Sunny Hills elementary schools cast ballots in ersatz elections or plan to do so by the actual Election Day, Nov. 6.

Teachers involved in the mock elections said the exercise is about more than determining whether students support Jay Inslee or Rob McKenna for governor.

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Strong turnout predicted as ballots reach voters

October 23, 2012

King County Elections mailed more than 1.16 million ballots to voters Oct. 17, as all-mail voting started in federal, state and local contests.

The election marks the first presidential contest since King County started conducting all-mail elections and since Washington transitioned to a vote-by-mail state.

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