Archive for Election

Lawmakers announce departure from Olympia

By | September 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

Two Democrats announced their departure from the Legislature this month, while a senior Republican is seeking a second elected office.

Starting today, Rep. Ross Hunter takes over as the director of the state Department of Early Learning, which received an influx of new money from this year’s state budget amid a push for more early learning and preschool programs.

Hunter was the lead Democratic budget writer in the House, chairing the House Appropriations Committee. He is a 13-year veteran of the Legislature.

Hunter will discuss his new role, which pays $150,000 a year, with “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW.

Another veteran Democrat, Sen. Brian Hatfield of Raymond, is leaving the state Senate for Gov. Jay Inslee‘s office, where he will be the sector lead for rural economic development.

Hatfield, who has served in the Legislature for 19 years in both the House and Senate, was most recently the ranking member on the Senate Agricultural & Rural Economic Development committee.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Pam Roach is seeking a second elected position on the Pierce County Council. Washington law doesn’t ban elected officials from holding more than one office, and Roach told The News Tribune she is not ruling out holding both positions.

Roach has represented the 31st district in the Senate for 25 years.

Categories: Election

Committee to consider moving up the date of the presidential primary

By | August 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

Secretary of State Kim Wyman wants to move up the date of Washington’s presidential primary to March 8, 2016, one week after “Super Tuesday” when a dozen states hold primaries or caucuses.

The state’s current presidential primary is held on the fourth Tuesday in May.

Wyman is convening a Presidential Primary Committee next week to consider the change. The committee includes representatives from the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as leaders of the four legislative caucuses.

Any change in the primary date must be made before Oct. 1 in the year before the primary and requires six votes of the committee.

TVW will live webcast the meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at this link. It will be broadcast on television at a later time.

Wyman requested a bill during the 2015 legislative session that would have moved the primary to the second Tuesday in March and required political parties to use the primary results when allocating delegates. The bill passed out of the Senate, but did not get a vote in the House.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles announces run for King County Council

By | April 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, a 23-year veteran in the state legislature, announced Wednesday she will run for King County Council.

She is running for the seat being vacated by King County Councilman Larry Phillips, a former State Representative, who announced that he will not run for re-election this year.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle)

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle)

Kohl-Welles, who will keep her 36th district Senate seat while she runs, said she got encouragement to run for Phillips’ seat after he announced his plans to leave.

“I love it here. I love it in Olympia. I love statewide issues, but I’ve been here a long time,” she told TVW in a phone interview. “I can work on the same issues, being at home and being able to work on the same things on the local level.”

Along with being the ranking member of the Senate Higher Education Committee, and sits on the Senate Ways & Means and Law and Justice committees, Kohl-Welles has put her name behind bills including reforming medical marijuana laws and legislation to stop human trafficking.

Kohl-Welles came to Olympia succeeding Phillips in a political office. Kohl-Welles became a State Representative in 1991 to fill Phillips’ seat in the House, which he left for the King County Council. Kohl-Welles then became a State Senator in 1994.

Categories: Election

Bill would add fiscal impact to initiative ballot titles

By | March 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Voters would see the cost of initiatives  — and how the measure might lead to cuts in state programs and possible tax increases — on their ballots, under a bill heard Wednesday in a state House committee.

Senate Bill 5715 would require ballot titles for initiatives to include a statement of fiscal impact if the cost is $25 million or more. Ballots would include a sentence saying the initiative is “unfunded” and “other state spending may need to be reduced or taxes increased to implement to the proposal.”

Right now, fiscal impact statements for initiatives are included in the voter’s pamphlet. This bill would require the statement be placed directly on ballots, just above “yes” and “no” boxes.

The push comes after voters in November approved a measure to decrease class sizes statewide without a funding source, at a cost of $2 billion. The obligation is in addition to the state Supreme Court ruling that lawmakers must fully fund education.

Supporters, including prime sponsor Auburn Republican Sen. Joe Fain, say the bill lets voters know the true cost of the measures they’re considering.

“Voters deserve the full accounting of initiatives being proposed, whether they result in cuts to state government or investments,” League of Education Voters’ Frank Ordway told the committee.

But opponents, like initiative promoter Tim Eyman, say a fiscal statement in the title will unfairly influence voters against the measure. “For 101 years, the Attorney General has been required to write a neutral ballot title,” Eyman said. “This bill really does violate that neutrality law by injecting personal prejudice with a bias, vote-suppressing warning label on certain initiatives.”

Under current law, initiative sponsors can challenge language used in a ballot title in court if they think the title is unfair. The bill doesn’t address whether the fiscal impact is subject to judicial review, but under the current version of the bill, the fiscal statement would be added after the deadline to challenge the ballot title.

The bill passed 41-8 in the state Senate. No action was taken in the House State Government during Wednesday’s hearing. It has so far not been scheduled for a vote.

Washington Voting Rights Act passes out of the House

By | March 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

The House passed the Washington Voting Rights Act on Thursday, which would allow minority groups to challenge the fairness of representation on city councils, school boards and other political bodies.

“It is time for us to make history today, pass this bill again, send it across the way and get it passed once and for all so that all Washingtonians can have the opportunity — where it’s necessary — to participate in local decisions in the area,” said bill sponsor Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace.

HB 1745 passed 52 to 46, with Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, as the only Republican who voted with the Democrats in support of the bill. The state House has passed a version of this bill for the past several years.

A King County Ballot Drop Box is labeled in different languages. (Photo by King County via Flickr.)

A King County Ballot Drop Box is labeled in different languages. (Photo by King County via Flickr.)

Right now, people in minority groups that feel they are not getting adequate representation may sue local governments in federal court under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Supporters of the Washington Voting Rights Act cited a federal lawsuit that the city of Yakima lost last year, in which a judge ordered Yakima to hold district elections, instead of citywide elections.

In that case, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled that citywide elections have blocked Latino candidates from winning a seat on the city council, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Yakima, listed as 41 percent Latino according to the U.S. Census, has never had a city council member with a Hispanic surname, the paper reported last year.

Supporters of the House legislation say that the Washington bill allows for challengers and the political body to work out the issue within 180 days before going to a state court, enabling them to avoid federal court.

But Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, argued that other states with their own Voting Rights Act have continued to see lawsuits.

“It has been a litigation nightmare. Every city who has been sued has lost, not a single municipality has successfully defended themselves from this litigation. Every time there has been litigation it has been costly in the millions upon millions of dollars,” Manweller said.

HB 1745 heads to the Senate for consideration. However, the companion bill in the Senate, SB 5668, stalled in the Senate Rules committee, and an attempt on Wednesday to introduce the bill via a Ninth Order move by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, was defeated along caucus lines.

Gov. Jay Inslee said after the House vote on Thursday that he hoped that lawmakers would continue to work on the Voting Rights Act.

“I was talking with people in Yakima yesterday that feel that this would give people more confidence in the system and give people a shot at local representation,” he said.

Categories: Election

Senate approves changes to Washington presidential primary

By | March 4, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that could give more weight to ballots cast for the 2016 Washington presidential primary.

Currently, both the Republicans and the Democrats hold caucuses to choose their delegates for the national nominations for president.

Republicans have incorporated the primary results in the delegate selection in the past. However, in 2011, then-Secretary of State Sam Reed canceled the 2012 Washington’s presidential primary.

Under SB 5978, the Republican and Democratic parties in Washington would have to consider the results of the presidential primaries when choosing their delegates. But the parties could choose how much weight to give to the primaries, and could still use the caucus as their main method of selecting a nominee.

ballotboxVoters who cast a ballot in the primary would have to choose a party preference, and a record would be available to the public.

The bill also moves the primary date up to March. Parties would have until Oct. 1 before a primary year to let the Secretary of State know whether they will participate.

“We’d like to be part of the national debate here on the West Coast so that more candidates will come to Washington state,” bill sponsor Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, said on the Senate floor before the vote, noting that Washington state is second only to California in the number of delegates east of the Mississippi River. “They should be sought after delegates and people here should have their votes courted,” she said.

However, Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, were concerned that having a primary would open the state to a barrage of campaign ads, instead of substantive debate.

“At one time I thought a presidential primary would be a good thing to have. But what we end up with (is) a great deal of money spent on television and political consultants and the grassroots gets nothing,” she said.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman requested the bill, saying that the change will increase participation in the nomination process, which is unavailable to voters who cannot attend on the dates of the caucuses.

The bill passed 36 to 12 and heads to the House for consideration. Senate Democrats split on the issue and the 12 no votes all came from that side of Senate.

Categories: Election

Secretary of State proposes changes to Washington presidential primary

By | February 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

A proposal by Secretary of State Kim Wyman would require political parties to use 2016 Washington presidential primary results — and also would require primary voters to declare a party affiliation publicly.

Washington’s presidential primaries don’t determine the delegates for the Democratic and Republican parties. Both parties choose their delegates via caucus. Wyman’s predecessor Sam Reed canceled the 2012 presidential primary, saving $10 million.

Wyman said she hopes the change will give voice to the voters, most of whom either cannot participate in the party caucuses or choose not to.

“This is our opportunity to showcase Washington and our issues for the presidential candidates,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Wyman noted that presidential primaries attract 10 times the participants as caucuses. She also told reporters that the leaderships of the parties did not raise any objections when she approached them with the plan last year.

Under Wyman’s proposal, both parties would have until Oct. 1 to agree to use primary results in their delegate selection processes. The proposal doesn’t prescribe how much weight the parties should put on the primary results.

The primary would be the only election in which a voter would be asked his or her party preference. However, voters’ party preferences would be public, according to Wyman’s plan.

Under the plan, the primary election date would be March 8, 2016. The primary would cost $11.5 million, Wyman said.

If both parties don’t agree to the plan, then the primary would use a single ballot with all candidates. No party declaration or oath would be required and no record kept of party affiliation.

Wyman’s request has been introduced in both chambers, under bills SB 5978 and HB 2139.

Watch the press conference in TVW’s archives.

Categories: Election

Bills call for responses to initiative fiscal statements, tighter rules for write-ins

By | January 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

The state’s ballots and voters pamphlets could look different in upcoming elections if bills considered in a House committee Tuesday get passed.

The House State Government Committee considered several bills that would make changes to election ballots and pamphlets.

House Bill 1228 would call for initiative backers and opponents to submit responses to a measure’s fiscal statement, which says how much it costs.

The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by representatives Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, and Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, who addressed the committee. Johnson says he sponsored the bill in response to Initiative 1351, which reduces class size.

“Voters need to know if they accept an initiative what the fiscal impact would be and whether they would face tax increases to pay for specific outcomes,” Johnson said.

Other bills discussed were:

  • HB 1143, which would allow voters to return ballots by fax or by email, without following up with a paper ballot. This already applies to military and overseas voters.
  • HB 1548, which would raise the threshold of write-in candidates who make it past the primary and to the general election ballot from 1 percent to 5 percent.
  • HB 1635, requested by the Secretary of State, which would require write-in candidates to declare their candidacy before the election.

Write-in candidates have been nominated and put on ballots against their will in the state’s smallest counties, said Sheryl Moss, program manager of certification and training in the Secretary of State’s office.

“For Wahkiakum County commissioner, it only took eight votes to put that candidate on the ballot,” she said.

You can watch the entire hearing in TVW’s archives.

Election update: Republicans expected to gain seats in the state House

By | November 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Four Democratic incumbents appear to have lost their seats in the Washington State House, while another race remains too close to call.

Counties across the state still have about 68,000 ballots to process, but some candidates have conceded races in which the outcome is not expected to change. Results will be certified by counties on Nov. 25.

Here’s an update on the races:

Democratic state Rep. Kathy Haigh conceded the race to Republican challenger Dan Griffey on Thursday, with the latest election results showing Haigh trailing by 512 votes. Haigh was first elected to the 35th District seat in 1998. Griffey, a firefighter from Allyn, claimed victory on his campaign Facebook page, writing “I appreciate Kathy Haigh’s sacrifice in serving our district and was very touched by her call this afternoon.”

In Southwest Washington, Democratic state Rep. Monica Stonier has lost her re-election bid to Republican businesswoman Lynda Wilson. Ballot tallies show Wilson winning by 1,147 votes. “Although it has not been certified, our numbers have continued to rise and my opponent has graciously conceded this race,” Wilson wrote on her campaign website earlier this week.

Republican Michelle Caldier, a dentist in Kitsap County, claimed victory on Saturday in the tight race against Democratic incumbent Rep. Larry Seaquist. Caldier is leading by about 600 votes.

Political newcomer Republican Melanie Stambaugh held onto to her election night lead over Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell, winning by more than 3,500 votes. At 24, Stambaugh will be the youngest member of the state House.

An open House seat remains too close to call in the 28th District. Democrat Christine Kilduff is leading by 279 votes over Republican Paul Wagemann. They are competing for the seat formerly held by Democratic Rep. Tami Green, who lost a Senate bid against Republican Steve O’Ban.

If the election results hold up, Democrats will have a 51-47 vote majority in the state House. That’s down from a 55-vote majority.

Several close Senate races have not changed since election night, with the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus expected to hold onto control of the Senate with a 26-23 vote majority over Democrats.
Categories: Election

TVW election night show starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday

By | November 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

TVW will be live on election night with results for all the legislative and statewide races.

Tune in on Tuesday, Nov. 4 starting at 8 p.m.

As the numbers roll in, host Anita Kissee will be discussing the results on-set with Republican and Democratic analysts.

We’ll also have live phone interviews with candidates and legislative leaders, and we’ll be sharing the latest Twitter and Facebook posts related to the state elections on air.

This year, voters will be deciding which party should control the state Senate. The chamber is currently controlled by the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus, while the House is controlled by Democrats.

Voters will also be deciding on an initiative which would require smaller classroom sizes, as well as two competing gun measures: I-594, which would expand the state’s background check requirements, and I-591, which would ban the state from requiring background checks that are stricter than those imposed by the federal government.

You can watch TVW’s live webcast from your computer at this link. To find TVW on television in your area, check out this channel guide.

Categories: Election, TVW