Election Day is now only forty-eight hours away! Have you voted yet? If not, remember to cast your ballot. Today would be a good day to sit down and go through the voter’s pamphlet and read the arguments for and against this year’s crop of ballot measures, if you haven’t already.
NPI recommends a NO vote on Initiatives 1125 and 1183, and a YES vote on Initiative 1163. We also urge you to APPROVE HJR 8205 and REJECT HJR 8206.
Now, for some election trivia.
As anyone who regularly reads The Advocate knows, statewide elections in Washington are typically decided by a handful of swing counties located around the state. These include Snohomish, Kitsap, Thurston, Spokane, Whatcom, Skagit, Pierce, and sometimes Clark. If several of these counties side with King County in a major election, the outcome is likely to be a progressive victory.
If, on the other hand, almost no swing counties are aligned with King, the outcome is likely to be a conservative victory.
So it is very important that Democratic candidates and progressive ballot coalitions campaign statewide and place a particular emphasis on voter education and outreach outside of King County.
We’ve heard King County routinely described as the state’s most reliably Democratic or progressive county. And that characterization seemingly make sense — King is the state’s most populous county, and it is home to Seattle, which is one of the most liberal and progressive cities in the United States.
But there’s actually a county that votes more progressively than King does. It doesn’t contain a liberal urban center like Seattle, so it doesn’t exert the kind of influence that King (or even Seattle on its own) does on a statewide election.
But its voters are role models nonetheless. If Washington consistently followed their example, it would be in much better shape than it is now.
This county has a total population of 15,769 people according to the last census. Its total land area is six hundred and twenty-one miles. On a map, it looks like this:
San Juan is, far and away, Washington’s most progressive county.
This factoid alone should make it abundantly clear how progressive San Juan Islanders are: They have only passed a Tim Eyman measure once. No other county in Washington State can say that.
San Juan has voted down I‑695, I‑722, I‑745, I‑776, I‑892, I‑900, I‑960, I‑985, I‑1033, and I‑1053. The only measure Eyman has been able to get past San Juan voters was I‑747 in 2001. And the outcome of that election was close… less than one hundred votes. If San Juan says no to I‑1125, it will be the eleventh time its residents will have voted down an ill-conceived Eyman measure.
San Juan was also the only county that passed I‑1098 last year. (I‑1098 sought to impose an income tax on high-earners). And it refused to be bought off by the beverage industry, rejecting I‑1107 by a comfortable margin.
What’s more, San Juan consistently goes for Democratic candidates by large margins. Patty Murray received 65% of the islands’ vote last year. Rick Larsen did even better at 66%. In 2008, San Juan gave Barack Obama 70% of the vote.
Even Democratic candidates who don’t win anywhere else tend to win in San Juan. In 2008, for instance, the islands preferred Democrat Jason Osgood over Republican Sam Reed. (Reed handily beat Osgood statewide).
So, readers: If you’re looking for a deserving place within Washington to spend your vacation dollars, consider taking the ferry over to one of the San Juan Islands and spending a night or two there. Check out Mount Constitution on Orcas, go for a bike ride on Lopez, or explore the waterfront in Friday Harbor.
And feel free to strike up a conversation about politics with a resident. Chances are good the person you choose to talk to is going to be a progressive.