NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Opposition to Tim Eyman’s I‑1366 climbs above 48% across Washington State

Near­ly one week after Elec­tion Day 2015, oppo­si­tion to Tim Eyman’s I‑1366 is still ris­ing as late bal­lots con­tin­ue to be count­ed. Today, the NO vote statewide sur­passed 48%, an impor­tant mile­stone, and now stands at 670,085 votes.

About 68,473 bal­lots remain to be processed by coun­ty elec­tions offi­cials, accord­ing to the lat­est esti­mate. The gap between Yes and No is cur­rent­ly 56,992 votes. Per­cent­age-wise, the gap is like­ly to tight­en a lit­tle more as count­ing goes on, though not enough to change the out­come, as we pro­ject­ed last Tues­day night.

King Coun­ty has the lion’s share of the uncount­ed bal­lots… 48,306, accord­ing to today’s esti­mate. And in King Coun­ty, the NO on I‑1366 vote has been grow­ing stronger by the day. It’s cur­rent­ly an impres­sive 61.06%.

I‑1366 will need to be fin­ished off in court, and a num­ber of edi­to­r­i­al boards have joined the cho­rus call­ing for the ini­tia­tive to be giv­en an expe­di­ent bur­ial, includ­ing The Seat­tle Times, The Olympian, and the Spokesman-Review.

This week­end, in his most excel­lent recur­ring col­umn The Wrap, Seat­tle Times colum­nist Ron Judd did some quick math and put the vote for Eyman’s I‑1366 in prop­er per­spec­tive, com­plete with a healthy dose of sarcasm.

All Hail Super-Minor­i­ty Rule: Con­sid­er the actu­al vot­ing num­bers behind Ini­tia­tive 1366, the Good-Gov­ern­ment Pre­ven­tion Act. The lat­est Eyman bank-account fluffer, which seeks to insti­tu­tion­al­ize minor­i­ty rule by estab­lish­ing a de-fac­to tax veto by 34 per­cent of leg­is­la­tors, as of Fri­day had gar­nered 640,717 statewide affir­ma­tive votes. In a state with near­ly 4 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers, that’s a ‘yes’ rate of 16 per­cent. Pow­er to the peo­ple, baby.

Big props to Judd for point­ing out how lit­tle sup­port I‑1366 is actu­al­ly get­ting. Most Wash­ing­ton vot­ers stayed home in 2015, and of those who did vote, near­ly half said NO to I‑1366, leav­ing only a small frac­tion who vot­ed yes.

In the Leg­is­la­ture, it takes fifty votes in the House to pass a bill, and twen­ty-five in the Sen­ate. That’s set forth in Arti­cle II, Sec­tion 22, the very pro­vi­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tion Eyman wants to sab­o­tage with I‑1366.

If ini­tia­tives and ref­er­en­da required a sim­i­lar absolute major­i­ty to pass, I‑1366 would be fail­ing right now, owing to this year’s his­tor­i­cal­ly awful turnout.

Per­haps it’s time to add a min­i­mum turnout require­ment to our Con­sti­tu­tion for pas­sage of ini­tia­tives and ref­er­en­da, spec­i­fy­ing that an absolute major­i­ty of reg­is­tered vot­ers is need­ed for state law to be changed at the bal­lot by the peo­ple. A sim­i­lar require­ment could be added for pas­sage of con­sti­tu­tion­al amendments.

Either that, or return to the prac­tice of only plac­ing mea­sures on the statewide bal­lot in even-num­bered years, when turnout is reli­ably above fifty per­cent. This is how it works in Ore­gon. It’s also how it used to work here until state law was changed to pro­vide for state-lev­el gen­er­al elec­tions in odd-num­bered years.

With few­er than 70,000 bal­lots remain­ing to be count­ed, it appears statewide turnout will remain below 40%, which would set a new mod­ern record for low turnout. We haven’t had a gen­er­al elec­tion with so lit­tle par­tic­i­pa­tion in decades. I’ll have more data and reflec­tions on the awful turnout in a fol­low-up post tomorrow.

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