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.