King County Elections has just released preliminary results for the February 12th special election, and the numbers so far are good across the board for Seattle and Renton Public Schools. Seattle voters are giving a big thumbs up to both of their levies (an operating levy and a capital levy), while voters in greater Renton are saying yes to proposed construction bonds as well as an operations levy.
The two Seattle levies and the Renton levy appear destined for passage.
Seattle Proposition #1 enjoys 65.81% support right now, with 34.19% opposed. That’s the operations levy. Seattle Proposition #2 enjoys 68.19% support, with 31.81% opposed. (The Seattle Times editorial board had urged a widely-ridiculed no vote on Proposition #1 and a yes vote on Proposition #2.)
In Renton, Proposition #2 has 59.80% support and opposition of 40.20%.
As set forth in the Washington State Constitution, the threshold is a simple majority of those voting and all of these levies are clearing that bar with no trouble.
Renton’s construction bonds are another matter. To pass, the construction bonds have to satisfy what’s called the sixty forty (60/40) rule. The bonds must receive a 60% yes vote with minimum turnout of 18,578 voters (40%).
If both requirements are not met, the bond measure will not pass. Like levies, the threshold for passage of bonds is specified in the Washington State Constitution.
Right now, the bonds are clearing the first hurdle… barely. 60.11% of ballots cast so far on the bond measure are in favor. However, turnout stands at only 16.86%. Turnout will need to more than double in order for the bonds to pass.
We think the sixty forty rule for bonds should be abolished, but such a change would require amending the Constitution. An amendment to do just that has been introduced and is being considered by the Legislature. The House version is House Joint Resolution 4203 and the Senate version is Senate Joint Resolution 8201.
We encourage you to contact your legislators and let them know you support HJR 4203 and SJR 8201. You can track its progress through the legislative process with our Statehouse Bill Tracker, which is always at your service on NPI’s website.