Special election results for Mason County
Special election results for Mason County's Fire Protection District #6 (April 28th special election)

Despite the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, a num­ber of juris­dic­tions in Wash­ing­ton state had spe­cial elec­tions that con­clud­ed on April 28th, and while the results won’t be cer­ti­fied by the coun­ties involved until May 8th and won’t be cer­ti­fied by the state until May 19th, the returns so far sug­gest Wash­ing­to­ni­ans under­stand the impor­tance of invest­ing in the pub­lic ser­vices that make our com­mu­ni­ties strong.

A num­ber of school levies were up for con­sid­er­a­tion, with the Wood­land and Kala­ma school dis­tricts cur­rent­ly pass­ing their oper­a­tions and cap­i­tal levies, and the Ort­ing School Dis­trict cur­rent­ly pass­ing their oper­a­tions levy.

The vot­ers of the North Mason School Dis­trict, how­ev­er, have vot­ed down their cap­i­tal levy by sev­en­ty-eight votes out of 5,200 cast, and eigh­teen teach­ing posi­tions are like­ly to be lost as a result.

The Soap Lake School Dis­trict cur­rent­ly has a split deci­sion after ini­tial­ly reject­ing both propo­si­tions, vot­ing for one to pay for music, sports, tech­nol­o­gy and extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties (by nine votes of six hun­dred and fifty-sev­en cast) but cur­rent­ly vot­ing against the sec­ond to upgrade the district’s bus garage and improve the heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem at the mid­dle school and high school build­ings (by thir­ty-one votes of six hun­dred and six­ty-sev­en cast).

As many of these levy votes had been attempt­ed and failed back in Feb­ru­ary, their suc­cess the sec­ond time around in most cas­es is quite encouraging.

There were also a num­ber of fire pro­tec­tion levy mea­sures through­out the state, with suc­cess­ful out­comes in Dou­glas, Garfield, and Okanogan coun­ties, as well as a levy lid lift for the vol­un­teer fire depart­ment in Cle Elum in Kit­ti­tas County.

In Roy­al City, a vote to merge Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­tricts #10 and #11 is also pass­ing, by a sub­stan­tial mar­gin. Fire dis­tricts in Mason Coun­ty also did well, with two Emer­gency Med­ical Ser­vices levies pass­ing hand­i­ly, but a prop­er­ty tax levy for Fire Pro­tec­tion Dis­trict #16 pass­ing by only 33 votes of 753 cast.

The town of Pateros in Okanogan Coun­ty is cur­rent­ly reject­ing, by six votes of one hun­dred and six cast, renew­ing a levy for emer­gency med­ical ser­vices that would cost 50 cents for every $1,000 of an assessed property’s value.

A one-year levy for a Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict that serves both Okanogan and Dou­glas coun­ties is cur­rent­ly hand­i­ly passing.

Vot­er turnout in most cas­es was rel­a­tive­ly strong despite the pan­dem­ic, with most coun­ties see­ing turnout above forty per­cent. The excep­tions were Grant, Kit­ti­tas, and Dou­glas coun­ties, which are all quite rural.

It’s these often unno­ticed votes that make the dif­fer­ence with respect to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ qual­i­ty of life. Because our tax code is so upside down and because local juris­dic­tions are fre­quent­ly left to fend for them­selves with lim­it­ed rev­enue author­i­ty, suc­cess­ful local bal­lot mea­sures are need­ed to keep essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices oper­a­tional and healthy. Hope­ful­ly, that won’t always be the case, because bud­get­ing by ref­er­en­dum is not a sound fis­cal practice.

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