Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Opposition to Eyman’s I-1366 rises to over 47% statewide in Thursday’s ballot count

Opposition to Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive Initiative 1366 has once again gone up for the second consecutive day as county election officials count more ballots. Following King County Elections’ 6:48:13 PM report, opposition to I-1366 statewide stands at 47.10%, and 59.69% in King County.

On Election Night, Eyman had 54% of the vote. As of tonight, he’s down to 52.9%.

NO on I-1366 continued to improve ever so slightly in two major swing counties today, in addition to jumping in King County. In Snohomish, opposition rose to 43.62% from 43.44%, and in Pierce, opposition rose to 40.90% from 40.80%. Meanwhile, there were slight regressions in Whatcom, Spokane, and Clark counties.

We are not seeing the kind of shift we’d need to see in the late ballots for I-1366 to lose, so our projection is that will pass. However, this is not the end.

Tim Eyman may be jubilant, but he’s deluding himself if he really thinks I-1366 will withstand judicial scrutiny. We are heading back to court to continue the fight against I-1366 there, as McClatchy’s Melissa Santos reported this evening:

Opponents of Eyman’s initiative have vowed to continue fighting I-1366 in court.

In August, King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum said the initiative appears to violate the normal process for constitutional amendments, but he allowed I-1366 to appear on the November ballot anyway.

That lawsuit is now pending on appeal before the state Supreme Court, and opponents of I-1366 are hoping that the court will rule soon on the initiative’s validity.

“The state just can’t have this uncertainty hanging over us for months and months,” said Andrew Villeneuve of the Northwest Progressive Institute. “We need to know whether this initiative is unconstitutional or beyond the scope (of an initiative).”

We strongly believe I-1366 is both unconstitutional and beyond the scope of the initiative power. We have a scope challenge already pending on the appeal with the state Supreme Court, as Melissa noted in her story. Though the Court did not grant an injunction blocking I-1366 from the ballot, it did retain the case for a decision on the merits. It would not have done so had the case not been properly brought.

The Spokesman-Review had a fantastic editorial today urging our state Supreme Court to act quickly to defend our Constitution by striking I-1366 down:

The majority of Washington voters who bothered to vote shrugged off the mighty struggle to finance basic education – and balance the budget in general – and passed Initiative 1366.

Now, if the Legislature doesn’t adopt a constitutional amendment that requires supermajorities to pass tax increases – a long shot – it must slash the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar. That means the state would collect $8 billion less over the next six years, at a time when it needs an estimated $3.8 billion to fulfill the Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate to finance basic education.

How would this $11.8 billion gap be closed? Budget cuts. Everything from mental health services, to wildfire abatement, to higher education would be on the table. Any education spending not deemed “basic” would be in jeopardy. Social services could be severely curtailed.

The last time this happened, college costs soared, the mentally ill were warehoused in violation of their legal rights and wildland firefighters were overwhelmed. We suddenly had to pay to access state parks.

There would be no money for smaller class sizes, which voters have approved – twice. Nor would cuts allow for the annual cost-of-living adjustments voters have said they want for teachers.

The tax reform needed to end the reliance on local levies to fund basic education could be impossible to achieve. Any reform – and Washington’s tax system needs reform – could be frustrated by just 17 votes in the 49-person Senate.

Why would 147 legislators hand such power to a small fraction of their number?

So, what’s next? The best outcome is a Supreme Court ruling that I-1366 is unconstitutional.

Emphasis is mine. We agree with the Spokesman-Review’s editorial board. The best outcome for our state is a Supreme Court ruling that I-1366 is unconstitutional (or beyond the scope of the initiative power, or both).

The Court can and must put a stop to this blackmail, and let every political player in Washington State know that further such attacks against our plan of government will not stand. Tim Eyman’s outrageous attempt to coerce lawmakers into doing his bidding (and that of his wealthy benefactors) must be struck down.

Opposition to Tim Eyman’s I-1366 grows in King County and across Washington State

Just-released reports from county elections officials show that opposition to Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is increasing across Washington State, driving the initiative’s level of support down below 54%, which is where it stood at the end of last night.

Voters in Martin Luther King Jr. County, the state’s largest population center, are powering the gains by saying NO to I-1366 more loudly than they did last night.

The 4:21 PM report from King County Elections shows that opposition to I-1366 in King now stands at 58.68%, up from 57.54% last night. That is a very nice one-day improvement, and we hope to see a similar jump tomorrow.

However, King County voters aren’t the only ones helping to drive Eyman’s numbers down. I-1366 is also losing ground in important swing counties:

  • In Snohomish County, the NO vote increased to 43.44%, up from 42.62%
  • In Whatcom county, the NO vote increased to 48.78%, up from 47.98%
  • In Spokane County, the NO vote increased to 41.18%, up from 40.47%
  • In Pierce County, the NO vote increased to 40.80%, up from 40.77%.
  • In Clark County, the NO vote increased to 43.13%, up from 42.99%.

This is good news too. The trend is certainly encouraging. But there may simply not be enough late votes against I-1366 to kill it in the court of public opinion.

Even if there aren’t, it’s very satisfying to see I-1366 losing ground. We definitely made a difference by working hard with our coalition partners to ensure that I-1366 was met with determined opposition. If we have to go to court to finish off this abomination, we will. We’ll never stop fighting to defend our Constitution and our common wealth from Tim Eyman’s destructive initiative factory.

Seattle voters shake up school board, City Council – and fund transit

Seattle’s election night results defy easy categorization. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that voters are mostly content with the progressive trajectory their city is on – but want that to go further, especially when it comes to the school board.

All nine City Council seats were up for election, and we know the likely winners in all but two of them. In District 1, Shannon Braddock holds a 53-47 lead over Lisa Herbold. In District 2, incumbent Bruce Harrell holds a 55-45 lead over Tammy Morales. However, the number of outstanding ballots means that Herbold and Morales still have a chance of pulling even, as late ballots usually favor more progressive candidates like them.

In District 3, incumbent Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant has likely won her race against Pamela Banks. Sawant leads 53-47, but it is widely expected that future ballot counts will favor Sawant.

In District 4, Rob Johnson has a 55-45 lead over Michael Maddux. In District 5, Debora Juarez has easily defeated Sandy Brown. In District 6, incumbent Mike O’Brien is cruising to re-election over Catherine Weatbrook, and in District 7 incumbent Sally Bagshaw has easily defeated Deborah Zech-Artis. In Position 8 (a citywide seat), incumbent Tim Burgess has likely defeated Jon Grant, and in Position 9 (also a citywide seat), Lorena González has easily defeated Bill Bradburd.

District elections have historically made City Councils more diverse, and this election is no exception. In the city’s first election conducted under a district system, voters sent at least four new members to the City Council.

The City Council will have a majority of women for the first time in twenty years, and will have at least four people of color.

This morning, several good analyses of the Seattle results have been posted by progressive outlets. The Stranger’s Heidi Groover looks at the balance of power on the City Council. The Urbanist concludes it was a good night for urbanist policies, and Seattle Transit Blog called it a great night for transit.

In a campaign closely watched by campaign finance reformers across the nation, Initiative 122 sailed to an easy victory, with initial returns showing at least 60% of voters approving of this unique public financing proposal.

I-122 would provide every Seattle voter with “Democracy Vouchers” that they can give to campaigns to redeem from a $3 million fund.

Seattle voters also approved a $930 million transportation levy (Let’s Move Seattle), designed to fund improvements to transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as road and bridge maintenance.

One of the most important stories from Seattle in the 2015 election is the voter revolt at the school board. Seattleites elected a slate of school board candidates who had vowed to take on the district bureaucracy and shake up the status quo – and it wasn’t close. Scott Pinkham, Rick Burke, Jill Geary, and Leslie Harris were all leading their opponents by wide margins on election night. Harris was 50 points ahead of Marty McLaren, the only incumbent on the ballot this year.

Seattle voters were fed up with mismanagement at their public schools, crystallized by the September strike that most voters felt was deliberately caused by district leaders. It was a vote of no confidence in a district staff who are widely viewed as being unresponsive to parent and public concerns.

The strike and the ongoing battle in the Legislature over education funding have sparked a new grassroots movement of Seattle parents, and after their victories last night, we can expect this movement to spread rapidly across the state.

Democrat Carol Gregory trailing Republican Teri Hickel in hotly contested 30th LD race

In the 30th Legislative District’s $2 million contest for State House, Democratic incumbent Carol Gregory is trailing first time Republican candidate Teri Hickel by 1,035 votes, 53.92% to 46.08%. Gregory was appointed to the seat following the death of State Representative Roger Freeman in 2014. Early results may be misleading, as Gregory faced a similar deficit on election night in 2010, but eventually came within 300 votes of Republican victor Katrina Asay.

The mood was somber when the first results dropped at Carol Gregory’s campaign headquarters in Federal Way, where local Democrats had gathered.

Gregory gave a brief statement, thanking the many volunteers who came from all over the state to help the important campaign. “We’re all surprised,” she said. “We did everything we could besides going negative,” noting that rejection of attack ads was a policy she and her team adopted early on.

The campaign got a late start due to the three special sessions called to resolve the state budget deal. Regulations bar sitting legislators from campaigning or raising funds while the legislature is in session.

Still, Gregory raised $395,053.60 to Hickel’s $378,272.90.

Outside spending also played a major role in this race as PDC reports show $471,721.76 in independent expenditures opposing Gregory, compared to less than half that amount opposing Hickel.

The 30th is a perfect example of a suburban swing district, but is facing the prospect of an all-Republican legislative delegation for the first time in decades. 2015 being an odd-numbered year, the Gregory campaign’s primary strategy was to simply get out the vote, as high voter turn-out favors Democratic candidates.

Only about 20% of registered voters’ ballots had been counted as of November 3. Watch incoming results from both King and Pierce counties closely in the coming days, as Democrats have the potential to pull off a come-from-behind win.

Yakima voters are electing the first majority female city council in history

Seattle media may not care about what happens east of the mountains, but we certainly do. We’re incredibly excited to report tonight that change is coming to Yakima… big change. As a result of the city’s adoption of district elections (ordered by a federal judge), it appears Yakima will soon have its first female Council majority in history. It will also have its first two Latina councilmembers!

This is a big deal. A really big deal.

Take a look at the early results in the Yakima City Council races:

Yakima City Council Results by District
# Winning Candidate Losing Candidate
1 Dulce Gutiérrez: 252 votes (81.82%) Russell A. Monteiro: 45 votes
2 Avina Cristal Gutiérrez: 215 votes (61.08%) Maud Scott: 136 votes
3 Carmen Méndez: 597 votes (51.38%) Kelly M. Rosenow: 549 votes
4 Bill Lover: 498 votes (61.79%) Tony Sandoval: 297 votes
5 Kathy Coffey: 868 votes (62.76%) Reed C. Pell: 511 votes
6 Maureen Adkison: 1,292 votes (56.89%) Gavin D. Keefe: 952 votes
7 Holly N. Cousens: 1,001 votes (58.16%) Gunnar Berg: 705 votes

“Until Tuesday, Yakima had never elected a Latino or more than three women to the council. At least five of the seven seats will now be held by women if early results hold; a sixth seat remains too close to call,” notes the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Yakima City Council candidates with Democratic leaders

Yakima City Council candidates Dulce Gutiérrez and Holly Cousens with Teodora Martinez-Chavez and Democratic organizer Gabriel Munoz (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

I had the pleasure of hearing both Holly and Dulce talk about their campaigns earlier this year when the Washington State Democrats met in Wenatchee. I’m really pleased to see them both doing so well. And so is the state party.

“Congratulations to Dulce Gutiérrez and Avina Gutiérrez on their amazing victories,” said Washington State Party Chair Jaxon Ravens. “Largely due to the Voting Rights Act, a community that had been disenfranchised will now have a voice in their local government. That’s progress, but we are not done.

“This result further underscores not only the continued need of the Voting Rights Act, but also the need to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA), which has been stalled in the state legislature. We need what happened in Yakima to ripple across the state, and that will only happen if we pass the WVRA.”

Redmond Mayor John Marchione on his way to a third term; leads challenger Steve Fields

Hey, Nick Pernisco here for NPI. I’ll be analyzing Eastside election results tonight, and paying particular attention to the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond.

There are several hot races on the Eastside this year. At the top of the list is the contest between Claudia Balducci and Jane Hague for King County Council District 6. In Redmond, the only contested race is for mayor, with incumbent John Marchione pitted against challenger Steve Fields.

Fields, a newcomer to the Redmond politics took on two term incumbent John Marchione on a platform of transparency.

Marchione, with deep political connections throughout Redmond (his mother was once the Mayor of Redmond too, many years ago), was backed for reelection by the city council and many elected leaders from across the region.

Fields has two decades of public sector experience, but none in elected office. Fields put together a coalition of small business owners but was unable to best Marchione, who has about 54% of the vote in early returns.

Democrat Claudia Balducci crushes Jane Hague for King County Council, 6th District

The Eastside of King County continues to turn blue.

Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci has emerged victorious over longtime incumbent Republican County Councilmember Jane Hauge in the 6th District (Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, and environs), capturing nearly sixty percent of the vote in early returns — a stunning, lopsided result that few saw coming.

Claudia Balducci

Claudia Balducci speaking at the King County Democrats in August 2015 (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Balducci has made it a point to remind voters that she is a Democratic, progressive candidate, while her opponent is an entrenched Republican incumbent.

Hague has been a fundraising machine, but her defeat tonight just goes to show having a giant war chest is not a guarantor of victory. (Hague significantly outraised Balducci; she was a fundraising machine.)

Hague has been criticized by Balducci and others about her missed votes on the Council, leading to the impression that she’s phoning it in and only seems to want the job at election time. Well, she won’t have it anymore, come January.

This is a very satisfying victory for the King County Democrats, who have long wanted to replace Hague and elect a Democrat from the east side of Lake Washington. The Washington State Democrats are also very happy.

“When we chose Claudia Balducci as our ‘Elected Official of the Year’ this year, we knew she was a rising star in our party,” said Jaxon Ravens, Chair of the Washington State Democrats “Congratulations Claudia on a resounding victory over a well-funded entrenched Republican opponent. As a member of the King County Council, Claudia Balducci will continue to be a strong, effective leader for the Eastside and a champion for our progressive values.”

Tim Eyman’s I-1366 ahead in early returns

Looks like we’re going to have to go back to court to finish off Tim Eyman’s I-1366.

In early returns, Eyman’s awful hostage-taking measure was ahead in most of the state’s important swing counties (like Spokane, Snohomish, Pierce, and Clark) as well as its smaller, more rural ones. It is losing in King, San Juan, Thurston, and Jefferson, which is some comfort, but it may not have enough opposition to fail. Depending how the late voters break, we could see the margin tighten.

This is a very disappointing result, but we’re not discouraged. We have always been in this fight for the long haul. We are not going anywhere.

Considering how modest the NO on I-1366 campaign was (less than $150,000 was raised and spent to oppose the measure) the result is not terribly surprising.

Eyman is clearly getting some mileage out of the very favorable ballot title that the Attorney General gave him at the beginning of the year.

With King County finally in the statewide picture, the early returns are as follows:

Yes on I-1366: 53.66% (458,866)
No on I-1366: 46.34% (396,304)

I’ll update this post as further returns come in.

Progressive councilmembers Shelley Kloba, Dave Asher cruising to reelection in Kirkland

Kirkland City Councilmembers Shelley Kloba and Dave Asher have each earned new four year terms on the Kirkland City Council, early results show.

In the race for Position #2, Kloba is winning big against Chinchilla, who apparently isn’t even a Kirkland resident. He voted in Walla Walla last November, and yet he still came out ahead of a real local in the Top Two election.

But that doesn’t matter now. Kloba has clobbered him. She has a whopping 63.07% of the vote, which is pretty commanding. Chincilla has 36.45%.

Shelley Kloba is one of the rising progressive stars of the Eastside. She campaigned with a ton of local and Democratic Party endorsements, and

Asher, meanwhile, is getting a two-thirds vote of confidence from Kirkland residents (66.75%). His opponent, perennial candidate Martin Morgan, didn’t wage much of a campaign, leaving Asher free to lend his support to Kloba’s campaign.

Tonight, they both have a lot to celebrate.

Tim Eyman will apparently spend Election Night 2015 in Seattle… at a Krispy Kreme

In an email sent to reporters within the last hour, Tim Eyman has announced that he will be venturing out into public for a very brief Election Night party, to be held at a north Seattle Krispy Kreme, on Aurora Avenue.

According to the message sent by Eyman, the party (if it can be called that… maybe Eyman sighting would be more accurate) will begin at 8:50 PM and conclude twenty-five minutes later, at 9:15 PM.

Eyman suggested that he might buy donuts for any reporters who showed up, but did not make a definitive promise.

The north Seattle Krispy Kreme Eyman intends to make an appearance at is across the street from the election night party being organized by Eyman benefactor Faye Garneau, who financed the opposition to Let’s Move Seattle (Proposition #1).

Is that a coincidence? We think not.

Evidently, Eyman plans on paying a visit to Garneau tonight, probably before he shows up at the Krispy Kreme to comment on the results.

Last month, after the Public Disclosure Commission voted to refer its investigation into Eyman’s violation of public disclosure laws to Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Garneau publicly defended Eyman, telling The Seattle Times’ Danny Westneat, It’s no big deal! Everybody else is making money off politics. Why not him, too?”

Today is Election Day in Washington — time to vote NO on I-1366 and YES on I-1401

The big day is finally upon us! Today is Tuesday, November 3rd… Election Day, also known as the last day you can do your civic duty and vote. Tonight we’ll begin to have some idea of who will be governing cities, ports, schools, and counties across Washington State for the next few years (not to mention special districts).

Regardless of where you live in Washington, there are two statewide initiatives to vote on, plus five “advisory votes” that are better referred to as Tim Eyman’s push polls. Chances are, you probably have a number of local races on your ballot too.

If you have already returned your ballot, that’s great… thank you for participating and doing your civic duty! If you haven’t, please plan on taking your ballot to the post office or a drop box before tomorrow evening. King County Elections has a list of return locations on its website. So do these other counties:

If you need help voting on the ballot measures, visit NPI’s It provides an illustrated guide to what’s on the front side of your ballot.

We urge you to vote NO on Tim Eyman’s I-1366 and YES on Paul Allen’s I-1401.

The deadline to return ballots is eight o’clock tonight across the state. Make sure you get your ballot to a drop box before then.

If you’re planning on mailing your ballot from a United States Post Office, be aware that the last outgoing mail collection times may be sooner than this!

Your ballot must be postmarked by the last outgoing collection time tonight, or taken to a drop box by 8 PM. So long as you are in line to deposit your ballot in the box by 8 PM, it will count. In King County, drop boxes and drop vans can be found at most city halls. To find the closest drop box to you, simply sign in to MyVote from the Washington Secretary of State.

Turnout in Washington State currently stands at around 22%.

Here is a county-by-county breakdown:

11/3/2015 @ 11:15AM                 
County Voters Returned Percentage
TOTAL 3,966,277  878,233 22.1%
ADAMS 6,180  1,639 26.5%
ASOTIN 13,323  4,797 36.0%
BENTON 99,328  19,783 19.9%
CHELAN 40,567  13,434 33.1%
CLALLAM 47,374  9,312 19.7%
CLARK 251,348  60,322 24.0%
COLUMBIA 2,621  1,077 41.1%
COWLITZ 59,411  12,548 21.1%
DOUGLAS 19,595  5,379 27.5%
FERRY 4,567  1,573 34.4%
FRANKLIN 30,460  5,433 17.8%
GARFIELD 1,540  735 47.7%
GRANT 36,592  10,430 28.5%
GRAYS HARBOR 38,621  12,426 32.2%
ISLAND 50,338  15,302 30.4%
JEFFERSON 22,949  9,016 39.3%
KING  1,193,711  231,976 19.4%
KITSAP 153,824  36,920 24.0%
KITTITAS 22,192  5,254 23.7%
KLICKITAT 13,307  3,285 24.7%
LEWIS 43,703  13,222 30.3%
LINCOLN 6,865  2,894 42.2%
MASON 35,711  10,896 30.5%
OKANOGAN 21,434  6,014 28.1%
PACIFIC 13,504  5,221 38.7%
PEND OREILLE 8,414  3,084 36.7%
PIERCE 449,340  80,914 18.0%
SAN JUAN 12,151  4,584 37.7%
SKAGIT 69,069  17,508 25.3%
SKAMANIA 7,094  2,050 28.9%
SNOHOMISH 421,389  60,324 14.3%
SPOKANE 285,258  84,171 29.5%
STEVENS 29,046  7,399 25.5%
THURSTON 163,893  38,680 23.6%
WAHKIAKUM 2,964  1,056 35.6%
WALLA WALLA 32,176  9,821 30.5%
WHATCOM 128,345  38,203 29.8%
WHITMAN 20,353  4,927 24.2%
YAKIMA 107,720  26,624 24.7%
TOTAL 3,966,277  878,233 22.1%

Tonight, we will be bringing you live results and and analysis through Pacific NW Portal, which celebrated its ten year anniversary last January.

At election time, the Portal offers a carefully curated results matrix that shows all the important contests and measures together. You don’t need to click fifty times to get results for different county, city, port, and school board races because we’ve put all the hot races on one page into a compact grid.

To make it easier to scan results and to prevent the grid from getting too text-heavy, we show an image of each candidate or ballot measure campaign.

If you’ve never looked at election results this way before, you’ll be pleased at how much you can see in one view!

We will begin our live elections coverage later on today, once the evening rolls around. Let us know if there are any races you’re interested in, or if you have an election related question you’d like NPI to try and answer.

Voter turnout in Washington State inches towards double digits, with one day to go

Voter turnout in the 2015 general election is slowly increasing as the deadline to return ballots nears, elections officials are reporting.

As of this afternoon, 750,000 ballots had been received by Washington’s thirty-nine county election offices which amounts to 18.9 percent of those issued.

Here is the breakdown by county…

11/2/2015 @ 1:45PM                 
County Voters Returned Percentage
TOTAL 3,966,277  750,365 18.9%
ADAMS 6,180  1,418 22.9%
ASOTIN 13,323  3,964 29.8%
BENTON 99,328  18,690 18.8%
CHELAN 40,567  11,859 29.2%
CLALLAM 47,374  9,312 19.7%
CLARK 251,348  48,333 19.2%
COLUMBIA 2,621  917 35.0%
COWLITZ 59,411  10,295 17.3%
DOUGLAS 19,595  4,563 23.3%
FERRY 4,567  1,438 31.5%
FRANKLIN 30,460  5,433 17.8%
GARFIELD 1,540  580 37.7%
GRANT 36,592  9,475 25.9%
GRAYS HARBOR 38,621  10,964 28.4%
ISLAND 50,338  14,897 29.6%
JEFFERSON 22,949  8,129 35.4%
KING * as of 10/31 1,193,711  181,284 15.2%
KITSAP * as of 10/30 153,824  29,696 19.3%
KITTITAS 22,192  5,254 23.7%
KLICKITAT 13,307  2,318 17.4%
LEWIS 43,703  11,975 27.4%
LINCOLN 6,865  2,319 33.8%
MASON 35,711  9,519 26.7%
OKANOGAN 21,434  6,012 28.0%
PACIFIC 13,504  4,803 35.6%
PEND OREILLE 8,414  2,868 34.1%
PIERCE 449,340  80,914 18.0%
SAN JUAN 12,151  4,015 33.0%
SKAGIT 69,069  14,857 21.5%
SKAMANIA 7,094  1,650 23.3%
SNOHOMISH 421,389  60,324 14.3%
SPOKANE 285,258  68,582 24.0%
STEVENS 29,046  5,939 20.4%
THURSTON 163,893  29,451 18.0%
WAHKIAKUM 2,964  881 29.7%
WALLA WALLA 32,176  8,450 26.3%
WHATCOM 128,345  33,425 26.0%
WHITMAN 20,353  4,237 20.8%
YAKIMA 107,720  21,325 19.8%
TOTAL 3,966,277  750,365 18.9%

As you can see, tiny Garfield County has had the best turnout so far, with 37% of ballots returned. But it is home to only 1,540 registered voters. That is less than one neighborhood in Seattle or Spokane. Jefferson, Columbia, and Pacific counties each have about 35%, which is pretty decent.

Of the bigger counties, Whatcom and Spokane have the best turnout so far, with 26% and 24% respectively, trailed by Clark at 19.2%.

The state’s three largest counties are all sadly below the statewide average. Pierce is doing the best with 18%. King is lagging behind at 15.2%. Snohomish, meanwhile, has the dishonor of being the worst in the state with 14.3%.

If you have not voted yet, be sure to get your ballot in! We’ve got recommendations up on BallotGuide if you need help navigating the ballot measures.

Bipartisan campaign to defeat Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 will soon enter its final day

With Election Night 2015 only hours away, the broad, bipartisan coalition working to defeat Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 is reminding voters to get their ballots in and cast an emphatic NO vote on Tim Eyman’s latest bad idea.

I-1366 would repeal $8 billion in funding for K-12 schools, higher education, and other vital public services over the next six years if legislators refuse to bow to Eyman’s will and sabotage our Constitution’s majority vote requirement.

I-1366 is opposed by

Republicans and Democrats

  • Mainstream Republicans of Washington State
  • Washington State Democrats
  • Former Governor Dan Evans (R)
  • Governor Jay Inslee (D)
  • Former Secretary of State Sam Reed (R)
  • King County Executive Dow Constantine (D)
  • Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro (R)
  • Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson (D)
  • Former King County Councilmember Louise Miller (R)
  • State Representative Marcus Riccelli (D)

Faith leaders

  • Washington State Catholic Conference
  • Faith Action Network
  • Rev. Steve Baber – Co-chair of the WA Christian Leaders Coalition
  • Rev. Sharon Moe – Methodist pastor at First Methodist
  • Rabbi Daniel Weiner – Temple De Hirsch Sinai
  • Rev. Joanne Enquist – Gethsemane Lutheran Church


  • Seattle
  • Spokane
  • Kirkland
  • Redmond

Advocates for kids, people with disabilities, and seniors

  • Washington State PTA
  • League of Women Voters of Washington
  • AARP Washington State
  • League of Education Voters
  • Children’s Alliance
  • NAMI Washington
  • Washington State School Directors’ Association
  • Association of Washington School Principals

Business and labor

  • Washington Roundtable
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • SEIU 775
  • Washington Education Association
  • Washington Federation of State Employees
  • Washington State Council of Fire Fighters

Not to mention newspapers:

  • The Seattle Times: “A toxic complex proposal that would make the Legislature even more dysfunctional…”
  • The Spokesman Review: “Reducing the sales tax would be devastating to social services, public health…and efforts to prevent and fight wildfires.”
  • The Columbian: “[I-1366] would place the Legislature in a position where it can be held hostage by a minority of lawmakers.”
  • The Tacoma News Tribune: “I-1366, another product of the Tim Eyman initiative factory, is a threat to public education.”
  • The Tri-City Herald: “It would devastate the state budget unless the Legislature bows to the will of Eyman and his backers.”
  • Walla Walla Union Bulletin: “I-1366 is extortion, blackmail — or perhaps it could be called political terrorism.”

The ever-growing strength and diversity of the NO on I-1366 coalition has certainly not escaped Tim Eyman’s notice these past few weeks.

In a halfhearted attempt to counter our momentum, Eyman has been sending out periodic emails to the media and his followers with the subject prefix BIG ENDORSEMENT. The latest such message arrived just this morning, bearing a testimonial from KVI’s John Carlson, who has been a pal of Eyman’s for years.

None of the endorsements Eyman has touted are significant or noteworthy to us. They’ve all been militant Republican legislators, a tiny smattering of newspaper editors friendly to Eyman, zealous ideological talk radio hosts like Carlson and Dori Monson, or extremist right wing groups that almost always take Eyman’s side… like the National Federation for Independent Business, known for its junk faxes.

We’re not impressed.

Nor are we impressed with Eyman’s attempt to project his own desperation onto us, his opponents, as he has repeatedly tried to do all month. Today, he wrote:

No one knows how the voters will vote until election night. It’s incredibly exciting. It’s why the opponents of 1366 were so frantic, hysterical, and desperate to get the courts to block the vote — because they knew they couldn’t control how the voters voted on it. Because they couldn’t buy the outcome they wanted.

Wow. It takes a whole lotta chutzpah for someone who bought his way onto the ballot with six figure checks from real estate developers and hedge fund managers to sneer that his opponents are trying to “buy the outcome”.

Last year, Tim Eyman tried to qualify a nearly identical measure to I-1366 to the ballot — I-1325. He failed, because he didn’t have enough money to buy the outcome he wanted. This year, he was successful in convincing several wealthy individuals (Clyde Holland, Kemper Freeman, Jr., Kenneth Fisher, Robert Rotella) to write him big checks to fund a signature drive.

That is the only reason why I-1366 is on the ballot. We’re not voting on I-1366 because Washingtonians like Tim Eyman’s ideas. Anyone with enough money can get anything they want on the ballot using paid signature gatherers. It does not have to be constitutional… or even within the scope of the people’s initiative power!

Had longtime friend of NPI David Goldstein had a few wealthy benefactors behind him in 2003, we feel pretty confident he would have qualified I-831, the initiative to declare Tim Eyman a horse’s ass, to the ballot in 2003.

Volunteer signature gathering on I-831 was going pretty well until a Thurston County Superior Court judge blocked the initiative at the Attorney General’s behest. (David did not have the resources to retain counsel for an appeal to the state Supreme Court, or hire paid signature gatherers to supplement his volunteer effort.)

We went to court to stop I-1366 because it is clearly beyond the scope of the initiative power. An initiative as dangerous and destructive as I-1366 needs to be fought on all fronts. King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum agreed with us that Eyman’s I-1366 was beyond the scope, but declined to grant an injunction removing it from the ballot. The state Supreme Court likewise declined to grant an injunction. And so we have continued to fight I-1366 in the court of public opinion.

The response to our campaign has been simply wonderful. People all over Washington have told us they’re voting NO on I-1366 because they agree that the last thing we need is for our state’s politics to become more like U.S. congressional politics. Tim Eyman may find Ted Cruz and the dysfunctional Tea Party wing of the House Republican conference inspiring, but most Washingtonians do not.

Hobbled by the Public Disclosure Commission’s finding that he violated campaign disclosure law, Eyman has been campaigning for I-1366 from the shadows. Reticent to appear in public, he has been firing off email missives from home and trying to engage reporters on the phone without answering questions about his legal woes.

He has done his best to sound confident, with brash statements like, “Unlike our opponents, we trust the voters to make the decision on 1366. Tomorrow night we find out what the voters think about 1366. It’s really exciting.”

But his actions belie his words. If Eyman trusts the voters, why isn’t he out campaigning for I-1366? Why isn’t he trying to sell this garbage initiative with the same gusto he has shown in the past? What’s he afraid of?

We have been working hard to earn every vote that we can, because we do trust the people of this state to make the correct decision when they have the information they need to cast an informed vote. We’re out there every day asking and urging Washingtonians to vote NO on I-1366.

We will keep at it until 8 PM tomorrow night.

Eyman, meanwhile, is holed up at home, where he’s been doing a lot of ghostwriting for the militant Republican legislators who are carrying his water.

He has ventured out only occasionally — to argue for I-1366 before the Seattle Times editorial board and to debate Sam Reed in Thurston County, for instance.

Not wanting to show his face on camera, he’s deployed surrogates to other editorial board meetings and to debate I-1366 on-air on TVW, KBTC, and KING5, but has blown off many public forums and other earned media opportunities.

We haven’t turned down anybody who has wanted to engage with us. Our broad, bipartisan coalition has enthusiastically sent representatives to forums and fielded questions from voters. We’ve made lots of information about the cost and consequences I-1366 available on our website. The text, the official impact statement, and analysis of its destructive harm are all readily accessible there. Eyman’s website just has a recent fundraising letter and not much else 1366-related.

This organization has been a part of many successful campaigns against destructive Tim Eyman initiatives during Permanent Defense’s thirteen plus years of operation. We destroyed I-892 in 2004. We defeated I-985 in 2008. We knocked down I-1033 in 2009. We stopped I-1125 in 2011. And we crushed I-517 in 2013.

We can beat back this latest bad idea from Eyman, too. Join us in defending Washington’s Constitution and common wealth by voting NO on I-1366.

Be sure to return your ballot to a drop box by 8 PM tomorrow, or to a post office by the last outgoing mail collection time. Be a voter! 

Tim Eyman’s I-1366 is bad public policy that even conservatives ought to be against

Editor’s Note: I authored this post last week but am reposting it for your enjoyment as we head into the final weekend of the 2015 general election. 

This morning, I appeared for the second time this week on well-known conservative John Carlson’s program, The Commute with Carlson, to debate I-1366 with Carlson and Pierce County Councilmember Dan Roach (who are both Tim Eyman fans).

During my remarks on the program, I emphasized that I-1366 would cause serious long term damage to our state, undermining our plan of government and setting a bad precedent that other players in state politics might try to copy.

I-1366 is a malicious attempt by Eyman to coerce the Washington State Legislature into doing his will. After the Supreme Court thwarted his previous attempts to subvert Article II, Section 22 with Initiatives 960, 1053, and 1185 two years ago, Tim Eyman turned his attention to trying to sabotage that all-important majority vote provision of our Constitution through a constitutional amendment.

But there’s something that’s blocking Eyman from simply being able to force us all to vote on the amendment he wants using his wealthy benefactors’ money.

And that is another critically important provision of our state Constitution… Article XXIII, which says that all constitutional amendments have to originate in the Legislature and receive a two-thirds vote of each house to pass before being submitted to the people for ratification at a subsequent general election.

See, unlike in Oregon and California and a few other states, in Washington, only the Legislature has the power to propose constitutional amendments. The people don’t. That is the way our founders wanted it. The people have final say over any amendment, but all amendments have to originate in the Legislature.

Since Tim Eyman is not an elected legislator, and has never had the courage to run for office, he doesn’t have the power to propose an amendment. And even if he did, he doesn’t have the votes to pass it. Two-thirds is, after all, a high bar.

And so Eyman has resorted to blackmail. Coercion. Extortion. Call it what you like, I-1366 is intended to force elected representatives like NPI’s Vice President and Secretary Gael Tarleton (one of our ninety-eight state representatives) into voting against their values, and against our state’s values. That’s wrong.

I-1366 is not a revote on the idea of having a two-thirds vote threshold for raising revenue. As mentioned, the Supreme Court has already said that’s unconstitutional. This initiative is an attempt to forcibly invoke the constitutional amendment process by a specific date, which is totally beyond the scope of the initiative power.

Passage of I-1366 would set a terrible precedent. To say that the door would be open to future mischief making would be an understatement.

When I appeared on John’s show, I told him, “I’d like your listeners to imagine this morning what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot”.

“Imagine,” I said, “that next year, a consortium of left wing groups decides to copy a page out of the Eyman playbook and demand the Constitution be changed to say that it should take a two-thirds vote to lower our state’s minimum wage or to reduce benefits guaranteed to public workers by contracts with unions.”

“The minimum wage could still be raised by majority vote, but not lowered… that would permanently require a two-thirds vote. The minimum wage, by the way, is very popular with voters. They’ve voted for it over and over.”

“Passage of an amendment would itself require a two-thirds vote, of course. Impossible without Republican support. Now imagine, that in an attempt to secure the votes of Eastern Washington Republicans, left wing groups take a militant approach and qualify an initiative that says to those Eastern Washington Republicans, €œIf you don’t adopt the particular amendment we want by this particular date, the state budget will be altered to eliminate funding for projects in your districts in Eastern Washington. You can either adopt the amendment or you and your constituents will suffer the consequences.

“Wouldn’t you agree that sounds ridiculous? Outrageous? Now you know how opponents of I-1366 feel. This is a blatant attempt to blackmail legislators who believe that majority rule should apply to passage of all bills and budgets into voting against their values to change the Constitution. It’s bad public policy.”

I didn’t expect to change many minds by going on Carlson’s show, but I hope I at least gave his listeners something to think about.

I think Pope Francis is correct: we reach better decisions when we operate by the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If Tim Eyman is successful with I-1366, the militant tactics of hostage taking could become a fixture of Washington State politics (as they have in national politics).

That would be awful.

Tim Eyman has been called a conservative political activist many times — that’s how his Wikipedia entry describes him, for instance. But given that Eyman doesn’t seem to want to conserve anything, not even the plan of government our founders gave us all the way back in 1889, that doesn’t seem like an appropriate label for him. A more accurate descriptor would be radical right wing purveyor of bad ideas.

In this campaign, I have heard from real conservatives who cherish the Constitution that has been handed down to us, and agree that our system of representative government should be defended. I applaud these true conservatives for helping participate in the noble and worthy cause of defeating this awful initiative.

The team at NPI and I emphatically believe majority rule is good for everybody. We welcome those conservatives and Republicans who feel likewise, and we are proud to campaign along with them to protect Washington from the harm of I-1366.

Anyone who has watched the NO on I-1366 campaign take shape over the past few months can see that it is broad, deep, and bipartisan. This coalition is open to all who believe in the values that Washington was founded upon, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, independents, or supporters of minor parties.

NO on I-1366’s diverse roster also includes organizations from the labor community, business community, environmental community, and education community, from the Washington Roundtable and Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to the state PTA, AARP Washington, League of Women Voters, Council of Fire Fighters, and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO… as well as widely-respected groups like NAMI Washington and the Children’s Alliance.

We are all standing together to ensure that Washington State moves forward, not backwards. We ask you to join with us in rejecting this false choice that Tim Eyman has manufactured as the latest bad idea to come out of his initiative factory.

By November 3rd, please remember to return your ballot and vote NO on I-1366.

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