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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2012 Election

Spokane legalizes pot possession

Following the lead of state voters, the Spokane City Council on Monday legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by anyone 21 and up.

Councilman Jon Snyder, who has led the effort on the City Council to consider the impacts to the city from marijuana legalization, said that Monday’s unanimous vote was a routine matter to keep city law consistent with state law. But bigger decisions are ahead as officials consider if they should regulate pot more strictly than what was approved in Initiative 502, the law that legalized marijuana, he said.

News flash: Obama wins Washington

Rick Lloyd of Spokane Valley, center, and other members of Washington's Electoral College sign paperwork to cast the state's electoral votes for Barack Obama.

OLYMPIA – Forget what the news media told you six weeks ago. Barack Obama was elected to his second term as president Monday in a process that the Founding Fathers dreamed up in 1787 and has confounded Americans pretty regularly since.

The Electoral College – which doesn’t have a mascot, a fight song or even a campus – met at noon Monday in state capitals around the nation and awarded votes to Obama or Mitt Romney based on the general election results.

Each state gets one elector for each member of the U.S. House of Representatives and senator, so in Idaho, the four votes were cast for Republican Mitt Romney, even though the former Massachusetts governor has no chance of moving into the White House.

In Washington, where a majority of votes were cast for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, 12 men and women selected by Democratic activists gathered in the Capitol’s marble-walled Reception Room to do the official work of casting the Evergreen State’s ballots, which mostly involved signing their names to multiple sheets of paper with official writing and seals.

A bit tedious to watch, maybe, but exciting to be part of, electors said. . . 

It’s presidential election day. No, really. It is

OLYMPIA — The next president of the United States will be elected today.

Barring some real skullduggery so remote it can't be mapped out here, that will be Barack Obama.

What? You thought Obama was re-elected more than a month ago? It was in all the papers, and on all the cable news networks — even Fox News after Karl Rove calmed down?

Not exactly. That was the general election, but the president, as you will recall from junior high civics, is elected by the Electoral College.

The EC, as its closest friends call it, meets today. Not in one place, but in state capitals all over the nation. In Washington, they will meet in the State Reception Room at noon, where they are expected to cast the state's 12 votes for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Gov race most expensive in WA history

OLYMPIA — Even without the final spending tallied, this year's governor's race was the most expensive in state history and outside independent groups spent a record amounts trying to convince residents to vote against Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna.

Post-election reports filed this week with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the Inslee and McKenna campaigns spent a combined $25.7 million in the race to be Washingon's next governor. With other candidates eliminated in the primary, and by incumbent Chris Gregoire before she opted out of the race, spending hit nearly $26.2 million, passing the record set in 2008 by nearly $1 million.

Inslee and McKenna still could list more spending in the next month or so because neither filed a final report.

Republican McKenna, a two-term state attorney general, spent more, about $13.66 million, in his losing effort. Democrat Inslee, who resigned his congressional seat before his term ended, spent about $12.1 million.

Also up this campaign season was spending by independent groups both for and against the two candidates. Most of it went for television commercials that blanketed the airwaves in the fall.

Led by the Republican Governor's Association, independent groups spent $9.3 million against Inslee. They also contributed heavily to some $1.2 million spent for independent ads supporting McKenna.

On the other side, a group calling itself Our Washington, which collected large sums from the Democratic Governors Association and organized labor, spent almost $9 million against McKenna. Washington Conservation Voters and the Service Employees International Union led groups that spent more than $825,000 supporting Inslee.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Gallup poll: Feds should back off in pot states

The federal government should back off enforcement of federal marijuana laws in stateslike Washington that have legalized the drug, a solid majority of people told a recent Gallup poll.

Nearly two-third — 64 percent of all adults surveyed in late November — told pollsters they do not believe the federal government should enforce its laws if they conflict with state law. 

In the same survey, respondents were almost evenly split — 50 percent for, 48 percent against — on whether they thought marijuana should be legal. That's a big jump from 1969, when Gallup first started asking the question and 12 percent said the drug should be legal

23 same-sex couples get licenses in Spokane

Spokane County officials issued 23 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday on the first day that became legal in Washington state.

That was, not surprisingly, the most of any Eastern Washington county, but fairly low compared to the urban counties along the Puget Sound.

King County, which opened at 12:01 a.m. and planned to keep open until 8 p.m.,had  issued 456 licenses as of 4:30 p.m., but it wasn't breaking them out by same-sex or opposite sex applications.

Thurston County, which also opened at 12:01 a.m. to issue licenses to 10 couples chosen by lot, had issued 34 to same-sex couples throughout the day. Pierce County issued 42, Island 25, Kitsap 23, Whatcom 22 and Snohomish 20.

Except for Spokane, no East Side County broke out of single digits and some — Adams, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield and Stevens — didn't have any requests.

State election results, including same-sex marriage law, made official

Gov. Gregoire signs election results with Secretary of State Reed.

OLYMPIA — Washington state took the last step Wednesday in changing its laws to allow same-sex couples to marry.

With about two dozen supporters looking on, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed signed documents certifying  vote results certifying that Referendum 74 passedin the Nov. 6 election. 

Certifying results one month after the election is usually a pro forma event. The results for the other statewide elections and ballot measures — including those that  reiterate supermajorities to raise state taxes, allow for charter schools and legalize marijuana use for adults — were signed earlier in Gregoire's office.

But the governor invited supporters of Ref. 74 to her conference room to mark the occasion, and to brag that Washington will be the first of the three states that approved same-sex marriage in the election to issue marriage licenses.

“This is our last step for marriage equality in the great state of Washington,” said Gregoire, who used a different pen for each letter of her name, and distributed the pens among the same-sex couples who gathered for the ceremony.

Reed commended supporters and opponents of the referendum  for a civil campaign over a tough issue.

The law takes effect on Thursday. King and Thurston counties are opening their auditors offices just after midnight to issue marriage licenses, and Pierce County will open at 6:30 a.m.

Spokane County will open its auditor's office at the regular time, 8:30 a.m. It will stay open late on Friday, until 4 p.m.

Bragging rights on same-sex marriage go to WA

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington state apparently have something to hold over those other states that approved a similar law change at the ballot box last month.

Not only did Washington have a bigger margin of victory than Maine and Maryland, says Andy Grow of Washington United for Marriage, it also gets the jump on having the law take effect and couples saying “I do.”

The Nov. 6 election results will be certified this afternoon, and they will show the Ref. 74 winning with 53.7 percent of the vote. It was 52.6 percent in Maine and 52.4 percent in Maryland.

The law will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. King and Thurston counties seem to be competing for the attention of accepting applications at that time. Spokane County's auditor's office is opening at the usual 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning… although it is staying open until 4 p.m. on Friday to handle any extra traffic for folks wanting to get married early next week. Apparently 12/12/12 is a popular date for weddings, possibly for men who forget things like birthdays and anniversaries.

Anyone who gets a license on Thursday in Washington can get married as early as Sunday. Maine's law becomes effective Dec. 29, and licenses can be issued that day. Applications in Maryland could be filed last week, and can be issued Thursday, but weddings can't take place until Jan. 1.

More signatures needed for initiatives

OLYMPIA — The turnout was down slightly in Washington state compared to the 2008 presidential election, but the number of ballots cast was up.

That means the number of signatures needed for initiatives and referenda goes up next year.

Huh? We explain inside the blog. Click here to read more, or to comment.

Mapping the vote: Final count on I-502

A funny thing happened on the way to Spokane County supporting Initiative 502, which legalizes marijuana for private use by adults.

Some precincts, particularly those in the city of Spokane, really liked it. And by that we mean by big margins. Other precincts, as the map shows, really did not.

There's one precinct on the map that's particularly interesting. It's Precinct 6500, but is more commonly known as “Fairchild Air Force Base”. That precinct went about 70 percent for Republicans Mitt Romney and Rob McKenna, about 74 percent for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and 66.3 percent for Republican Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner. It went 80 percent for the tax limiting I-1183 and 56 percent against Ref. 74, to allow same sex marriage.

So it's a pretty conservative, Republican precinct, no?

On I-502, it turned down legalized marijuana by just 3 votes.

For a more detailed look at the map, click on the Document file below.


Documents:

FAQs on changes to WA marijuana law

When the clock ticks past midnight Wednesday, Washington state will have the most permissive law in the nation regarding marijuana, thanks to voters who approved Initiative 502.

But the new law isn’t a blanket license for anyone to smoke marijuana anywhere, any time. There are restrictions within the law, and some items that must still be settled, either by state agencies or the courts. Here are some answers to common questions about what changes in state marijuana laws tomorrow.

So I can I legally have marijuana, right?

If you are under 21, no, just like alcohol. Over 21, yes, with some qualifications. If you live in university housing, for example you can’t have it in your residence because of school policies. Your employer may ban it from the workplace. Some jobs may have a zero-tolerance policy for drug use. The law doesn’t change those restrictions.

For more questions and answers, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog

Inslee names chief of staff

Mary Alice Heuschel, the Renton Schools superintendent, will be Governor-elect Jay Inslee's chief of staff.

Inslee made the announcement this morning that Heuschel, who was among a trio picked to head his transition team, will go with him to Olympia next year.

Education will be one of the major issues facing the state in 2013. State government is under orders from the Supreme Court to improve public education so that it can meet its constitutional mandate that the education of its children is the state's paramount duty. According to some estimates, that could mean spending more than $1 billion more on schools in the 2013-15 budget, and even more in budget periods after that.

The state must also develop a system for establishing charter schools with in its public school system under an initiative approved this month by voters.

Mapping the vote: Where the votes were

Turnout is an important statistic in any election, but it's not always the key statistic because precincts with small registration can have a high turnout but not produce many votes.

Elections turn on ballots, and the precincts with the most ballots are the most important. This map shows where the votes were in the 2012 election.

Scroll down to see maps of the turnout and the presidential breakdown of votes in Spokane County.


Documents:

Mapping the vote: Spokane County turnout

Spokane County had a turnout of 80.5 percent in the general election, but as the map shows, turnout varied from precinct to precinct. 


Documents:

Mapping the vote: Final presidential count

 

Editor's note: when this story appeared in Wednesday's paper, one of the first comments was, where are the maps? Here's the first.)

A voting district southeast of the Spokane Valley city limits can bask in the bright red glow of being the county’s most conservative Republican precinct.

Part of Browne’s Addition, just west of downtown Spokane, can claim bragging rights as the county’s most liberal Democratic precinct.

When Spokane County elections officials finalized the results of the Nov. 6 election Tuesday, there were no big surprises. Republicans Mitt Romney, Rob McKenna and Mike Baumgartner won the county even though Barack Obama captured the state and the presidency and Jay Inslee the governor’s office. Maria Cantwell was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. County voters overall turned thumbs down to a ballot measure on same-sex marriage although it passed statewide; like the state as a whole, they approved supermajorities for passing taxes and charter schools. . . 

For a closer look at the map, click on the document link below


Documents:

Senate Democrats propose leadership changes

OLYMPIA — Facing one of the narrowest majorities in years, Senate Democrats proposed a new committee one one of the state's thorniest problems with shared leadership responsibilities and a veteran with a record of interparty skills for the budget-writing panel.

They also suggested the “president pro tem” job — which is sometimes ceremonial but other times decisive — to go to a conservative “road kill” Democrat who was calling for coalition leadershlip in the chamber.

At their pre-session meeting, Democrats proposed a new Select Committee on Education Finance and Results, which would look for ways the state could meet the demand from the state Supreme Court that it do a better job living up to its constitutional requirements to make public education its top priority. It proposed Sen. David Froct of Seattle to be the Democratic co-chairman, and invited the Republicans to name their own co-chairman.

They also named Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, to fill the slot left empty when former Chairman Ed Murray of Seattle was named Majority Leader. A 20-year veteran of the Senate, Hargrove is “known for his ability to work across party lines,” Democrats said.

Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, was proposed for president pro tem, a job that involves presiding over the chamber whenever Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is absent.

Sheldon and Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue, who broke with Democrats earlier this year during budget discussions and backed an alternative spending plan by minority Republicans, this month proposed the Senate be run through a power-sharing arrangement between the two parties. Their two votes could be crucial because Democrats could hold a 26-23 majority in the chamber, and their defection on organizational matters would give Republicans the majority if that caucus votes as a block.

The partisan split will be determined by the close race in Vancouver's 17th District, where incumbent Republican Don Benton holds an 82-vote lead over Democratic state Rep. Tim Probst. Counties report their final vote counts today, and that race is on track for an automatic recount.

Tom is being proposed for chairmanship of the Higher Education Committee.  

Spokane's newly elected Democratic Sen. Andy Billig is being proposed for majority whip and vice chairman of the Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee.

Sunday spin: Who is hurt by the late ballot counting?

A post-election refrain, as predictable as swallows returning to Capistrano or Cougar fans pinning their Apple Cup hopes on bad weather in Pullman, sounded last week.

The amount of time Washington takes to count its ballots and settle elections predictably irked several politicians.  State Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said she’d introduce legislation to require all ballots to be in the hands of elections officials on Election Day.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly state Secretary of State-elect Kim Wyman's position on this point. Wyman supports faster tabulation without requiring all ballots be in hand by Election Day.) 

“We’re now more than a week past Election Day and in some areas of the state, people still don’t know who their elected officials are going to be,” Becker complained in a press release. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Today’s fun video: Making fun of secessionists

 

Jon Stewart skewers folks talking secession and other dire consequences in the wake of Obama's re-election.

Gregoire: Moving ahead on marijuana

OLYMPIA – Washington will be “following the will of the voters and moving ahead” with setting up ways that adults can legally obtain marijuana for recreational use, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday after meeting with federal law enforcement officials.

 

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

 

Ryan snubs McMorris Rodgers, but she may still have edge

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has missed a key endorsement in her quest to win the fourth-most powerful position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the recent Republican vice presidential nominee, has backed Tom Price, R-Ga., in the race between Price and McMorris Rodgers for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.

McMorris Rodgers may still be the favorite, especially after last week's elections showed a wide gap in enthusiasm for the GOP among women, but it does show that a McMorris Rodgers' win isn't a guarantee.

Here is the Washington Post's story about Ryan's decision.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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