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Spin Control

Posts tagged: 2012 Election

Spokane County turnout nearing 2008 level

Voter turnout — or ballot turn-in, if you prefer — has been lagging behind the 2008 record levels this year in Spokane County. Some times by as many as 7 percentage points in a comparison of days after ballots were mailed.

But Monday and Tuesday counts of ballots delivered by mail or picked up from drop boxes shows that gap is down to about 3 percentage points, and the total number of ballots in hand by noon on Election day is actually about 6,000 higher. (It's an arithmetic thing, as Bill Clinton might say. There are more voters registered, too, so the percent of ballots back so far remains lower than in 2008).

Considering that this is a total that doesn't have the final pickup from the drop boxes at 8 p.m., or the mail deliveries on Wednesday and Thursday, it looks like Spokane County is well on its way to having the more  ballots ever cast than in 2008, when it hiin an election. The percentage of ballots in to voters registered may or may not match 2008 levels, butit's clear there are going to be a heck of a lot of ballots to count.

Today’s best link: So many options for Obama & Romney

The New York Times has a great graphic you should bookmark for watching the returns tonight.

It looks at 512 different possible outcomes in the presidential race: 431 mean a victory for Barack Obama, 43 mean a victory for Mitt Romney, and 5 result in a tie. 

What happens if there's a tie? The U.S. House of Representatives picks the president and the Senate picks the vice president.

Has that ever happened? Not exactly. The Electoral College tied in 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, who technically were running on the same ticket, but that was under the original system the Founding Fathers set up in which the president was the person with the most EC votes and the vice president the person with the second most, regardless of party. The 12th Amendment changed that in 1803, and there hasn't been a tie since then.

I marked my ballot. Now what?

After Washington voters have marked their ballot, sealed it and signed the envelope, they have two choices.

Put a stamp on it and mail it. But remember it has to be postmarked today, so you'll need to take it to a post office, to make sure that's done in time. Leaving it out in  your mailbox is not a good solution..

Or save yourself a stamp, and take it to a drop box. In Spokane County, there's a drop box at most public libraries, as well as a couple other spots. For a list of addresses, go inside the blog.

For other Washington counties, click here to find the information on your county.

Instructions for Idaho voters are simpler. You go to your local polling station. Idaho also has same day registration, but if you aren't registered, you'll need to produce photo ID and proof of residence.

Uh-oh! I lost my ballot? Now what?

If you lost your ballot, mistakenly threw it out with some junk mail, spilled coffee on it,or the kids drew on it with crayons or the dog ate it, you are not SOL in Washington.

County elections offices have “Voter Service Centers” where you can get a replacement ballot. They also have accessible voting machines for the disabled. Spokane County has six, locations are inside the blog.

For a link or phone number to other counties, click here.

For today’s voters: Last-minute help on candidates and issues

Voters who haven't marked their ballots yet may be waiting to research just one more thing about a particular candidate, or study one more thing about a ballot measure.

For those looking for more, we offer the following links.

The Spokesman-Review's Election Center, with information about the candidates and campaigns, and stories that have been published in the paper or online. (It's a shameless plug, but we're pretty proud of it.)

The Secretary of State's On-Line Voter Guide, with information on all statewide candidates and ballot measures, presidential candidates, judicial and legislative races.

The Spokane County Online Voter Guide, which also has information on local races, like Spokane County commissioner.

TVW's Video Voter's Guide is good for those who want to see their candidates in action.

The Living Voters Guide, a compilation of other groups' guides, offers information on the ballot measures. You can drill down to Spokane County issues.

Project Vote Smart's VoteEasy, which allows you to pick where you stand on 13 issues, and tells you which presidential and congressional candidates on your ballot are closest to your stance. It has six of eight presidential candidates on the Washington ballot (all six that are on the Idaho ballot); doesn't have the Socialist Workers Party or the Socialism and Liberation Party. But it's kind of fun to play with. Vote Smart has other candidate information accessible from its main page.

LIveVote asks you to enter your address, and it shows you what's on your ballot with links to candidate statements, some videos, and ballot measure information.

The Christian Coalition's State Voters Guide, can be dowloaded from this location. You'll be asked to provide a name and e-mail address.. Links to guides from other Christian organizations can be found here.

The Progressive Voters Guide, from FUSE, a coalition of liberal and progressive groups looks at the ballot measures, federal, state and legislative races.

The Freedom Foundation, a conservative group, offers up what it calls the Informed Voter's Guide.

The Washington Policy Center, a conservative business group, offers its take on the ballot measures.

The Washington Budget and Policy Center, a liberal group, has a different take on many of those measures.

Today’s fun video: Recap of the election

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A fun video. Worst line is the reporter quoting the Grateful Dead. But the clips are some of the best hits of 2012.

Today’s fun video: Rappin candidates

The lyrics aren't bad, the animation only so-so. But look for a guest appearance by Donald Trump.

We’re not the best presidential bellwethers

There was a time in the mid 20th Century when, as Washington and Idaho went in presidential elections, so went the country.

But voters in the two states have been imperfect bellwethers of the presidential elections before and since. Spokane County voters have been a little better. They’ve voted for the candidate who eventually won the Electoral College count in 25 of the 30 presidential elections since Washington and Idaho became states.

Kootenai County voters picked 22 out of 30, but have the longer winning streak, voting for the presidential winner in every election from 1916 to 1972.

To read the rest of this post, or to see a chart of how the two states, Spokane and Kootenai counties have voted in every presidential election since statehood, click here to go inside the blog.  

More to this campaign than ho-ho-ho

The voice on the other end of the phone was deep and mellifluous. “Jim. It’s Santa Claus.”

It did not belong to the most famous resident of the North Pole, but to a resident of Incline Village, Nev., whose legal name is Santa Claus. A former police official, a monk, a child advocate. A candidate for president.

He’s one of Washington state’s 37 official write-in candidates for president, a list that includes some less-than-serious and some seriously deluded. They are people who took the time to fill out a form and send it to the Secretary of State’s office. Unless you merely want to check running for president off your bucket list, as one Spokane candidate on the list said, it’s an exercise somewhere between futility and obscurity.

You can’t win (please do not bother call and tell me about the conspiracy between the news media and the major parties to keep you from getting the votes you deserve if only we’d pay attention). The votes you get won’t be counted unless they could decide a close presidential race in the state. Translation: They won’t be counted.

Later this month, the state will report the total number of write-ins cast for the office. You can claim all of them; but you can only be certain of one, and that’s if you cast it for yourself.

Claus, however, is a serious guy –

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

Washington voter rolls top 3.9 million

OLYMPIA — Washington has slightly more than 3.9 million registered voters for the 2012 general election.

Those numbers include all the in-person registrations at county elections offices through Oct. 29. They are about 270,000 higher than 2008, which was also a record.

Fora drill down of numbers of local interest, go inside the blog.  

More options for that presidential vote

If you don't like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have other choices, and not just the four other candidates on Idaho’s presidential ballot, or the six others on Washington's.

Voters also can – and hundreds do – write in another name on a space provided. Those votes won't be counted unless the race between Obama and Romney is so close they would make a difference. Even though that’s unlikely in either state, that didn't keep 37 would-be White House occupants from filing as official presidential write-in candidates in Washington.

That’s a record number, Libby Nieland of the state elections office said, possibly because this is the first year Washington allowed online filing of the paperwork and because a website offers would-be candidates information and links to the 43 states that allow presidential write-ins.

It’s free in 42 of them. Kentucky charges $50.

The Washington list includes . . .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

McKenna calls Koster’s comment on rape “innapropriate”

Rob McKenna, the Republican nominee for governor, has called remarks made by a Republican candidate for Congress in a close race in western Washington “inappropriate.”

John Koster, who is running in the Congressional district that includes Seattle suburbs and Mount Vernon, told a liberal activist this week that abortion should be illegal, including when it involves “that rape thing,” according to a report from The Associated Press.

Answering reporters’ questions after a Republican rally in Spokane, McKenna called the comments “inappropriate.”

“I disagree with him strongly,” said McKenna, who supports abortion rights.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who contributed $1,000 to Koster’s campaign earlier this year, said she wasn’t prepared to offer her thoughts on Koster’s statements.

On the Web: Politico thinks McMorris Rodgers in line to move up

Washington state politicians are getting some ink in other publications. Politico has a long piece today assessing Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' prospects of moving up in House GOP hierarchy.

It mentions she's been travelling around to other congressional districts to help Republicans campaign…something her Democratic opponent Rich Cowan has criticized.

Thursday he said the story just confirms his criticism: “Her actions show she spends much of her time being a professional fundraiser for the Republican Party, not our representative. It’s clear she is everywhere in the country but here, pushing her partisan political agenda instead of helping Eastern Washington.”

On the Web: Koster and the ‘rape thing’

Another example of Washington politicians getting in elsewhere: John Koster, the Republican running for the state's 1st Congressional District seat, is getting lots of attention — not necessarily the good kind — for a comment he made about rape.

He's being lumped in with GOP Senate candidates from Missouri and Indiana. Here's the original AP story from  the Everett Herald.

Here's the official Koster campaign reaction.

You can decide for yourself if Koster had a “Todd Akin” moment.

On the Web: HuffPo profiles state Rep. Walsh

Another example of Washington state politicians getting ink elsewhere: Huffington Post looks at state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, noting her stance in support of gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Spin Control readers with good memories might recall a post with a video of her floor speech during the House debate over the bill behind what became Referendum 74.

Today’s fun video: One comment on the election

 

We all feel this way at times, kid. You just gotta hang on a few more days.

Ref 74 gets $25,000 from Brad Pitt

The campaign to pass same-sex marriage in Washington state got a contribution Wednesday that is far from it's biggest, but may be from one of its most celebrated donors: Actor Brad Pitt.

And you thought he was busy making perfume commercials.

Pitt recently gave $100,000 to the Washington, D.C., based Human Rights Campaign, which divided that among the four states where same-sex marriage campaigns are being waged: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

It's like one of those public radio pledge drive match arrangements. Pitt is promising to match contributions from other donors. HRC says he sent this message by e-mail: “If you're like me, you don't want to have to ask yourself on the day after the election, what else could I have done?”

It’s Halloween. Take your signs down

It's Halloween, which is great for the candy manufacturers, fun for the kids, but often terrible for campaign signs.

Those placards on a stick are among the easiest targets for Halloween mischief. Mustaches and devils horns get spray-painted onto candidate faces, obscenities get scrawled on issue signs and some just flat disappear, never to be seen again.

While it may infringe slightly on your First Amendment rights of political speech, it might be wise to uproot your signs and store them in a garage, basement or backyard until Thursday.

If you're reading this in the morning, go do it NOW. Don't think you'll remember when you come home from work, because there's a chance you won't. If you're reading it at work, call home and have your spouse, significant other or responsible offspring do it.

If you don’t, and something happens to them, don’t call the newspaper to report some deep plot by the opposing candidate or issue campaign to steal your sign.

Where to take your ballot

In Spokane County, there's a drop box at most public libraries, as well as a couple  other spots. For a list, go inside the blog.

For other Washington counties, click here to find the information on your county

Baumgartner tied with Cantwell? Well, yes; but no

One of the dozens of e-mails in today's Inbox had this tantalizing subject line: “Cantwell/Baumgartner tied in Social Media Buzz”

A nice person from a public relations firm said she had some data on that race that might interest us: “According to a new media index from Temple University and LexisNexis, Maria Cantewell and Michael Baumgartner are in one of the tightest races in the country. The candidates are tied in social media buzz, as well as print and broadcast media mentions of the candidates.”

Wha-what?? as Scooby Doo might say.

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

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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.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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