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Spin Control

Posts tagged: ballot measures

State gets grade adjustment of voter guide

OLYMPIA — Like a college student keeping a watchful eye on the GPA, the Secretary of State's office successfully argued for a higher grade and got an A on its voter guide.

The grader in question, Ballotpedia, had to admit it missed a feature worth 17 percent of the final grade. . . 

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

 

Sunday Spin3: More on the gun initiatives

In politics, as in military campaigns, victory has many fathers. That may explain the self-congratulatory press release from supporters of I-594. . . 

To continue reading this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Sunday Spin2: Did the Ayes have too much of it?

Spokane County voters said yes to both gun initiatives, causing some observers on the West Side of the state to scratch their heads on election night. One could reasonably vote no on I-591 and I-594, they opined, but voting yes twice seemed illogical on measures largely in conflict.

Spokane is not alone in passing both measures. Asotin, Clallam, Clark, Pierce and Skagit counties also have said yes to both. In all cases, at least one initiative is ahead by relatively thin margins.

In Spokane, I-591 leads by about 1,800 votes, and I-594 about 8,000 as of Friday’s count. But the precincts where one passed are generally precincts where the other failed. There are a handful of precincts in the northeast city of Spokane’s and the central Spokane Valley where both passed. But some of those tended to be precincts with higher numbers of “undervotes” where at least one measure was left blank.

Some voters may have strong feelings in favor of one, but couldn’t decide on the other. Indecision isn’t the same as being contradictory.

To compare the undervotes with the Spokane County votes on I-591 and I-594, check the PDF documents below.


Documents:

Mapping the vote: Tale of 2 gun initiatives

Spokane County votes on the gun initiatives are almost, but not quite, a mirror image of each other. (Click on the “continue reading” function to see both maps on the same page.)

That's not surprising, considering the two ballot measures essentially were competing with each other for support. But they are both passing in Spokane, so some people may have voted for both, and some people could easily have decided they didn't like either.

For better detail on the two maps above, click on the documents below.

To see how the state voted as a whole on the two initiatives, click here. 


Documents:

Stories on gun inits, congressional race drawing comments

People who say there's no passion in this year's mid-term elections don't read the online newspaper's comments. 

It's not really a surprise, but Sunday's story on the two gun control initiatives and Tuesday's story on the 5th Congressional District race are generating significant comments elsewhere on this website.

Of course, almost anything to do with gun control sets off passionate debate in the region. And between the low approval ratings for Congress and the strong partisan feelings that Democrats have for incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and the reciprocal regard Republicans have for any Democratic challenger, almost anything on the race can get the juices, and the comments, flowing.

Want to join the discussion? Be our guest.

The story on Initiatives 591 and 594 can be found here.

The story on the race between McMorris Rodgers and Joe Pakootas can be found here.

Elway Poll: Class-size measure has strong lead

An initiative that would require smaller classes in Washington's public schools has strong support among voters polled a month before election day.

Elway Research says two of three voters surveyed last week said they were either definitely or probably going to vote yes on Initiative 1351, which would require the Legislature to spend money to reduce class sizes in all public schools, but with an extra emphasis on schools in high poverty areas. 

Support for the measure was strong across demographic and political lines, pollster H. Stuart Elway said, although voters who said they are following this year's elections “very closely” were less inclined to say they planned to vote yes than those who said they were not paying attention at all.

“It is not entirely unprecedented for initiative support to collapse in the closing weeks of the campaign,” Elway said in the report detailing the survey's results. But in the three cases over the last 20 years in which it did, those  measures had organize opposition and I-1351 does not, he added.

To read more about the survey results, click on the document below. To read arguments for and against I-1351 from the state's Online Voter's Guide, click here. To check out coverage of I-1351 in The Spokesman-Review's Election Center, click here.


Documents:

Elway Poll: Voters split on gun initiatives

OLYMPIA — Support for both gun initiatives on the November ballot is falling, but the proposal to expand background checks to most sales still has majority support, a new Elway Research poll says.

Three of five voters polled last week said they would definitely or probably vote for I-594, down from nearly three out of four voters polled in April.  Only about two of five said they would definitely or probably vote for I-591, a counter  measure that wouldn't allow Washington to change its background check laws unless a new national standard was set; it had support of 55 percent of those polled in April.

Elway Research polled 500 registered voters chosen at random across the state, by phone,  between Oct. 6 and Oct. 9. The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percent. 

The 60 percent support for I-594 lines up with the 59 percent of people in the poll who said they believe background checks should be more extensive. 

Pollster H. Stuart Elway said the recent survey also indicates voters are more familiar with the two measures. In April, 40 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote for both initiatives, even though they are basically in conflict. That has dropped to 22 percent.

Elway offered some caveats about polling on initiatives:

— When conflicting initiatives on the ballot confuse voters, they are apt to vote “no” on both. 

—Initiatives tend to lose support over time, although a 60 percent approval with three weeks to go has been enough for many measures in the recent past. “Under this theory, I-591 looks like a goner and the question is whether I-594 will hold on to enough of its 10-point cushion over the next three weeks to prevail,” he said. The mid-term election is expected to have a low turnout, with more conservative voters casting ballots, he added.

For more details, click on the document below.

 


Documents:

Sunday Spin: Gun inits duel over cop support

OLYMPIA – Law enforcement agencies may not be getting much love in most of the country after images of heavily armed cops filled news coverage of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. But here in Washington, the dueling gun initiatives are competing for the claim of “cops love my initiative better.” . .

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

 

Gun initiatives: Where the money comes from

The vast majority of money supporting the initiative to expand background checks on guns comes from just 10 ZIP codes in the Seattle area, much of it from people with ties to the state's tech industry.

An analysis of contributions reported to the state Public Disclosure Commission shows more than $2.8 million in contributions for Initiative 594 – or about 84 cents of every dollar contributed – comes from downtown Seattle, areas around Lake Washington and Shoreline. So far the ballot measure to extend background checks from licensed dealers to most private sales has raised about $3.2 million, about three times more than the the campaign for a counter proposal.

Protect Our Gun Rights’ big donors are a trio of groups opposed to further gun control measures. I-591 would only allow changes to Washington’s gun control laws unless a uniform national standard is adopted. . . 

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


Documents:

Nazi comments continue to provide ammo to I-594 debate

A suggestion by an NRA spokesman that Jews should oppose gun control because of what happened in Nazi Germany has added new ammunition to the debate over two competing measures on the November ballot.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and others on Tuesday called for the resignation of NRA state lobbyist Brian Judy, who said recently he couldn't understand why Jews would support gun control, a policy instituted by the Nazis.

Judy reportedly was telling a group of gun rights advocates he couldn’t understand the support for Initiative 594 by a major donor whose family he said was “run out of Germany by the Nazis”. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Used practice targets left at League office

The League of Women Voters of Washington wants supporters of a gun-rights initiative to denounce the unknown group that left used targets at or near their office.

But supporters of Initiative 591 called the incidents a “propaganda stunt” the good government group is milking to get money for a rival ballot measure, I-594. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: Initiative fights continue after elections end

OLYMPIA – For a political reporter, state initiatives have become gifts that just keep on giving.

There have always been plenty of unusual ideas for ballot measures that crop up every spring, sort of like dandelions in the political lawn, and knock-down campaign battles over the few that collect enough signatures to make the ballot.

Some measures manage to remain controversial long after voters approve or reject them. . . 

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

 

Signature gatherers could need to register

OLYMPIA — Paid signature-gatherers for statewide ballot measures would need to register with the Secretary of State and their employers would need to conduct background checks before hiring them under a bill approved Thursday by a House panel.

They would have to sign a statement saying they understand election laws, list what initiatives or referenda they are being paid to collect signatures, and couldn't collect signatures on other petitions for free at the same time. Companies that hire unregistered signature gatherers, or allow their employees to be paid for one ballot measure while collecting names on another for free could be fined $500 

The bill is the latest attempt to address concerns some legislators have expressed about the growth of paid-signature gathering for the statewide initiatives, which now rarely qualify for the ballot solely with volunteer staff. Several campaigns in recent years have had paid gatherers who turned in forged signatures.

Katie Blinn of the Secretary of State's elections office said the agency had opposed previous proposals but was supporting this measure because it does not require the signatures to be rejected if the person gathering names violates the law. A House appropriations subcommittee passed the bill on a 7-1 vote.

 

Sunday Spin2: New definition of victory?

In elections, victory is usually well-defined. You got the most votes. Period.

So it was a bit odd Thursday to get a post-election email from initiative guru Tim Eyman describing the results of the election as “7 measures, 7 votes, 7 victories”. . . 

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

Tax advisory votes: How much effect?

Voters seeking extensive information from the usual sources on five statewide advisory measures before casting their ballots may be out of luck.

There are no high-powered campaigns for or against Advisory Votes 3 through 7. No statements pro or con in the state Voters Pamphlet. No web sites with videos or lists of endorsers…

 

To find out more about the tax advisory votes, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

GMO labeling measure losing steam?

The onslaught of commercials castigating Initiative 522, the genetically engineered food labeling measure on the November ballot, may be taking their toll.

A new survey by The Elway Poll shows support for I-522 has dropped precipitously in the last month. In September, about two-thirds of voters surveyed said they supported the measure, which requires many foods bought at the store to carry labels if they have genetically modified ingredients. Only about one voter in five opposed it.

In the latest poll, that support is down to 46 percent, and opposition up to 42 percent. With the poll's margin of error at 5 percent, that's a statistical tie. More concerning for supporters could be that it has dipped below 50 percent support, because undecided voters tend to vote No if they remain undecided at the point they must cast their ballots.

The Seattle Times broke down the Elway Poll numbers this week. King TV had similar results from a separate poll.

The latest Public Disclosure Commission reports show the No campaign, funded in large part by Monsanto, DuPont and large food and beverage companies contributing to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, have spent about $13.5 million. The Yes campaign, which has collected large amounts from some natural food and cosmetic product companies, but also has hundreds of small donations from Washington and around the country, has spent about $5.4 million.

  
  

Sunday Spin: Initiative sponsors go 0 for 84

OLYMPIA – Friday was a rare day in Washington state politics, although it went mostly unnoticed because it was rare for what didn’t happen rather than what did.

It was the deadline to turn in signatures for an initiative to the people to put on the November ballot an idea some would deem brilliant and others ridiculous. No one turned any in. . .

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

No on I-522 money flooding in from out of state

OLYMPIA – In another sign that Washington will be the national battleground this fall over genetically altered foods, opponents of a ballot measure requiring those products to be labeled raised almost $1 million last month.

None of it came from Washington state. . .

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

1 year for initiatives to get signatures? How about 2 years?

OLYMPIA – As state law enforcement officials began investigating more than 8,000 allegedly forged signatures for a pair of ballot measures, a legislative panel looked at changes to the century-old avenue for grass-roots democracy, the initiative process.

One suggestion the Senate Governmental Operations Committee aired out Thursday: Give initiative campaigns more time to circulate petitions.

“If we give citizens more time to get involved, you wouldn’t need paid signature gatherers,” Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said. . .

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

Same-sex marriage foes concede defeat

Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.

The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.

On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail.  A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.

Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.

“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.

To view the latest statewide results on Ref. 74, click here.

Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the  most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.

“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.

Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.

Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.

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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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