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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Spokane County

90 percent of ballots could be counted tonight

Spokane County could count as much as 90 percent of the ballots for the primary tonight.

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said county elections staff have processed and readied for tabulation all ballots received by this morning. That leaves only the ballots being placed in the drop boxes today and those that come in the mail Wednesday and beyond.

Turnout is light, but mail delivery on the day after the election is usually heavy for ballots.

As of this morning, the county had received 36,564 ballots out of the 194,626 mailed out, or just under 19 percent.

McLaughlin estimated the final turnout will be around 40,000.

They'll release a single tally tonight just after 8 p.m., and another on Wednesday around 5 p.m.

If you still have your ballot and plan to vote, see the post below.

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.


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on U.S. House race

Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers easily won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and defeated Democrat Rich Cowan in all the counties in the Eastern Washington District, including Spokane County. 

Click here to see a map of the vote for all of Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District.

For a closer look at the Spokane County results, check out the PDF version of the map below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on U.S. Senate

Democrat Maria Cantwell easily won a third term in the U.S. Senate in the statewide vote, but is running only slightly ahead of Republican Mike Baumgartner in Spokane County. If trends hold, Baumgartner's home county would be the only Eastern Washington County she carries.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane County map, click on the PDF document below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on charter schools

Initiative 1240, which would allow the state to set up as many as 40 charter schools over the next five years, has a slight lead statewide and in Spokane County.

For a map on the state results on I-1240, click here.

For a closer look at the Spokane County vote, click on the PDF document below


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Mapping the Vote: Spokane on president

Although Washington state as a whole went for Barack Obama, Spokane County and Eastern Washington went for Mitt Romney. Here's a look at the votes counted on Election Night.

For a look at the statewide map, click here.

For a closer look at the Spokane vote, click on the PDF document below.


Documents:

Election officially begins in Washington

Washington's Election Day, which is actually a nearly three-week period, began today as county elections offices around the state began mailing out ballots. Some have so many that the process will continue through Friday to meet the statutory deadline for getting all ballots in the mail.

In Spokane County, elections officials mailed out some 153,000 ballots today, or slightly more than half of the total. Those ballots are going to voters in the 3rd and 4th Legislative Districts, while ballots to the 6th, 7th and 9th districts will be mailed Thursday, Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said. At 8.7 cents per ballot — a bulk rate for pre-sorted, non-profit mail — Wednesday's trip to the post office cost the county $13,277.57

Spokane County has a record number of registered voters, at 280,301.

Ballots typically take a few days to reach a voter's mailbox. Voters who haven't moved from the residence listed in their registration could call the elections office if they haven't received a ballot by next Tuesday, McLaughlin said. Voters who recently moved or are out of town, and having the mail forwarded to another address, should contact the office if they haven't received their ballot by Oct. 25. The number is 509-477-2320.

Ballots must be marked, placed in the signed envelopes and either mailed back to the county elections office or deposited in a drop box by Nov. 6. In Spokane County, drop boxes are located at public libraries as well as the elections office at 1033 W. Gardner and the STA Plaza in downtown Spokane.

Mapping the vote: Partisan strength

This map shows the relative strength of the two parties, based on an analysis of votes in key races in 2008 and 2010:

Obama v. McCain for president
Gregoire v. Rossi for governor (2008)
Murray v. Rossi for Senate (2010)
McMorris Rodgers v. Romeyn (2010)
Mager v. French (2010)

There were several shifts in precincts between the two elections, and results were adjusted to reflect those changes.

For a closer look at the map, click on the PDF file.


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Mapping the vote: New Lege districts

Here's a look at the new legislative districts in Spokane County. For a closer look, check out the PDF file. 


Documents:

New voter cards in the mail

Most Spokane County voters will get cards in the mail updating their voter information.

County elections officials said they've mailed out 195,000 cards listing new precinct information, which is roughly three out of four voters in the county.

The changes were prompted by the redistricting, which happens once very 10 years after a national census. Spokane County remains in the 5th Congressional District, but the lines for all of the legislative districts locate completely or partially in the county were redrawn.

In an effort to save some money, the county is sending cards only to voters whose precinct information changed. The Valley's 4th Legislative District saw the least change, and many precincts in that district remain the same, so those voters won't be getting new cards. But the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 9th districts all had significant changes that effect of their voters.

A bit of voting info trivia of the political geeks: Precincts in Spokane County have a four-digit number that helps explain where that voting sector is. The first digit is the legislative district, so all county precincts start with either 3, 4, 6, 7 or 9.

The second digit tells whether the voter lives inside or outside an incorporated area like a city or town. A zero for the second digit means the precinct is in an unincorporated area; another digit means its a city or town. Most of the cities and towns are in a single legislative district, so a precinct that starts 44 is the City of Spokane Valley and one that starts 43 is Liberty Lake. Airway Heights precincts start 64 and Cheney precincts 67. Spokane city precincts are a bit trickier because there are three Lege districts that have pieces of the city, and the second digit is either 1, 2 or 3, to tell you which City Council district the precinct is in. Northeast is 1, South is 2 and Northwest is 3.

One-third of Spokane ballots in

Spokane County Elections Office says it has received slighly more than 89,500 ballots, or 33.66 percent of all the ballots it sent out a couple weeks ago.

That's counting nearly 10,000 that came in today's mail or the pickup of weekend deposits in drop boxes.

For those who think a hot candidate race will definitely spur turnout, the numbers so far would suggest otherwise.

For example, the city of Spokane has a hotly contested mayor's race, a council president race and three contested city council races. It's turnout is 33.4 percent. The City of Spokane Valley has some contested council seats, turnout there is 33.24 percent.

The 4th Legislative District has one of the state's few off-year senate races. Turnout is 33.76 percent.

Town of Spangle, which has five council races on the ballot, but only one that's contested, turnout 45.8 percent. Orchard Prairie School District, three board seats on the ballot, none contested, 40.4 percent turnout.

Of course, one could note that Spangle and O.P. School District  registration numbers are so small that a handful of ballots boosts the turnout numbers. That's true, but the top part or the ballot is the same for everyone, with five statewide ballot measures and one county-wide proposal. And the process is the same for everyone: Fill out the ballot, put it in an envelope and mail it in or drop it off. For info on where to drop them, go here.

Local women living longer

Women in Spokane County can expect to live about a year longer than women a quarter century ago, and Kootenai County women about two years longer.

Those averages are contained in a new study by the University of Washington which shows that while women in some parts of the United States have slightly lower life expectancy, those in Washington, Idaho and most of the Northwest have slightly higher life expectancy.

After studying data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the UW developed a county-by-county map that shows the change in life expectancy across the nation between 1987 and 2007. It shows a decline in life expectancy for women in 313 counties, mostly in the South, Southern Midwest and Appalachia.That's the largest decline since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918.

 Declines in life expectancy for men went down in only six counties.

To see the map, or read the analysis, click here.

Mapping the 2010 Vote: County Commissioner

Data from Spokane County Elections Office/Computer analysis by Spin Control

Today’s voter turn-in: 10,745

Spokane County Elections Office reported collecting 10,745 ballots this morning, bringing the total to 87,854 for the general election. Turn-in stands at 33.65 percent countywide, although a bit  lower in the city of Spokane and significantly lower in the 3rd Legislative District, a Democratic stronghold.

The overall total means turn-in is running slightly stronger in this second week of voting than in 2006 mid-term election, although nowhere near the levels of the presidential election year in 2008.

Here’s a numbers geek factoid: In both of those years, half the folks who were going to vote had turned in or mailed their ballots by the Thursday before election day. Projecting that trend onto this year (admittedly a somewhat shaky hypothesis) Spokane County would be on track for a turnout of about 67 percent.

Today’s ballot turn-in: 7,650

As suggested yesterday, Tuesday was likely the high-water mark for ballots being received in Spokane County for the next two weeks.

Today’s count was 7,650, down about 4,500 from Tuesday’s 12,104.

Highest turnout right now is in central Spokane’s 3rd Legislative District, which is at about 11.2%, compared to 10.4% for the 4th District, 9.6% for the 6th District. 9.1% for the 7th District and 8.7% for the 9th District.

The 3rd District typically leads in turnout at the beginning of the turn-in, but drops to the bottom by election day.

County turnout nearing 16 percent

Spokane County turnout — OK, turn-in if you prefer — is nearing 16 percent after this morning’s ballot sort.

The county had its heaviest day last Tuesday, when it got more than 11,000 ballots in the mail. The Tuesday after the first weekend ballots are in voters’ hands is a fairly typical peak day because folks usually get the ballots just before or on the weekend. That’s probably because the most dilligent and those who have already made up their minds on candidates and issues mark their ballots and send them back. Since last Tuesday, the daily count has totaled about 6,000 ballots per day.

Ballots must be postmarked or dropped in a pickup box by 8 p.m. Aug. 17 (next Tuesday). For a list of boxes, go inside the blog.

Early sales tax numbers show continued rough times for local governments

 Early numbers aren’t looking good for Spokane and other local governments hoping to avoid more budget gloom.

Sales tax distributions for the first two months of 2010 were the lowest since 2005 for Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Valley and the Spokane Transit Authority.

Because of the increased cost of doing business, largely from of salary increases and the spiking costs of health insurance, local governments usually need rising tax revenue to maintain services with the same number of employees.

Sales taxes are only one source of revenue, but they are a signficant one, especially for STA, which doesn’t have property or utility taxes.

Baker, the county assessor, will face Republican challenger from his office

Another Republican Spokane County officeholder will face a challenge within the party and within his office. But it appears this time the incumbent won’t discipline his challenger.

Vicki Horton, a residential appraiser in the county assessor’s office, filed paperwork this week with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating that she will challenge her boss, Assessor Ralph Baker, in the August primary.

Last week, Deputy Prosecutor Dave Stevens, a Republican, announced he was challenging his boss, GOP Prosecutor Steve Tucker. Stevens criticized Tucker’s leadership and referred to Tucker as “an absent administrator.” Tucker placed Stevens on paid leave the next day.

Baker confirmed on Tuesday that he plans to run for reelection. When told by a reporter that Horton was running, Baker said: “That’s great.” He added that he was surprised she decided to pursue the office but that he had no reason to discipline her for running. Baker called Horton “a very good employee.”

Horton, who is the union shop steward for the office, said Baker is “a very nice person,” but added: “I have a few things I would like to see different.”

A $5 million question: Could juror’s death have been prevented?

When 84-year-old Kay Mita got a jury summons, he regarded it as a sign the government was acknowledging a six-decades-old injustice. His first day of jury service, however, turned out to be the last day of his life.
Now the widow and son of a juror who died of exposure on the courthouse steps have filed a $5 million claim with the county, a possible prelude to a federal lawsuit against the county and Guardsmark LLC, which provides security at the courthouse.
Steve Bartel, the county’s risk manager, said his office is reviewing the claim to determine whether the county has any liability in what he acknowledged is “a terrible event.”
Mita reported for jury duty the morning of Nov. 26, 2007, left the jury room for the lunch break, but didn’t return at the scheduled time. He apparently became confused and disoriented, and was unable to find his car parked less than a block away. He wandered around the courthouse and its grounds for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Although his family reported him missing about 7 p.m., neither Spokane police who are in the adjoining building nor courthouse security guards who allowed him to stay in the building until it closed knew of the missing person report.
Mita stayed near the courthouse in snow and sub-freezing weather overnight until he died of hypothermia. His body was found the next morning, sitting near the steps of the courthouse’s south entrance.
“There’s some pretty confusing details I’m trying to figure out,” Bartel said. “Could we have done something different?”

To read the rest of the story, click on Continue reading below

County has new specs to run track

.Spokane County is looking for a new operator of its racetrack who will have to have something the last operator did not – experience running a track.

A request for qualifications to bid on the contract for the Spokane County Raceway Park was released Wednesday and the lease could be awarded by mid February, County Parks Director Doug Chase said. Any bidder must provide significantly more information on finances than the county requested last year, and expect increased oversight of track operations by the county.

“I think it’s safe to say” the county learned from problems it had with Bucky Austin, who received the operator’s lease for the track early this year, Chase said.

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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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