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Hayes Explains Election Count Snafu

In a press release emailed moments ago, County Clerk Cliff Hayes explained the counting snafu that prevented final Kootenai County results to be posted online until shortly before 7 Wednesday morning:

Around 1:30 a.m. elections management saw online results were not adjusting correctly as each incremental posting of the machine counts was uploaded.  They   began investigating the problem and trying different input methods.  When a solution hadn’t been found after more than two hours of attempts, the results that had been posted were taken down, and a notice saying “Due to technical difficulties we are unable to post Election results now.  As soon as we have accurate numbers they will be posted here” put up about 4:30 a.m.  In addition, notification was made to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office and the media.  The notice was up until about 6:30 a.m. when the results reporting problem was identified and a solution tested out accurately.

“Some people think stopping the online results posting was the wrong thing to do”, Hayes said.  “I always believe that accuracy is more important than speed.”  Full news release here.

Thoughts?

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.

McMorris Rodgers starts public campaign for promotion

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has begun her public campaign in her race to become the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the fourth-highest ranking position in the U.S. House of Representatives.

She sent a letter to her Republican colleagues this morning that outlines her qualifications. Republicans will choose a new conference chairman in a vote on Wednesday.

“As your Vice Chairman over the past two Congresses, I have worked to be worthy of your trust and support. I am honored to have played a role in communicating our conservative agenda – to build an America that is strong, prosperous and free,” he letter says. “On the political front, I’ve helped recruit stellar candidates, raised over $1,000,000 to the NRCC, contributed over $300,000 to candidates and traveled to 51 Congressional districts in 22 states.”

The timing of the news release isn't surprising. Part of what helps a member of Congress win votes from colleagues for a leadership spot is a proven ability to raise money for those colleagues' elections. But she couldn't brag about her fund-raising prowess until after Tuesday because her Democratic opponent in Tuesday's election, Rich Cowan, made a big issue out McMorris Rodgers' time spent campaigning in other districts.

(Here is an article in today's S-R about McMorris Rodgers' position on compromise in dealing with the fiscal cliff and if her 2004 pledge not to support tax increases will affect if she will support a deal.)

McMorris Rodgers' push to become conference chairwoman has been well-known for weeks, and last week, Politico reported that she likely has the votes to win, though The Hill today reports that the race between her and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga, is tight.

Idaho school reform combatants on both sides call for new start

Here's a link to my full day-after-the-election story at spokesman.com, on how after Idaho voters decisively rejected the “Students Come First” school reform laws on Tuesday, leaders on both sides were calling today for a new start on education reforms in Idaho, with all the stakeholders at the table.

Labrador promises ‘bold actions and strong leadership’ in 2nd term

Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador has released a statement thanking supporters for his “resounding victory” in yesterday's election. “After the results of the national election, I know we are all wondering what to expect for America’s future,” he writes. “Well, you and I both know that the big problems we face will require bold actions and strong leadership. You can count on me to provide that leadership and to continue to fight for you and fight your family.”

Otter: ‘We’re prepared to sit down and find a path forward with all the stakeholders’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter spoke with reporters this afternoon about the election results, and he said the call from “Students Come First” opponents to begin new talks with all stakeholders about school reform is “exactly what I want to do.”

“I think the interest that was shown on both sides, and what we heard on both sides, gives us a good opportunity to start developing, with everybody, a concurrent plan that we can go forward with,” Otter said. “I think everybody does realize, whether they voted for or against the propositions, that our old education system is simply not working. We're not graduating students in many cases that are ready for college, not ready for the wonderful world of work or careers. … I talked to some of the leadership this morning and we're prepared to sit down and find a path forward with all of the stakeholders.”

Otter said he'd be opposed to trying to just re-pass the same laws the voters have rejected. “That isn't a course that I think is positive, that isn't a course that I think would be productive,” he said. “I do think what we need to do is take each prop, each idea of reform, and sit down and say, 'What did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? If you had a chance to change it, how would you change it?' And those things that we can agree on, and each and every one of those … is what we ought to go forward with.”

Unlike Otter, Luna didn't talk to the press today. Asked about Luna's sentiments, Otter said, “I sense that he believes this is a new beginning on education reform, and that we're going to have to go forward.”

The governor said, “There is something we ought to be celebrating today, and that is the big turnout that we had in Idaho. … But we also need to celebrate the independence of the Idaho voter. The Idaho voter isn't going to be led anyplace without some rational thought on their own, without some investigation on their own. I have been the benefactor of that, and in some cases I haven't benefited so much from it. But I still love the independence, and I celebrate their independence today.”

He added, “I want to concentrate right now on the path forward. I want to vet that through the (legislative) leadership, say what can we accomplish, and how quick  can we accomplish that, and who do we have to have in the room to accomplish it.”

Goedde ponders whether to continue as Senate Ed chair or not…

Coeur d'Alene Sen. John Goedde, who's just won re-election to a seventh term in the Senate, says he may or may not continue as the Senate Education Committee chairman. “I would be in line to take the Commerce & Human Resources chairmanship, and that's something that I spent … years being involved with as a small businessman,” said Goedde, an insurance agent. “And I would not have the hassle of dealing with the leadership of the IEA there.”

Clearly stung by the defeat of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the “Students Come First” school reform measures - of which Goedde was the lead legislative sponsor and which the Idaho Education Association opposed - he said he'll “withhold judgment on how serious the IEA is on looking at education reform” until he sees what vision the teachers union proposes for future reform. “If the union is sincere in looking at reform, I think they need to be included,” Goedde said. “But if it's going to be 'not only no but hell no,' which has kind of been their prior approach to this, then it's a futile effort to include them.”

Goedde said by seniority, if he were to leave the education chairmanship, the next person eligible would be Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, who now chairs the Resources Committee. And if he didn't want to, the next would be Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, who now serves in leadership as caucus chairman.

Goedde said, “But with that said, I also made a commitment that I'd see this reform through the end, and I don't know that I can jump ship mid-term.” Goedde said, “I spoke with the pro-tem this morning, and I'll speak with him again at the legislative tour.” Lawmakers will gather for their North Idaho Legislative Tour starting on Sunday; it's in Moscow and Lewiston this year. The three-day event will be the first chance for jockeying to begin for leadership races; it'll also be the first chance for lawmakers to chew over the election result together. “We need to sit down as a majority caucus and talk about where we go from here,” Goedde said.

Ref. 74 supporters declaring victory

OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.

Opponents say they aren't conceding.

 Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had “some of the best minds available” analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.

That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.

There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as “cautiously optimistic” but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.

Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. “Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory,” Chip said.  

So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? “We will issue another statement,” Grow said. “But we don't think that's going to happen.”

For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.

Farris says he’ll run against Labrador again in 2014

1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Jimmy Farris, who polled 30.8 percent to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador's 63 percent in the final, unofficial results, has released this statement:

“I want to thank the many people who put their faith in me and honored me with their vote. Their support was invaluable and I look forward to adding to their numbers in the next campaign. Running a campaign is not an easy task, but this was just the beginning. We learned a great deal and made major inroads this time around, and we are ready to continue building on what we started. Next time we have to work harder and smarter – it’s going to be a challenge, but we will not turn back now.

“We still need to end the gridlock and division that has crippled Congress. We brought a lot of issues to the forefront in this campaign, and when Congressman Labrador returns to Washington, we will be watching to make sure he is doing his job. “I am committed to devoting myself to public service and to giving the First District the representation it deserves. Our next journey starts today. We are headed full steam ahead towards a victory in 2014.”

Mapping the Vote: Holy leads Dellwo

Republican Jeff Holy built up his sizeable lead by beating Democrat Dennis Dellwo in most of the 6th Districts precincts. Dellwo won some city precincts in Spokane and Cheney, but Holy ran much stronger in the suburbs and rural precincts.


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Contract: No cost to state now that Prop 3 voted down

I've had several inquiries from readers concerned that now that voters have rejected Proposition 3, that the state would face costs related to the now-canceled $182 million laptop contract with Hewlett-Packard. I can verify that according to H-P's Business and Scope of Work Proposal, which is included in the contract as Exhibit D, the state is not required to make any payments.

Bidders were asked to outline early termination costs if Prop 3 didn't pass. H-P said the cost would be zero, as its period of performance for the contract wouldn't begin until the day after the election. It's in Exhibit D on page 102-3; you can read those two pages here. It says, “With a projected start date after November 6, HP anticipates that there will be no lease funding necessary as no notebook units would have shipped or have been accepted prior to the Proposition 3 ballot in November 2012. Hewlett-Packard will not fund any Lease Schedule under the Master Agreement until and unless Proposition 3 has been approved by Idaho voters in November, 2012.”

Mapping the Vote: Shea leads Biviano

State Rep. Matt Shea has a seemingly insurmountable lead over Democoratic challenger Amy Biviano. She won some precincts in Millwood and the City of Spokane Valley; he won everything else.

For a more detailed look at this map, click on the PDF document below.


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Mapping the Vote: Billig leads McLaughlin

State Rep. Andy Billig leads Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLauglin in most precincts in the race to fill the 3rd Legislative District Senate seat left open by Sen. Lisa Brown's retirement.

For a more detailed version of the map, check out the PDF Document below.


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Mapping the Vote: O’Quinn leads Romeyn

Republican Shelly O'Quinn is comfortably ahead of Democrat Daryl Romeyn in the race to fill the open seat on the Spokane County Board of Commissioners.

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


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Mapping the Vote: Mielke leads Roskelley

Incumbent County Commissioner Todd Mielke has a comfortable lead over former Commissioner John Roskelley in the race for Commissioner District 1. Roskelley had strong support in some parts of the City of Spokane, but Mielke is running ahead in most other precincts.

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


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Johnson’s takeaways: Historic election ‘will be hashed over for years’

Marc Johnson's “The Johnson Post” offers five takeaways from yesterday's election, including  a dose of Idaho historical perspective, some demographics, impacts for the two senior members of the state's congressional delegation, and how the election leaves Idaho balanced on its own “cliff,” this one involving health insurance. You can read it here. Johnson calls yesterday “a truly historic day,” saying, “This one will be hashed over for years.”
  

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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Otter on school reform: ‘The public conversation isn’t over, it’s only begun’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter issued this statement today on the voters' rejection of Propositions 1, 2, and 3, the “Students Come First” school reform measures:

“The people have spoken, so I’m not discouraged. That’s how our system works. But it’s important to remember that the public conversation that began almost two years ago isn’t over – it’s only begun. Our workforce, our communities and most of all our students still deserve better, and our resources are still limited. We offered these reforms not because we sought change for change’s sake, but because change is needed to afford our young people the opportunities they deserve now and for decades to come. That’s as true today as it was yesterday, so our work for a brighter and better future continues.”

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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‘We want to sit down with our elected leaders, and that includes Supt. Luna’

Mike Lanza, a Boise father of two who chaired the “No on Props 1,2,3” campaign, said today, “I first got involved in this effort because I have a couple of elementary kids and that was my entire motivation for getting involved. … This election was not a vote against better schools, quite to the contrary. This outcome was a statement by voters that we care very deeply about Idaho's public schools.” He said, “Let's be clear about the mandate from voters,” listing five points:

* “Idaho's voters believe in local control of public schools and reject any top-down, one-size-fits-all mandates from the state.”
* “We believe that every student deserves to have an excellent teacher, and reject the notion of cutting teachers and increasing class sizes in order to pay for unproven technological education fixes.”
* “We believe in the fundamental fairness of a collaborative benefit for everyone of giving our teachers a full voice in how our schools are managed, through the local negotiations process, including on matters beyond pay and benefits.”
* “We believe we should invest in the classroom and reject the idea than an unfunded and unproven merit pay plan can improve student achievement.”
* “And we believe that all stakeholders in education should be brought to the table to engage in a real and an honest process of figuring out how to improve Idaho's public schools.”

Said Lanza, “Most of all in this election, voters said overwhelmingly our elected leaders must be held accountable to the public.” At that point, he was interrupted by applause. “We want to sit down with our elected leaders, and that includes Supt. Luna,” Lanza said, “and begin the hard work that is required to forge real education reform.”

Maria Greeley, a Boise mom and co-founder of the campaign with Lanza, said, “The Luna laws were divisive and destructive, but there is a positive outcome. We have learned how important it is for all citizens to remain engaged in education. We know what we don't want, and by contrast, we have learned what we do want. We want transparency. We want collaboration. We want politics kept out of education. We want the input from our educators. We want our locally elected school boards to determine what is best for each district. And we want to know that our teachers are valued. It is now time to start healing and moving forward.”
  

IEA chief: ‘Together we can be a model of reform for the nation’

Leaders of the successful campaign to overturn state schools Superintendent Tom Luna's “Students Come First” school reform laws gathered in front of Boise High School today to talk about what's next. “This debate has never been about union control of schools,” said Penni Cyr, president of the Idaho Education Association, and also a mother of four and 28-year teacher in the Moscow School District. “This debate has been about what's best for the students, educators and Idaho's public schools.” She added, “Now that the voters have spoken, it's up to us, the adults, to model … for our students how grownups with diverse views can come together and put their differences aside and go forward. … I urge lawmakers and other elected leaders and policy makers to meet us at the table, to begin the conversation about what is best for Idaho's students and Idaho's schools. We believe that together we can be a model of reform for the nation.”

Luna: ‘I do not believe any Idahoan wants to go back to system we had 2 years ago’

After all three of his “Students Come First” school reform measures were soundly defeated by Idaho voters yesterday, state schools Superintendent Tom Luna issued this statement this morning:

“I still believe that Idahoans want better schools through education reform. I still believe that empowering local school boards, phasing out tenure, giving parents input on evaluations, helping students take dual credit, paying teachers for more than just years of experience and amount of education, and making sure every classroom is a 21st  Century Classroom are critical if we want an education system that meets the needs of every child. We have now had a 22-month discussion about what this should look like. I understand Idahoans have expressed concerns, yet I do not believe any Idahoan wants to go back to the status quo system we had two years ago. I am as committed as anyone to finding a way to make this happen. We must find a way because our children’s future is at stake.”
  

Idahoans overwhelmingly approve hunting rights amendment

ELECTIONS — Idaho voters have overwhelmingly approved an a measure upgrading hunting, fishing and trapping from traditional privileges to rights protected by an amendment to the state's constitution.

Tuesday's vote was about 78 percent in favor of H.J.R. 2aa - The Right to hunt, fish and trap measure.

While the intent seems sincere from a sportsman's perspective, one always must consider the legal ramifications of a constitutional amendment.  There's some concern this measure may have consequences for wildlife habitat – and therefore to hunters and anglers — down the line.

The issue has been pointed out in this Idaho Statesman column by Rocky Barker — http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/10/28/2326090/right-to-hunt-fish-trap-goes-to.html.

Also before the election, a retired Idaho Fish and Game Department fisheries biologist expressed his concerns here.

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.


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More election results…

Other results from last night, with 99% of the vote counted:

SJR 102, county probation services amendment: 74.4% yes, 25.6% no
HJR2aa, right to fish, hunt and trap: 73.4% yes, 26.6% no

Every incumbent state legislator in districts 1-5 who faced a challenge was re-elected. That includes Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene; Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene; Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow; and Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow. Republican Ed Morse defeated Democratic opponent Dan English to hold Phil Hart's old House seat in District 2; newcomer Luke Malek, a Republican, won the seat formerly held by Rep. Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d'Alene; and in a close contest, Republican Cindy Agidius defeated Democrat Paulette Jordan, 50.3% to 49.7%, for an open House seat in District 5.

In District 6, appointed Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, turned back a challenge from former District Judge John Bradbury, 44.6% to 55.4%. And in the new District 7, Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, defeated independent Jon Cantamessa, 63.8% to 36.2%.

There were few legislative upsets statewide, but among them were two in District 18: Democratic former Rep. Branden Durst defeated Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise; and Democrat Janie Ward-Engelking defeated Rep. Julie Ellsworth, R-Boise. Republicans held the District 15 Senate seat, as former U.S. Attorney Betty Richardson was edged by Republican Fred Martin, 52.1% to 47.9%; the GOP held all three seats in that district. Democrats held all three seats in Districts 16 and 17. Dems also held all three seats in District 29 in Pocatello.

Overall, the party split in the Legislature remained the same, with 7 Democrats and 28 Republicans in the Senate, and 13 Democrats and 57 Republicans in the House. That means the R's stil hold 81 percent of the seats in the Idaho Legislature.

All three school reform measures fail

With 93 percent of the vote counted, all three “Students Come First” school reform measures are being soundly defeated. That means the laws passed amid much controversy in 2011 are repealed. Here's where they stand:

Proposition 1: 42.8% yes, 57.2% no
Proposition 2: 42.1 percent yes, 57.9 percent no
Proposition 3: 33.4 percent yes, 66.6 percent no

Mapping the vote: Spokane on the governor’s race

Democrat Jay Inslee has a narrow lead statewide in the race for governor, but Republican Rob McKenna won in Spokane County and the rest of Eastern Washington.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

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


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Mapping the vote: Spokane on legalized marijuana

Initiative 502, which will legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults in Washington, passed handily statewide and is ahead in Spokane County in Tuesday's tally.

Click here for a look at the statewide map.

For a closer look at the Spokane breakdown, click on the PDF file below


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Mapping the vote: Spokane on same-sex marriage

Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, is slightly ahead statewide, but trails in Spokane County

For the statewide map, click here

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


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