Tag Archives: elections

Poor turnout a consistent reality across the state

On Tuesday we posted a story showing voter turnout in Kitsap County at right around 12 percent as of Monday. With Tuesday numbers we’re now at about 13.2 percent, according to data released by the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.

As low as our turnout is, across the state it is worse at 10.2 percent. That does include incomplete data from a couple of counties. Okanogan County is so far reporting that out of 5,357 ballots sent out for two primary races, only three ballots have been returned. The Secretary of State’s Office confirms that number is incorrect, but the correct number won’t be reported until tomorrow.

The only county larger than Kitsap that has higher turnout is Spokane County, which as of Tuesday is at 15.6 percent. King County turnout is at 8.3 percent. Pierce is at 7.5.

Douglas County is the highest at 41.6 percent, but that’s among 322 votes. Jefferson County is at 22 percent and Mason is at 18.4 percent.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman predicted 26 percent turnout, but as we pointed out in Tuesday’s story, if April is any indicator we are two-thirds the way of where we will be by next Tuesday, which would put the state’s projected total at about 16 percent. It will take a significant late run across the state to beat that.

Here are the state numbers county-by-county, with the total, Kitsap and its neighbor counties highlighted. Five counties are not included because they do not have primaries.


County receives grant for military and overseas voting

Kitsap County will receive part of a $743,580 award the federal government is giving to 16 Washington counties to assist with an electronic ballot system used by military members and overseas voters.

The county led the consortium of counties in applying for the funding, which will help pay for the system that allows voters outside the state to get ballots by email.

The Department of Defense issued the grant, along with grants to a King County five-county consortium, counties in Texas and Florida and to four states. The DOD money is specifically aimed at efforts to ease voting for members of the military and Americans overseas.

Kitsap’s share will be $30,000 for the five-year program, plus $10,000 to administer the grant for the 16-county group, according to Shawn Devine, elections division spokesman.

The county’s press release follows:
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Have two stamps ready for your ballot

Walt Washington, county auditor, issued a statement saying ballots will begin arriving Oct. 19 and that this year’s ballot will require two first-class stamps should you choose to mail it back. Or you can weigh it to get the exact postage. The bottom line is one stamp won’t be enough.

An alternative to mailing is to drop the ballot at one of six drop boxes throughout the county. The drop boxes are at the following sites:

  • The Poulsbo Fire Station
  • The Bainbridge Island Fire Station
  • The upper parking lot at the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton
  • The County Administration Building in Port Orchard
  • The Central Kitsap School District Administration Building in Silverdale
  • The Sylvan Way Kitsap Regional Library branch building in East Bremerton
  • Washington also offers information about licensing, housing and shelter programs and financial reporting.

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    KRCC bypasses debate on PSRC membership

    John Powers of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance presented the newly revised “roadmap” for economic development in the Central Puget Sound region to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council on Tuesday.

    Kitsap officials had a heavy hand in drafting the Regional Economic Strategy, said Ed Stern, Poulsbo city councilman and board vice chair of the Economic Development District. That’s the body charged with revising the plan every five years so the region — made up of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties — remains qualified for federal funding.

    Stern had hoped that the presentation would include a forum on the relative merits of Kitsap belonging to the Puget Sound Regional Council, under whose umbrella the EDD now resides. It may seem like a lot of alphabet soup, but at issue is a longstanding argument in some camps that the interests of Kitsap County, with 254,633 residents, is overshadowed by the the three other, much larger counties, whose total population is nearly 3.5 million.

    The PSRC is a quasi-governmental body that oversees planning for growth, transportation and economic development in the Central Puget Sound Region, which is unique in that federal transportation dollars it receives are allocated through recommendations from the PSRC, not through Olympia.

    Alternatives proposed in the past have included leaving the PSRC and joining forces with the Jefferson and Clallam counties to the west or going it as a stand-alone entity. Former County Commissioner Jan Angel was part of the contingent arguing against membership in the PSRC. Former Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola found a lot not to like about the PSRC, including its Vision 2040 transportation plan, and yet he advocated keeping Kitsap’s “place at the table.”

    According to Stern, a strong advocate of staying with the PSRC and a Democrat, the great PSRC debate crops up at each election cycle typically along party lines with some Republicans advocating separation. Stern had envisioned today’s meeting as a chance to ferret out any anti-PSRC sentiment among members of the KRCC board, which includes county commissioners, mayors, council members and tribal leaders. That forum didn’t happen.

    “I was encouraging John to bring it up to put it to bed,” Stern said after the meeting. “But the leadership (on the KRCC board) already feels there’s consensus.”

    In other words, the question of whether Kitsap should remain with the PSRC is not even remotely ripe for debate, as far the KRCC is concerned.

    As for Stern’s theory about elections, Reporter Brynn Grimley was at this morning’s Eggs and Issues debate between North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder, the Democratic incumbent, and Chris Tibbs, his Republican challenger. She said there was nary a peep about Kitsap’s membership in the PSRC.

    Powers said Kitsap, though smaller than the other counties, competes handily with other PSRC affiliates. The Puget Sound Region is recognized as a player worldwide for its defense, advanced manufacturing and IT industries, all of which Kitsap County has, Powers said.

    “Although we’re only seven percent of that population base (the whole Central Puget Sound Region), our output exceeds our population base,” Powers said. “I would submit to you as elected officials to join us (KEDA) in telling our story in the Puget Sound region and beyond, because we can compete on that stage.”

    Powers said it makes sense for Kitsap to affiliate with the region to the west with which it shares so may of the same interests and attributes.

    “We have a lot to contribute and offer to this region,” Powers said. “The logic is simple. Everyone knows there is strength in numbers. There are advantages in collaborating together.”

    Debbie Lester, representing the Bainbridge Island City Council, noted that inadequate ferry service is one of the “choke points” standing in the way of Kitsap’s ability to compete with the other three counties and recognize its full economic potential.

    Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and Port Orchard City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers (no relation to John) both bemoaned the region’s lack of a central financial institution or development authority aimed at drawing or growing businesses. John Powers said that topic was discussed during the economic plan revision but it didn’t make the short list due to lack of resources at this time.

    If any on the KRCC board who were present harbored separatist feelings about the PSRC, they did not share them.

    Washington an All-star in helping military members vote

    A national organization is recognizing Washington and 14 other states for their efforts in helping members of the military vote.

    One of the factors the Military Voter Protection Project looked at was the availability of electronic voting for military members away from home. As explained in today’s story on the upcoming primary, the state created legislation in 2010 requiring county elections officials to make online voting available for military members, people overseas and the disabled.

    There is a process for military and overseas residents.

    Dolores Gilmore, county elections manager, said county elections employees have no way of knowing who is disabled, so the online option is essentially available to every Kitsap County voter. You don’t actually vote online. What you do is download a PDF version of a ballot, with the option of marking it beforehand or not. You can then email, fax or mail the finished ballot. In all three cases you still have to turn in the signed affidavit that comes with your ballot. It’s the part you sign on the envelope.

    More important to military members were the other factors cited by the Military Voter Protection Project.

  • Outreach efforts to military officials.
  • Specialized communications efforts.
  • State legislative efforts to remove barriers.
  • State efforts to make sure ballots are sent out to military members no later than 45 days before an election.
  • The organization’s press release follows.

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    Oops! Actually There Is a More of a Link Between National and State Results than I First Thought

    Boy am I embarrassed. I’m wrong, and I picked the wrong day to come in late to the office. I’ve had one call and a couple of e-mails to remind me that I was off by a long shot in this post. In 1994 especially the state House did make a dramatic shift from Democrat to Republican control, similar to what happened in D.C. One caller assumed that I read state Legislature information incorrectly, reading 1994 instead of 1995, when the actual members of the Legislature would have changed. He’s probably right, but I compiled this information about a week ago, so I don’t remember for sure. I got it wrong. Below is a corrected version of what I wrote.

    That Republicans will pick up seats in Congress and that their counterparts in the state House will benefit has almost been discussed as a done deal. If you look at the last six times a president had his first mid-term election, though, you’ll see that the national trends don’t necessarily mean the makeup in Olympia changes at all. In fact, in the last three instances there was no change in the Washington House of Representatives. In the 1994 election the shift in state numbers was proportionately larger than what happened nationally. In 2002 and 1990, though, there was no link between what happened nationally and what took place here in state.

    If you look at each House individually, though, the data from the last six elections does suggest Democrats are likely to lose seats in each. In each case since 1970 there was one exception to that rule, but you know what they say about exceptions.

    One of the questions I tried to ask legislators last week was what kind of impact will the 2010 legislative session have in November when the most obvious evidence of what legislators did will be a rise in taxes on things you buy at 7-Eleven. State Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, said Democrats could pay a price. “People have to make up their minds whether we did the right thing or not,” she said. Appleton said many more people would have noticed had programs such as adult day health care would have remained cut. “I went down there not to raise to taxes. I went down there to do what was right,” she said. “I think I did that.”

    With the other four legislators I spoke with we didn’t seem to get into that question as directly.

    Jerry Cornfield at the Herald in Everett wrote about Republican hopes that the GOP will have more power after the 2010 elections. In 2006 and 2008 a lot of people figured that Democrats did so well locally because Democrats did so well in the national races.

    But I checked the numbers from the last six times a president was in his first term and in only two four mid-term elections did the state House numbers go in the same direction the Congress’ numbers did. I didn’t include Senate numbers. Those might tell a different story.

    George W. Bush’s first mid-term was an exception. It was the only one of the last six in which the president actually picked up seats in the House. In Washington there was no change in the House in Olympia Democrats picked up two seats.

    In 1994 Bill Clinton saw 52 House seats lost, but in Olympia there was again no change and in Olympia 29 seats switch from Democrat to Republican.

    In 1990 George H.W. Bush lost eight seats, and there was no change in Olympia, but Republicans in this state gained five seats.

    In 1982 Ronald Reagan lost 26 seats in the House and the Republicans Democrats picked up seven nine seats in Olympia.

    In 1978 Jimmy Carter lost 15 seats and in Washington Democrats lost 13.

    In 1970 Richard Nixon lost 12 House positions and Washington Republicans lost nine.

    When I had the wrong information up I was quite surprised by it. I took it as logical that the national mood certainly influenced more Democrats to vote in 2006 and 2008 and more Republican leaners to leave their ballots unchecked. I wondered if the shift depended completely on Democrats. Growing up I was told that Republicans vote in more elections than Democrats. I don’t have the data to back that up, but it got me wondering if election results depend on how excited the Democrats are. The surprise I felt should have spurred me to take a second and third look at the numbers.

    Early, in Some Cases Way Early, Campaign Maneuvers

    In general, we don’t make a lot of fuss over most endorsements or advertising. On endorsements we’ll usually provide a list of them, but we don’t write a story every time a candidate is endorsed by Washington Ichthyologists or the ASB President at Klahowya. For negative ads there might be a story or two, say when a candidate’s photo is doctored to make him or her like the victim of bad plastic surgery or it’s alleged that the candidate wants to sterilize sections of Poulsbo.

    On Thursday we received notices that cause us to make two exceptions. Attorney General Rob McKenna has endorsed one of Jay Inslee’s challengers. The other is a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad highlighting alleged negatives of someone who has not publicly stated an intention to run. Both developments make sense, but it doesn’t mean there’s little surprise.

    The DSCC’s Web site, Dirty Deals Dino for Senate charges that Dino Rossi has profited mightily from his campaigns even though he lost.

    “In 2004, after I lost my first race for governor, I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself – until I realized that this was not a political setback, but a business opportunity! I had lots of great ideas – and a rocking stump speech. Why not use those things to make a tidy little profit? The “nonprofit” Forward Washington Foundation was born. Forward Washington – which is what I called my campaign, too – was supposed to improve the state’s business climate. And it did! Without Forward Washington, my former political aides might have been out of work, and I would have had $75,000 per year less to live on! Of course, those whiny Democrats complained that I was evading campaign-finance disclosure laws. They were just jealous that the state’s Public Disclosure Commission found that the foundation had raised a whopping $360,000 from unidentified donors. When I left my foundation to run for governor again, I worried about my income loss, but it helped that the foundation spent nearly $10,000 on copies of my book to give to donors. Thanks, guys!”

    The site doesn’t just focus on Rossi’s defeats. The committee argues that Rossi was put into politics by shady types and benefited from industries he supported when he was in office.

    That I know of, there are no other negative ad campaigns against any of the announced candidates. The reason is simple. Scroll down the list of the dozen or so candidates who have announced they’re running against Democrat Patty Murray and see if you find someone who has better name recognition than Rossi. See anyone who immediately is a stronger bet against the incumbent?

    McKenna’s endorsement of Republican James Watkins surprises me only because there is another Republican in that race. Why it makes sense is because it’s clear that McKenna is the favorite to carry the Republican banner in the governor’s race, while Inslee has been emerging lately as a strong possibility among the Democrats. Inslee has been blistering McKenna lately over the AG’s decision to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation just passed.

    Horsesass.org posted a video of Inslee calling out McKenna. The video appears in a blog post longing for Inslee vs. McKenna in 2012.

    Watkins’ press release references that potential race in announcing McKenna’s endorsement.

    “We’ve shown that Congressman Inslee is vulnerable, and Congressman Inslee has shown us that he’s not terribly interested in being the 1st District’s representative, but is already itching to start his 2012 campaign for governor. (See here and here)

    “With the support of Attorney General McKenna and people throughout the 1st District who want change in Washington, D.C., I look forward to retiring Mr. Inslee this November so he can devote himself full-time to seeking yet another political office.”

    McKenna, for his part, is quoted only in endorsing Watkins.

    “James has the real-world experience and solid principles to be a great congressman working for the 1st District,” said McKenna. “He will make a big difference in D.C. and help put our nation on a better path.”

    Still, if Inslee were to lose his congressional seat, it would seem to hurt his chances to be the Democratic ticket bearer in 2012. If you’re one to believe there were political machinations in McKenna’s decision to challenge health care reform, it would not be a stretch to see it here, too.

    About Watkins’ point that “We’ve shown that Congressman Inslee is vulnerable,” you may recall we took a look at that claim made by Watkins using a survey he commissioned.

    The owner of the company that performed the survey was mentioned on another site.

    Finding out who paid for the poll also is critical, said pollster Bob Moore of Oregon-based Moore Information. If a candidate has paid for it, then the numbers can’t be taken at face value, he said, and reporters should do everything they can to speak to the pollster about the results, not someone working with the campaign.

    “The pollster may get some numbers that the campaign doesn’t like, and won’t release,” Moore said.

    I contacted both the pollster and the campaign. The pollster told me I’d have to get the information I wanted from the campaign. A staffer from Watkins’ campaign contacted me Thursday by e-mail, stating in part:

    “Since the poll has some information we would prefer not to have the Inslee campaign get wind of, we’re not going to release all the details.”

    So that means either Watkins got some info the campaign is saving to lob onto Inslee later, or the pollster got some information the campaign didn’t like. Either way, without that information I don’t know how we can assume the conclusion “Inslee is vulnerable” is any more credible than an ad suggesting a candidate for the House wants to dump Hanford nuclear waste into the Columbia River.

    On Pot, Bainbridge and Bremerton Agree

    Back in the day, as in a few months ago, there was a nice little give and take between Bremerton and Bainbridge Island on the Bremelog. For the record I suspect sock puppetry, really, and the moderator has now become a Bremerton slumlord and bolted from the finer side of the sound. There isn’t much going on over at the Bremelog anymore.

    Still, there are real differences between Bremerton and Bainbridge Island, namely the kinds of Toyotas we drive and the quality of our ferries. When I covered the island I always approached the supposed snootiness of islanders as overblown. But last Saturday my family and I went with family members who were visiting the area from Vancouver, B.C. to play in soccer matches on the island against island teams. Some guy wearing a BIFC scarf asked us if we were from Canada. My wife pointed to her sister and said she was, but that we were from Bremerton. Our islander acquaintance lost interest in us. It made me feel better about the fact that my nephews totally trounced the island kids. One of my nephews scored three goals, one with his right foot.

    Nonetheless, it appears there is something on which the elect on the island and the great unwashed in Bremerton can agree: marijuana laws.

    The Seattle Times has a story about marijuana legalization efforts in California and includes information about a signature-gathering effort here in Washington to get something on the November ballot. Included was this:

    It’s “a little less predictable” to gather signatures with an all-volunteer staff, Dawdy said, but the group has had success across the state. He said one signature-gatherer working the Bainbridge Island ferry run collected 800 signatures in 21/2 weeks and that a Bremerton head shop collected 400 by putting a copy of the petition on the counter.

    I assume the head shop is Pied Piper’s, but there may be other shops I don’t know about. Since I don’t have much demand for their products, I’m not a customer. The one time I did go in was when the store had to move the first time, out of the space it once had where the Tim Ryan building is now. I naively asked if it was a place to buy things to help to smoke pot. I was informed it was a clothing store, a place where one could buy artistic pieces of glass. It was true. There was clothing and glasswork. The shirt was very comfortable on me when I later smoked from a glass pipe I bought there using pot I bought from my island source. I kid. The source was from Port Orchard. I kid again.

    Now it’s easy to assume that ferry commuters on Bainbridge are not from the same demographic as artistic glass aficionados in Bremerton. But my point to to that scarf-wearing dude at the soccer game is that we’re not so different. We can find common ground.

    I wonder if one of the 800 signatures on Bainbridge came from this guy. I can’t tell you how glad I am when something like this didn’t happen in Bremerton.

    Deep breath. Time for Another Live Election Video

    Forgotten in the hubbub of the Saturday and Monday live broadcasts of town hall meetings was any mention that our ongoing series of editorial board interviews with candidates continues this week. (The meetings were well “attended” here, by the way, with an estimate of around 400 viewers on Saturday and a few hundred more Monday.)

    There won’t be as much shouting and probably no chants will break out, but maybe Gardner will still fact-check us post mortem. In any case, we will be broadcasting on Kitsapsun.com tonight at 5 p.m., beginning with Port Orchard City Council Position 2 candidates Cindy Lucarelli and Carolyn Powers. At 5:45 or so, we’ll have Fred Chang and Amy Igloi-Matsuno, candidates for position 6.

    To find the live videos, head to our main page or here. That’s also where you’ll find our archives from the election season.

    (Note: The schedule says we’re interviewing Bozeman, but that had to be rescheduled for later in September. Watch that page, we’ll update soon.)

    — David Nelson

    Election Interviews Resume

    We’re a week and a day past the primary, which in today’s political speed-warp probably means seven days late on starting our general election coverage.

    Relax junkies, we’ve got live politics starting again tonight.

    Continuing our series of live editorial board interviews, we’ll pick up with the two candidates for Poulsbo Mayor, Kathryn Quade and Becky Erickson, at 5 p.m.

    Then at 5:45, we’ll host Judge James Docter and Ed Wolfe, the two candidates for Bremerton Municipal Court Judge.

    There will be a link on the homepage to get to the video, and they’ll be archived here when we finish. If you have questions you’d like asked, leave them in the comments or email me at dnelson@kitsapsun.com.

    Also, check our Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

    CK School Board Interview: Looking for Questions

    Tomorrow we’ll cap off the editorial board interviews for the primary with the three candidates for Central Kitsap School District Director 5. Starts at 5 p.m.

    This is the race we’re not endorsing a candidate in, and the editorial board won’t be involved in the interview. That’s because one of the candidates, Richard Romero, was a community member of the board until deciding to run. We asked him to resign, and thought a conflict might be perceived if his former board members were questioning him.

    I’ll conduct the interview with the three — the other two running are incumbent Eric Greene and Jim Zimny — which we want to do for our readers and to give the candidates a chance to debate one another. I’m soliciting questions from readers to use so the community can dictate the questioning. Please leave them in the comments below or email me at dnelson@kitsapsun.com.

    We’ll begin around 5 p.m. tomorrow, watch it live here.

    As usual we’ll archive the interview here on the Caucus, and accept questions from readers during the broadcast.

    — David Nelson

    Discussion With Bainbridge Council Central, North Ward Candidates

    We’ve been recording video of our editorial board discussions with primary candidates, but today we ran into some technical difficulties (seriously, we didn’t just forget to plug it in). So, this time in our editorial board’s interviews with Bainbridge Island North and Central ward candidates, we recorded the audio of the discussion for those of you interested in listening in.

    I’m sorry if you were really, really looking forward to the video. But now you can download it to your iPod. Since the discussions run about 50 minutes or more, the files are pretty large. Please be patient while the file loads into the player and feel free to let me know if you have any problems.

    Below is audio for Bainbridge Island Council Dist. 5 candidates Virginia Paul, Debbi Lester and Dee DuMont. Click play.

    Download the file by right-clicking

          1. here

    Below is audio of the interview with Bainbridge Island Council Dist. 7 candidates Debbie Vancil (incumbent), Bob Scales and Melanie Keenan.

    Download the file by right-clicking

          2. here

    — Angela Dice

    Let Campaign Season Commence

    David Nelson here, subbing for the vacationing Mr. Gardner. I’m sure he’d want you all to see the just-announced Eggs & Issues schedule, put on again this campaign season by the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Before I do that, a quick plug for our own editorial board meeting coming tonight. We’re interviewing candidates for the Port of Bremerton Comission seat held now by Cheryl Kincer, and we’ll broadcast the interview live on the website. Go to the homepage — www.kitsapsun.com — around 5:15 to watch and submit your own questions. After the meeting we’ll archive the video here on the Caucus, if you can’t watch tonight. Candidates from a different race will be in front of our board almost every Wednesday through July, and we’ll post a reminder of those here as they are scheduled.

    Now then, the Eggs & Issues lineup:

    July 7 – Bremerton Mayor: Daryl Daugs, Carlos Jara, Patty Lent, Will Maupin and Mike Shepherd

    July 14 – Bremerton City Council District #7: Carol Arends and Gentry Lange

    July 21 – Port of Bremerton Commissioner, District #1: Gene Hart, Lynn Horton and Roger Zabinski

    July 28 – Bremerton School District, Position #1: Cynthia Large, Christianne Martin, Scott Rahm and J. David Rubie

    August 4 – Bremerton School District, Position #4: David Boynton, Cynthia Galloway and Bruce Woolnough

    August 11 – Bremerton School District, Position #5: Ruben Garcia, Carolynn Perkins and Kent Watkins

    As usual, the forums are held at 7:30 a.m. at the Cloverleaf Bar and Grill in East Bremerton (1240 Hollis Street), and a no-host breakfast is available. After last year’s hubub over whether videotaping by the public is allowed, the Chamber requests that anyone looking to record a forum be approved in advance. Contact them at (360) 479-3579.

    President Takes Oath, Becomes Senator

    On the Secretary of State’s election site, which includes an online version of the voter pamphlet leading up to the Aug. 19 Primary, is included a PDF file entitled, How is the United States President Elected?

    You grammar cops never mind for a moment that “is” should be capitalized. There are bigger violations here. Thanks to Jeff Duffy of Port Orchard, this egregious error has been called to my attention.

    The page is a nice handy explanation that, no, dummy, you already had a chance to vote for president and being the stinking, self-righteous, so-called journalist you gave up that right and sat it out. Well, that’s what it would say if it were directed at me, to which I would respond that I do not often stink.

    The bigger problem appears at the right. The eagle is lovely, but appears angry. And well he or she should be. The oath above said eagle is indeed an oath, but it’s not presidential, else John McCain and Barack Obama might already be presidents. The oath shown is the one members of Congress take after picking out desks at Ikea, but before opening accounts at the Senate or House credit unions.

    I didn’t give Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed an opportunity to respond to the goof. Instead I’m going to engage in the activity enjoyed by so many anonymous story commenters — ignorant blame-throwing and random speculation. I say it’s the fault of the secretary’s newest hire, David Ammons. I have all kinds of respect for Ammons, who ruled the Capitol building as an Associated Press reporter starting sometime after the Gutenberg Bible but before Pong. He left this year to work for Reed, making Ammons the most likely suspect.

    Here’s where I pulled my conclusion.