Sam Reed, Washington’s secretary of state, is predicting a 51
percent voter turnout for the off-year election. And he calls that
It’s in line with off-year turnouts for the last 40 years, but it’s a far cry from last year’s record-high turnout of 85 percent. Exciting races for president and governor coaxed even reluctant voters to cast a ballot in 2008.
This year, the only statewide ballot issues concern unmarried domestic partner rights and property taxes. The League of Women Voters recommends voting yes on R-71 and no on I-1033. The latest polls show voters leaning toward the same positions.
The Washington Poll, from the University of Washington, showed R-71 winning by 56 percent to 39 percent among registered voters. If passed, the referendum would affirm the domestic partner law passed by the Legislature. It provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships.
The poll also showed registered voters rejecting I-1033 by 46 percent to 41 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Among likely voters and those who had already voted the no margin was higher, with 49 percent saying they would vote or had voted no and 40 percent indicating they would vote yes.
I-1033 is a Tim Eyman-sponsored initiative that would limit revenue increases for state, city and county governments to the rate of inflation and population growth. Any money collected above the limit would be used to reduce property taxes.
While the potential effects of this measure were not entirely clear, the governor’s budget office projected it would divert more than $8 billion from state, city and county general funds into property-tax relief from 2011 to 2015.
The latest Public Disclosure Commission figures show the No on 1033 Committee has raised nearly $3.5 million to fight the measure and has spent $3.2 million. Many unions, including the National Education Association, the Teamsters and the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) have contributed large sums, as has Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. Eyman’s group, in contrast, raised only $670,000 in support of the initiative.
Most of us have probably voted by now, but if, by chance, you still have that ballot sitting on your kitchen table, be sure to fill it out and mail it in ASAP. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 in order to count for this election.