Tag Archives: Election 2012

Simpson waiting for final count, weighing her future plans

Linda Simpson, Republican candidate for Kitsap County Commissioner, District 2, was not available for comment last night after election results came in. The initial tally showed her trailing Democrat Charlotte Garrido by 3,753 votes. The percentage margin was 52 to 47.

Simpson called today to say she was disappointed and somewhat stunned by the results.

“I was kind of hoping it would be the other way around,” she said. “It’s not insurmountable, so there’s a little bit of hope.”

But an update posted by the Kitsap County Auditor at 5 p.m showed the margin between the two had barely budged. Garrido is now leading Simpson by 3,969 votes, with 77,245 votes counted in this race. Kitsap has 39,000 ballots in hand yet to be counted, according to the Washington State Auditor, and all are eligible to vote in the commissioner’s race.

Simpson decided to pursue the commissioner’s seat after seeing considerable success in the 2010 race for 35th District representative, position 2. In that race, she ended up losing to Democrat Fred Finn by a mere 52 votes in Kitsap County. The totals in the four counties that made up the 35th at the time (Kitsap, Grays Harbor, Mason and Thurston) gave 29,543 votes to Finn and 25,724 votes to Simpson, a difference of 3,819 votes.

Simpson today said she went into the homestretch of her campaign for county commissioner feeling optimistic. Not only was she getting support from her own party, but non-Republicans had voiced their intent to cast their ballots for her.

Simpson believes the message that resonated with voters of all political persuasions was her commitment to represent individual rights and give a transparent accounting of how taxpayers’ dollars are spent. On election night, Simpson was almost sure she would win.

“I really felt good about (the campaign),” she said. “I really felt quite surprised and dismayed that the results were the opposite.”

Simpson will wait for the final count to come in before throwing in the towel. But she’s looking ahead to the possibility of a loss. Glass-more-than-half-full type that she is, Simpson, a Navy reservist on leave, said she would take advantage of the down time if she loses the race.

Since running against Finn, Simpson has lost her leg in a motorcycle accident, won four medals in the Warrior Games for injured military members and jumped into the commissioner’s race last summer, less than a year after her injury. Simpson is training for the upcoming Warrior Games in Hawaii. She hopes some day to start a foundation to give financial assistance to military amputees who, unlike herself, lack funds to cope with their disabilities. And to be honest, she could use a little “me” time to relax and regroup, she said.

Simpson does not rule out a future run for public office. “I wouldn’t say never, but I wouldn’t say it’s a high priority on my list right now,” she said.

Mail-in voter registration deadline is Oct. 6

Voters who plan to participate in the Nov. 6 General Election have until Oct. 6 to postmark their registrations. Online registration, except for those who have never registered in Washington State, will remain open through Oct. 8.
Ballots in Washington’s all-mail election will go out Oct. 19.
Normally, Oct. 8 would be the last day before the General Election for mail-in registrations, but this year, Oct. 8 falls on Columbus Day, a federal holiday.
Those who have never registered to vote in Washington must register in person at their county elections office. Oct. 29 is the in-person deadline for new registrations.
Download a printable voter registration form at elections@sos.wa.gov; click on “voters,” “update my registration” and look for “by mail.”
For more information, see the MyVote page of the Washington Secretary of State’s website, http://www.sos.wa.gov.
Locally, contact or visit the Kitsap County Elections Division, 619 Division Street in Port Orchard, (360) 337-7128; http://www.kitsapgov.com/aud/elections.htm
ov; click on “voters,” “update my registration” and look for “by mail.”
Those who have never registered to vote in Washington must register in person at their county elections office. Oct. 29 is the in-person deadline for new registrations.
For more information, contact or visit the Kitsap County Elections Division, 619 Division Street in Port Orchard, (360) 337-7128; http://www.kitsapgov.com/aud/elections.htm

Kitsap joins in celebrity-fueled voter education campaign

Note: Political reporter Steve Gardner is on vacation, so you’re stuck with me. — Chris Henry, local government and South Kitsap reporter

What do travel writer Rick Steves of Edmonds, award-winning Seattle chef Tom Douglas, Miss Vietnam Washington Veralinda Wu and members of the Seattle Storm women’s basketball team have to do with voters in Kitsap County?

County elections officials, along with their peers in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, hope these regional celebrities and quasi-celebrities will pack enough popular culture punch to get across the message, “Quit messing up your ballots.”

The four-county ad campaign puts it much more politely, but the fact is mistakes made by voters cost taxpayers big bucks.

Ballots on which the marks are unclear must be manually examined by teams of two elections workers, a labor-intensive and costly process, said Kitsap County Auditor Walt Washington. Write-ins for Mickey Mouse? A threadbare joke and a monumental waste of precious resources. And ballots that aren’t postmarked by Aug. 7 (Nov. 6 for the general election) can’t be counted at all, which is a crying shame if you subscribe to the value of the democratic process.

Kitsap County makes repeated efforts to contact voters whose ballots lack signatures, a common mistake, Washington said. If elections workers can circle back with voters and verify signatures by the time the election is certified, they can still be counted.

The date for certification of the primary election is Aug. 21.

Kitsap County, with a current tally of about 146,000 registered voters, is “piggybacking” off the purchasing power of King County, with more than one million voters, Washington said. The four counties together can achieve an “economy of scale” in producing the TV, radio and print ads, according to King County elections spokeswoman Kim vanEkstrom.

Each celebrity adds his or her own message to the voter education effort. “Following directions gets me where I need to go. Same thing when I vote,” the peripatetic Steves says in one of the ads.

Conversely Douglas says, “As a chef, I seldom follow directions. As a voter, I always do.”

Ms. Wu, in a poster that comes in English and Vietnamese, says, “As a pageant winner, I get to serve my community. As voters we all can.”

And the Seattle Storm, well, it has something to do with the fact that they “move around a lot,” and voters who move need to keep their information current.

Steves, who lives in an area affected by the 2012 changes to Congressional district boundaries, calls attention to a potential point of confusion in this year’s primary. Because of redefined district boundaries based on recent Census data, some voters will get to vote in two congressional races, including one to fill the unexpired term of Democrat Jay Inslee, the former District 1 congressman who stepped down in March to focus on his campaign for governor.

The redistricting put all of Kitsap County in District 6. Kitsap voters who were previously in District 1 will vote to fill the short-term vacancy for District 1 Representative, and they will vote for a U.S. Representative in Congressional District 6. Longtime District 6 Congressman Norm Dicks, a Democrat, is retiring at the end of the year.

Voter outreach in King County has included ads aimed at increasing voters’ accuracy in following directions for the past three years. And it’s working.

In February 2009, before the campaign 4 percent of King County ballots were undeliverable due to voter information that was not up to date. That may not sound like much, but with more than one million voters all that wasted postage adds up. In 2011, the percentage of undeliverable ballots was 1.4 percent.

This is the first year celebrities — all of whom are volunteering their time — have been part of the ad campaign, vanEkstrom said.

Kitsap County participated with King County in the ad campaign for the first time last year. Auditor Washington noted a drop in the ballot error rate from 17 percent in 2010 to 12 percent in 2011.

King County began collecting scientific data on how well voters understand elections rules they must follow in order for their vote to count. Previous unscientific surveys showed the ad campaigns increased their attention to detail. By the time the general election is over, vanEkstrom expects to have more solid data to back up the effectiveness of the campaign.

King County is spending $150,000 on the voter education ad campaign, and they have some federal grant money to devote toward the cost. Kitsap’s share of the four-county campaign is $10,000. The Washington Secretary of State is kicking in $100,000 for ads, like the Rick Steves segment, meant to diffuse confusion over the District 1 temporary vacancy.

It doesn’t sound like any celebrities from the Kitsap area will be part of the ad campaign, although we have our share of notables … author Debbie Macomber, radio phonom Delilah, sports figures Willie Bloomquist, Marvin Williams and Norm Johnson, Mike Herrera of MxPx fame, The Professor from Gillian’s Island … Surely I’m missing someone.

So what do you think these local celebrities and others might say to promote voter education?

Survey says, polling starts early in Kitsap commissioner race

Folks on Facebook are saying they received robo-calls asking them about the county commissioner race for the seat currently held by Charlotte Garrido.

The survey doesn’t ask about her, not by name.

You get three choices.

Are you voting for Lary Coppola? (press 1)
Are you voting for someone else? (press 2)
Are you undecided? (press 3)

Coppola said he’s not having the survey done, but asked people to pick him.

If any of you have received the call, I’d like to know if there is any information about who is paying for it.

Examining McKenna’s Motives

Two local writers dive into the motives of state Attorney General Rob McKenna in suing the federal government over the health care bill just passed. I think they both do a pretty good job, with the caveat that each is assuming there is something beyond a legitimate belief that the health care reform just passed is unconstitutional. If McKenna believes the reform law is unconstitutional, you could rightly ask what choice he had but to challenge it.

The writers, though, are probably right in making that assumption. We can never assume that meeting constitutional muster is the only issue at play in constitutional issues. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes said:

“We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is . . . “

He was also quoted by fellow justice William O. Douglas as saying 90 percent of the decisions made at the Supreme Court are based on emotions, that justices find ways in the document to back up their beliefs.

McKenna, though, seems at first blush to be the one AG in this fight with the most to lose by sticking his neck out. He’s a Republican who hasn’t been demonized by the left and is seen as a legitimate contender for the governor’s office. And yet the state is more left than right, and I think it’s not a bad bet to assume that most Washingtonians favor health care reform generally.

Let’s do assume again, as most of us have, that McKenna wants to be Washington’s governor. David Brewster at Crosscut.com offers this possibility:

Judging by the over-the-top reaction by local Democrats — talking about defunding his suit, slicing away A-G authority, even a recall — maybe McKenna was engaging in some “performance art.” That form of political craftiness consists of doing something so that your opponents fall right into the trap of extreme behavior, making you look sensible.

Then Peter Callaghan at the (Tacoma) News Tribune reminds us that to win in a November 2012 governor election, he’d first have to make it to that election, qualifying as one of the top-two vote getters in the primary. A move like this at least sets him apart from other Republicans. And if he hadn’t done it:

Had McKenna not joined the litigation he would have been savaged by Republicans and become a target of conservative talk radio. In the short term, it doesn’t hurt him much to instead be savaged by Democrats. They take their own risks by using budget maneuvers to block Mc-Kenna’s participation in the suit.

And then of course, Callaghan reveals the ultimate truth in all of this:

Anyone who claims to know how it will play in 2012 is making it up.