News

How did Islanders vote?

Voters here favored Prop. 1

By J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter

Islanders bucked the local trend by supporting the roads and transit ballot measure but followed some other statewide patterns in the election held last month.

The county canvassing report for the Nov. 6 general election was released last Friday afternoon. Based on the votes tallied by each of Mercer Island’s 46 polling precincts, Mercer Island voters narrowly supported the regional Roads and Transit package, or Prop. 1. The ballot measure was split into two separate votes, but Islanders remained consistent by supporting both the roads and light rail parts of the bill. The vote was split by about 51 percent in favor and 48 percent opposing it among Mercer Island voters.

The Regional Transportation Improvement District, or the roads portion of the measure, received 4,479 Island votes in favor while 4,189 went against it. The results were the same for Sound Transit’s light rail portion of the measure: 4,479 to 4,189.

The measure failed, however, lacking support throughout the three counties included in the vote. In King County, 170,982 voters supported the roads portion of the bill while 211,070 rejected it. The light rail part of the measure failed by about the same amount. To pass, both measures had to be approved.

According to the secretary of state’s office, the parts of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties that were included in the vote turned down the measure with about 56 percent of the vote rejecting it and 44 percent in support of the package. The total results for the roads portion were 282,999 to 362,528 while the light rail part received 266,700 votes in favor and 336,107 against it.

Voter turnout among Islanders was significantly higher than the rest of the county and state. On Mercer Island, 9,189 of the 15,604 register voters participated this year, about 59 percent. In Washington state, there were 1,644,220 ballots of the 3,288,752 registered voters cast, about 50 percent. In King County, only 464,573 of the 994,798 registered voters participated, about 47 percent.

As with the rest of the county and state, Mercer Islanders also supported Referendum 67, a bill concerning the fair conduct of insurance companies and their response to legitimate claims for coverage or benefits.

Insurance companies established the referendum in response to legislation passed earlier this year. If rejected, the referendum would have negated the passed legislation. Island voters, however, along with the rest of the state, supported their state legislators by supporting it 5,330 to 3,613. Interestingly, 1,100 Island voters did not go either way, leaving the slot blank. Statewide, the secretary of state’s Web site shows the measure was approved by about 57 to 43 percent, or 910,598 votes in support to 695,326 against.

Another statewide measure passed this year was Initiative 960. The initiative, submitted by Tim Eyeman, concerns increases in taxes and fees imposed by state government, and it requires the legislature to get voter approval to raise taxes and fees. The measure was not supported by Islanders, who cast 4,491 votes against it and 3,753 in favor. Statewide, 51 percent of voters, or 816,792, supported the initiative and 777,125, or 49 percent, opposed it.

Islanders also continued showing their strong support for public schools. Island voters supported Joint Resolution 4204 by two-to-one, or 66 to 33 percent. A total of 5,893 Island votes went in favor of the measure, which lowers the threshold of school levy approval from a 60 percent supermajority to a simple majority of 50 percent plus one, while only 2,963 opposed. The constitutional amendment was narrowly approved statewide, 50 to 49 percent. A total of 811,507 votes were counted in support of the measure while 792,010 votes rejected it.

Another important local race kept a Republican as the King County prosecuting attorney. Interim prosecutor Dan Satterberg beat his opponent, Democrat Bill Sherman, by 54 to 45 percent. Mercer Island voters selected Satterberg with 5,304 votes compared to the 2,952 that went to Sherman. Countywide, Satterberg won 231,761 to 194,527. The winner will complete a three-year term. Long-standing former Prosecutor Norm Maleng died suddenly last May and Satterberg, his lead deputy at the time, took over. Maleng was re-elected to seven consecutive terms as county prosecutor from 1979-2007.

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