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How Islanders voted

Islanders overwhelmingly voted in support of President-elect Barack Obama, the expansion of light rail to the Eastside, the governor's re-election and legalizing physician-assisted deaths — all of which won or were passed in the Nov. 4 general election.

The King County Elections Canvassing Board released its official breakdown of Island jurisdictions on Dec. 5. The Reporter added up all the votes from each of the Island's 45 polling precincts for every candidate and ballot measure. The results show that the majority of Island voters supported the Obama/Biden ticket in the presidential election. An overwhelming 9,700 Islanders voted for Obama, who received the most votes at 67 percent. Republican presidential candidate John McCain received 33 percent of the Island's vote, or a total of 4,735.

There are 16,787 registered voters on Mercer Island, and 14,735 voted last month, a turnout of about 88 percent. The top three races with the most Island votes were president, governor and Congress. Most Islanders voted in the presidential race, with a total of 14,453, and 14,337 residents voted in the governor's race. Slightly less voted for their congressional representative, a total of 14,163. From there the numbers drop, as only 13,299 voted for or against light rail.

More than 7,700 Island voters, 58 percent, supported the regional expansion of light rail to the Eastside. With the successful vote, Sound Transit will now have the funds to add light rail across I-90 with a station on Mercer Island near the North Mercer Park and Ride (see story). Last year, Islanders narrowly approved a similar roads and transit ballot measure. Support for this year's mass transit ballot measure was much higher than in 2007, when Islanders also voted in support of a regional roads and transit package that ultimately failed. Last year, the Island vote was split with about 51 percent in favor and 48 percent opposing it. Mercer Island was the only city in King County that supported the measure last year, Sound Transit officials said.

Islanders also voted in support of the re-election of Gov. Chris Gregoire, who received 58 percent of the Island's vote, or 8,366 votes. In the much anticipated rematch, Republican candidate Dino Rossi only received 5,971 Island votes — 42 percent.

In another rematch, in her second consecutive and unsuccessful bid for U.S. Congress, Democrat candidate Darcy Burner received more votes from Islanders than the Republican incumbent. Representative Dave Reichert got 1,063 fewer votes from Islanders than Burner, who got 54 percent from the Island.

A large number of Islanders also voted in support of the Death With Dignity Act, or I-1000. More than 9,500, or 68 percent, of Islanders supported the measure; only Obama got more Island votes. With the passage of the initiative, Washington becomes the second state to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for terminally ill patients to facilitate their death.

While the vote among Islanders was in tune with the rest of the state's voting trends, two candidates that it supported were on the losing end. In addition to Burner losing to Reichert despite Islander support, local voters chose three-term state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Terry Bergeson, who lost a close race to her challenger, Randy Dorn.

Islanders also rejected the highway congestion relief initiative, I-985, and chose Republicans Rob McKenna, the attorney general, and Sam Reed, the secretary of state.

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