Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Local Politics: Final Count

I have a lot of quibbles with vote-by-mail, which may soon be the only option in King County as early as next year. Part of it is the communal aspect of going somewhere to vote, part of is the concept that voting should be something of an decided act, and part of it that someday in the near future we'll find a former mail carrier in Spokane who has 10,000 ballots socked away in his closet.

But the quibble I will deal with here is that not all the votes can be counted in a timely manner. Since it all is based on postmark date, votes tend to dribble in (and be counted) after election day. Sometimes up to a week later.

Often this does not make a difference - the margins stay about the same, or they may close, but the winner usually remains the winner. There ARE a couple cases every year where the numbers flip, and that always leads to suspicion about the entire process (But ... but ... you SAID that Candidate X won! Were you lying then, or are you lying now?).

And this is particularly troublesome for King County, which is the state's largest county, and its late votes are larger than the vote tabulations from entire other counties entire populations (but don't tell tell them that - it only makes them peevish). It is always a little frustrating when reality doesn't match up with your personal reality.

Case in point, EHJR 4204, which was supposed to remove the supermajority requirement from school tax votes. If you remember, it was the only result that really disappointed me, as it was going down narrowly. Then the late returns came in, and it flipped from weak loss to reasonable win. So that's a good thing.

(Of course, the Radio Bombasts who looked at the initial results and declared that the people of Washington State were in a tax revolt heard the news and immediately declared that another election was stolen by their evil, evil tax-supporting librul foes. I don't think they even broke for station identification between the two thoughts.)

On the other hand, over in Port, lonely reformer Alec Fisken looked like he was going to stay in office despite a hardfought campaign by Bill Bryant (he of the Orca-insignia'd lawn signs). The last-moment mailer portraying Bryant as a just-folks Seattlite did the trick and he edged out Fisken. The Port celebrated by initiating an immediate tax increase, where outgoing Fisken was the lone commish to vote against it. Good going, voters (I don't think the Radio Bombasts picked up on this one at all).

Also amusing is watching the fallout from the rails and roads initiative, Prop 1. All sides have determined that the voters liked THEIR part of the package, but just hated everything else. So the 520 bridge repairs, a late addition that sucked up a third of the roads budget, MUST (according to the Seattle Times, who need it to make the commute) be repaired, while the Light Rail system will OBVIOUSLY have to be on the ballot by itself next year.

Good luck guys. If it doesn't involve a stargate a block away from my house, I'm going to be leery of the whole thing.

Oh, and one more thing - you can usually tell the losers in the election because their lawn signs are still cluttering up the highways. Yeah, its depressing, but it has been two weeks, now - clean 'em up! We need that space for Ron Paul signs!

More later,