On November 5, 2019, the Washington general election took place, with the polls officially closing at 8 P.M. PST. The unofficial results began to come in at 8:15 P.M. The ballot included two ballot measures, Referendum 88 and Initiative 976, as well as numerous local electoral races across the state. This includes the Seattle city council races, particularly District 3 – the Central district, which includes Capitol Hill – with incumbent councilmember Kshama Sawant versus Egan Orion, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce executive director.
While late ballots will still be counted over the next several days, Sawant appears to be down by eight points, coming in with approximately 46 percent (9,330 votes) of the 20,454 votes compared to Orion’s 54 percent (11,044 votes). District 3’s race is one of the most watched races in the greater Seattle area, particularly with the candidate’s opposing views on rent control. In such an expensive city, with such a staggering housing crisis, Sawant approves of rent control. Orion disagrees with it, stating he believes more housing is the solution.
Initiative 976 is the Limits on Motor Vehicle Taxes and Fees Measure. It is known as the 30-dollar Tabs Initiative among supporters. If approved, it would – as stated – limit annual motor vehicle license fees to 30 dollars (on vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds) except for voter-approved charges. It would also take several other measures to limit vehicle costs including basing vehicle taxes on Kelley Blue Book rather than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. As of November 6, it appears the initiative has passed, with approximately 56 percent (566,593) of 1,016,181 votes to approve it and 44 percent (449,588) votes to reject it.
Referendum 88 has voters approve or reject Initiative 1000, or Affirmative Action, which was passed by the Legislature in April. Approving it would allow affirmative action policies by the state of Washington in areas including public education, public employment, and public contracting. I-1000 does allow certain characteristics such as sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, or age as factors during the consideration process. It does not allow preferential treatment because of these characteristics, nor the use of quotas. As of November 6, the referendum has not passed, with approximately 52 (509,144) percent voting to reject it and 48 percent (474,294) voting to approve of the 983,438 total votes.
Late ballots and other considerations should be made when looking at early election results, and the final counts will likely come in over the next several days. The results are certified by each county on November 26, while the Secretary of State will certify the final results by December 5. For updated information and the results of other races, local news sites such as King 5 have dedicated election pages that can filter by county and relevance, as well as the Secretary of State’s own General Election results page.