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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

December 7, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Friday politics: Cheech and Chonged out, second-highest turnout, Colbert for Senate

Good morning. Happy Friday!

Cheech and Chonged out: I don’t know about you, but the network anchors sounded a little silly as they joked and deployed bad puns about the big party out in Washington state because of our new marijuana law (which took effect Thursday). Anchors like CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield chortled about how many Washingtonians were calling in sick on the first day of pot legalization. Several national reports so far have included — perhaps, overused — scenes from the marijuana-friendly movie “Cheech and Chong” as B-roll footage.

Washington voters have something to brag about, if they are OK with second place. The numbers aren’t final, but it looks like Washington state had the second-highest voter turnout in the country in the 2012 general election, if you count percentage of registered voters participating.

Washington, Oregon and Minnesota traditionally fare best in this category. Washington’s official, final turnout number was 81.25 percent of registered voters.

“We attribute it to the drawing power of the ballot measures, great races around this state, the presidency motivated some voters,” explained David Ammons, spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed. And don’t forget, Washington gubernatorial races run concurrently with presidential contests, and that also helps turnout.

Patrick McDonald, assistant to Reed, said Oregon edged Washington out with 82.8 percent of registered voters taking part in the election, while Minnesota had 76.6 of percent participation among the same category of voters.

Other outfits measure percentage of eligible voters, but that list, from George Mason University, is not yet complete. Washington is not expected to fare as well on that listing.

Colbert for Senate: Huffington Post has some fun with the idea of comedian Steve Colbert taking over South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate seat. DeMint is leaving the Senate. Gov. Nikki Haley appoints. The idea is far-fetched but entertaining.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, homepage, Marijuana, Politics Northwest, Secretary of State | Topics: cheech and chong, pot legalization, registered voters


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