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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Demographics

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April 18, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Youth voters shine at The Stranger’s 36th District Forum

The Stranger's Dominic Holden and retiring incumbent Mary Lou Dickerson hosted Monday's forum. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/UW Election Eye)

A crowd of liberal, tipsy youth gathered Monday to evaluate candidates in one of the most politically active districts in the state. 

The young, loud and progressive of Legislative District 36 gathered for beer, laughter and very little standing room at Belltown’s Spitfire Monday evening to scrutinize candidates for the 36th LD’s Candidate Forum, hosted by The Stranger.

The six candidates battled it out “Weakest Link” game show-style for a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since the early 1980s. The district, which includes Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne and parts of Ballard, Belltown, Greenwood and Fremont, holds the highest number of registered voters in the state.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: 36th Legislative District, Brett Phillips, campaign oddities

April 18, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Youth voters shine at The Stranger's 36th District Forum

The Stranger's Dominic Holden and retiring incumbent Mary Lou Dickerson hosted Monday's forum. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/UW Election Eye)

A crowd of liberal, tipsy youth gathered Monday to evaluate candidates in one of the most politically active districts in the state. 

The young, loud and progressive of Legislative District 36 gathered for beer, laughter and very little standing room at Belltown’s Spitfire Monday evening to scrutinize candidates for the 36th LD’s Candidate Forum, hosted by The Stranger.

The six candidates battled it out “Weakest Link” game show-style for a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since the early 1980s. The district, which includes Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne and parts of Ballard, Belltown, Greenwood and Fremont, holds the highest number of registered voters in the state.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: 36th Legislative District, Brett Phillips, campaign oddities

April 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

One year, many changes in the 46th LD – part 1

The 46th legislative district, covering Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore, has a whole new shape, and a whole new slate of candidates following formative events within the last year.

46th LD – old in red, new in blue | View in a larger map

This was the home district of the late Sen. Scott White whose untimely passing last year left a hole not only in Olympia, but also in the heart of the 46th. White would have been the majority whip and vice-chair of the transportation committee this session.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: 46th Legislative District, Demographics, Election 2012

April 15, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Why do you vote?

Editors note:  A previous version of this story contained an additional image at the top.  That image has been removed to avoid a potential dispute over photo permissions.

Why do you vote? It’s a simple question, yet not always easy to answer.

TACOMA — Personally, it took me a while to offer anything remotely eloquent or thoughtful (and even that’s debatable) to the question at the top of this post.

I vote because I know it’s an important action to take as an engaged and active citizen. I vote because I hope that as a member of a participatory democratic process my voice can and will be heard. But ultimately, I vote because many people my age do not. By taking action I hope to make my generation become more engaged in our political system.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: College Civics Week, Demographics, Election 2012

April 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Young candidate hopes to inspire Latino voters in Yakima

Central Washington University student Pablo Gonzalez is currently the only Democrat in the race in the 15th LD.(Photo courtesy Pablo Gonzalez)

Pablo Gonzalez, a senior at Central Washington University, has entered the race for representative in the 15th Legislative District. He’s a moderate Democrat from a Latino background, and is running in the state’s only district with a Hispanic majority.

Pablo Gonzalez is no stranger to beginning the day in a race against the clock.

Like any college student, most days he leaves the house before he even has time to eat breakfast.

But unlike most college students who leave home without a second to spare, Gonzalez is not trying to catch a bus or make it to class on time. He is trying to win an election.

Hailing from a small town in the Yakima Valley and now finishing up his final quarters at Central Washington University, Gonzalez is gearing up to run for representative in the 15th Legislative District, position 2. He is the only Democrat in the race at this time, and the current representative, David Taylor (R), has not yet officially declared.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: 15th Legislative District, Central Washington University, David Taylor

April 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Redistricting makes massive 9th LD even more rural, conservative

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business.

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Joe Schmick)

It’s a long haul from Southeastern Washington to Olympia, but the same issues of education and changing demographics hit home out on the farm.

This time of year Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD, can’t help but miss the routine of daily life back home. A second-generation farmer, Schmick lives in Colfax in the southeastern corner of Washington state, where he grows garbanzo beans and a handful of other crops. While his neighbors and constituents ready their fields, Schmick uproots to Olympia, where he lives in a trailer in a campground just outside the Capitol.

“We’re either going 100 miles an hour, or doing zero,” he said of the pace of legislative life.

But in that regard, Schmick’s family history of farming has helped him in Olympia. It’s his familiarity with the working man that he says distinguishes him from other figures in the political arena.

“There are too few people [in Olympia] that sign the front side of a paycheck or have to balance not just a household budget but a business budget,” says his colleague Sen. Mark Schoesler (R), also of the 9th district.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: 9th legislative district, Demographics, education

April 3, 2012 at 7:28 AM

With Jay Inslee moving on, newly redrawn First Congressional District boasts fierce competition

The newly redistricted 1st CD stretches from the Canadian border to Medina.

The newly redistricted 1st Congressional District stretches from the Canadian border to Medina. (Courtesy of redistricting.wa)

Update, April 12: Roger Goodman has withdrawn from 1st CD race, making the Democratic competition slightly less crowded. He will instead run for re-election to his old seat in the 46th LD.

Only three months in and 2012 is shaping up to be a year of political intensity, and not just for the presidential candidates. Washington state’s recently finalized redistricting of congressional districts has set the stage for a fierce competition, but it’s not where one might expect.

Thanks to the 2010 US Census results, the Evergreen State gained a coveted prize — another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. This representative will herald from the state’s newly established 10th Congressional District, smack in the middle of Pierce County and centered around Olympia. One would think this new political arena would be the talk of the town and swarming with legislative hopefuls. But as of now the 10th is home to only three announced candidates, Democrat Denny Heck and Republicans Stan Flemming and Dick Muri.

Meanwhile, it is the no-longer-recognizable 1st Congressional District that’s heating up with competition. The Redistricting Committee has redrawn the 1st’s geographical and political lines. What used to be a compact “water district” of mostly King and Kitsap counties is now a sprawling beast, stretching from Medina to the Canadian border and incorporating everything from the UW-Bothell campus to rural farmland in Lynden. Of the District’s 672,000-plus population, over half are transplants from different jurisdictions.

The adjusted territory has dramatically altered the district’s political leanings. The former 1st was solidly Democratic, but the new boundaries include Republican strongholds, like conservative Whatcom County. That, coupled with former Democratic 1st CD Rep. Jay Inslee’s resignation from Congress to run for Governor makes this CD a new ballgame.

And people are lining up to run: six Democrats, an Independent and a Republican. With eight people vying for one spot, it’s essential to know the players.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: conservatives, Darcy Burner, Darshan Rauniyar

March 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM

King County Elections survey finds high satisfaction; youth want technology

King County Elections ballot

King County switched to an entirely vote-by-mail system after the 2008 general election. It is now exploring more technologically advanced options, such as voting online. (Photo by Alicia Halberg/UW Election Eye)

King County Elections released survey results earlier this week looking into voters’ awareness, perceptions, and satisfaction with the department, as well as the viability of using new technologies in future elections.

Results varied substantially by age group.

King County is home to 1.1 million registered voters, and King County Elections‘ mission statement focuses on “conducting accurate, secure and accessible elections” for those voters.

The phone survey was conducted in September and October of 2011 with 604 interviews across North, South, and East King County. Respondents were evenly split on gender (51% female), heavily identified as Caucasian (83%), and an average age of 47 years old. Additionally, half said they had an annual income of $75,000 or more, and 30% had completed a four-year college degree and 29% had completed post-graduate education.

The survey found that 86% of respondents are satisfied with the overall quality of services provided by King County Elections, and the main reason for dissatisfaction was “nostalgia for voting in person” — something I’d bet could be mitigated by sending out those “I voted” stickers with ballots. This concern notably beat out worries about mail fraud, which garnered half as many responses.

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Comments | Topics: Demographics, King County, king county elections

March 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Idaho political landscape: quick facts and a brief electoral history

Spokane County Republican Caucus Results Map

Paul’s percentage in Spokane county was almost cut in half from 46.6% in 2008 to 26.5% on Saturday, which gives Romney reason to smile. (Photo from Google Elections)

SANDPOINT — For the first time in their history, Idaho’s Republicans will hold a presidential caucus on Super Tuesday instead of a primary in May. With Mitt Romney enjoying momentum from his fifth win in a row Saturday in Washington — along with a string of new endorsements — he stands a strong chance of capturing most if not all of Idaho’s 32 delegates.

But with no Idaho polling data to work with this election cycle, what can the 2008 primary tell us about Idaho’s GOP voter landscape?

In Idaho’s 2008 Republican primary, John McCain took home the prize with 70% of the vote to Ron Paul’s 24%. That primary was held on May 28, long after McCain had already secured the party’s nomination. Romney had already dropped out and did not appear on Idaho’s ballots.

Idaho was Paul’s single best state that year. This past Saturday, Paul swept Washington’s counties bordering Idaho, save for Spokane County. It’s worth noting that Paul’s percentage in Spokane county was almost cut in half from 46.6 to 26.5% from four years to this year, which gives Romney reason to smile. That said, a look at Google’s search trends over the past week in Idaho shows a leveling-off of Romney searches, but a steady increase in those for Paul.

What is the breakdown of statewide Republican politics in Idaho?

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Comments | Topics: Caucuses, conservatives, Demographics

March 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Idaho's Turn: Closed caucus on Super Tuesday

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6.

Idaho's first ever Republican Presidential Nomination caucus will be held on Super Tuesday, March 6. (Photo courtesy of idaho-republican-caucus.com)

SANDPOINT — Super Tuesday is upon us. With seven primaries, three caucuses, and 419 delegates at stake, the news media are rich with speculation. For the first time ever, the state of Idaho’s Republican Party gets to be part of the buzz.

Until this year, Idaho’s GOP determined its presidential and local nominee preferences with a primary in late May. At the presidential level, the 32 delegates chosen then attended the GOP National Convention with little allegiance to the candidates. Three quarters of the delegates were “soft pledged” (meaning they could change their minds) and the remaining 8 were simply “unpledged” — in other words, free agents.

The late season primary and the changeable delegates meant that Republican candidates rarely visited and few paid attention to the Gem State. Finally, the GOP got tired of being ignored and resolved to make its sizable number of delegates — more than Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada — count in 2012.

So last October, they instituted a caucus system and moved the date way, way up to Super Tuesday — not an uncommon move for states who want more of an early say in the nomination process. So, on Tuesday, 44 counties will open their doors to first-time caucus goers at 7 p.m. In accordance with Idaho’s new voter identification law, only registered Republicans with valid ID can participate.

After that, it gets complicated.

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Comments | Topics: Boise, Butch Otter, caucus

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