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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: King County

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May 15, 2012 at 6:30 AM

South Seattle’s immigrant community fighting uphill battle for transportation

The bus stop at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and Renton Place South on a lonely weekday morning. (Photo by Kat Chow/UW Election Eye)

Changes to bus route 42, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, are a good example of how, despite Metro’s best efforts, service cuts are leaving South Seattle immigrants feeling neglected.

SEATTLE — Getting from point A to point B isn’t easy for 68-year-old Tuyet Mhi Mai. Especially when those points are her daughter’s crowded Lake City home and service classes or work in South Seattle.

Since King County Metro reduced the frequency of bus route 42 because it runs parallel to the Light Rail, Mai’s commute is a little more complicated and time-consuming.

For South Seattle’s public-transit-dependant immigrant communities, saving bus 42 isn’t just about one bus route. It’s about getting King County Metro and the county council to understand its transportation needs.

Representatives from King County Metro say they’re listening — or at least trying to. But the balance between providing efficient, cost-effective bus routes and meeting the needs of groups facing language and cultural barriers isn’t easy.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: bus, immigrant, King County

April 14, 2012 at 8:58 AM

UW Election Eye hits the road

UW Election Eye is travel bound, with trips today and next week from the West to the East Coast. Today and tomorrow multiple groups of UW Election Eye reporters will be striking out across Washington State to cover important issues and concerns from a citizen’s perspective. Today we will be heading north to Bellingham and the Canadian…

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Comments | More in National, State | Topics: Caucuses, Democratic caucuses, Election 2012

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 12:45 PM

Fishy Robocalls — 'tis the season

King County voters received phony robocalls, claiming the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled.

King County voters received phony robocalls that claimed the Republican caucuses on March 3 were cancelled. (Photo by tj scenes/Flickr.com)

Nowadays, robocalling is standard practice for political campaigns. In a presidential election year, almost everyone can expect an automated phone call here and there. This nomination season, voters in contested states, like South Carolina or Ohio, racked up dozens of robotic voice mails. Sometimes it’s Robo-Robert on the other end of the cord, sometimes it’s Barbara Bush. Usually, it’s just annoying.

Nevertheless, setting up an automated phone bank is usually easier than finding flesh-and-blood volunteers. With companies like Republican Robo Calls — who assure the customer they’ve never worked with a Democrat — charging only two to seven cents per call, million dollar campaigns can hardly afford not use them.

Yet for a system supposedly designed to avoid human error, there’s certainly a lot of it. Whether it’s scandalous content, like accusing John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child in 2000, or just ringing the wrong households, like Rick Santorum phoning Democrats in Michigan, robocalling can be disastrous for both its users and subjects.

The robocalls that peppered Washington state in anticipation of the Republican caucus had their share of trickery as well.

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Comments | Topics: Barbara Bush, campaign oddities, Caucuses

February 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Dow Constantine on recession, the Republican "D team," and his political future

King County Executive Dow Constantine addresses YDUW

Dow Constantine addresses students at a Young Democrats of UW meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 22. (Photo by Ilona Idlis/UW Election Eye)

Dow Constantine minced no words. That’s how Constantine, King County Executive, usually rolls.

“The state legislature is politically incapable right now of raising the revenues needed to responsibly invest in infrastructure… I’m not going to put up with that in King County,” Constantine told UW Young Democrats at their campus meeting on Wednesday.

Constantine, a three-time alum of UW, resolved to “insulate” the region from recession by helping its manufacturing be globally competitive. In his view, the key is support for the King County Aerospace Alliance, a collection of cities, businesses, labor and educational organizations that total nearly 45,000 employees and 400 companies.

“Rather than be dragged along” by the recession, King County needs to be independent and compete with other world centers of innovation, he said. King County should be competing with Barcelona, not with Mississippi.

Constantine said we can do so by bettering transportation and by connecting local youth with the skills and opportunity necessary to succeed in the industry. He said his goal is to achieve a “prosperity that’s accessible to everyone.”

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Comments | Topics: aerospace alliance, Democrats, Dow Constantine