West Seattle, Washington
When King County went to all-mail voting seven years ago, it was hailed as a way to make voting easier, bound to increase participation. That hasn’t turned out to be the case, especially this year – countywide, 75 percent of registered voters sat out the August primary, 60 percent didn’t vote in November.
Is inconvenience the problem? West Seattle, for example, hasn’t had a permanent ballot dropbox – one where you could take your ballot any time, free – since this one:
That’s our photo of the Delridge Neighborhood Service Center ballot drop in 2009, months before it was removed. Now, either you drop your ballot in the postal mail, with a stamp, or you wait for the county’s dropoff van to come by for three of the last four days before the voting deadline.
That might change as soon as next year. Today, the County Council approved “a motion requesting the development of a plan that will expand access while ensuring geographic equity and convenience for voters,” according to a news release from County Councilmember Rob Dembowski, who made the motion. Also quoted is County Elections Director-elect Julie Wise, saying, “Additional ballot drop box locations are a priority for my office and will be a great start in expanding access for the voters of King County.” The announcement notes that 39 dropboxes were authorized around the county at the time by-mail voting began, but budget cuts led to far fewer boxes (though that wasn’t the reason cited when we inquired in 2010), so county councilmembers are seeking a plan for more, and they want it to include:
1. A proposed number of additional drop-off locations to ensure geographic equity;
2. Proposed sites for the drop-off locations;
3. Estimated costs; and
4. An implementation timeline.
B. The plan should include an analysis of the feasibility and desirability of using all public library locations in King County, including Seattle Public Libraries and the King County Library System, as a means to ensure geographic equity and convenience for voters.
C. The plan should include an option for deployment of the expanded drop boxes for the November 2016 general election.
The plan is due to the council by next April. Documents from today’s council meeting note that the county provided 25 dropboxes this year, and only 13 were fixed; the other 12 were the temporary, just-before-election vans, including the ones deployed to West Seattle and White Center (which also used to have a fixed dropbox, at its main county library branch).
(WSB photo: Lisa Herbold, during our interview with her on Sunday night)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The recount is officially over, and Lisa Herbold has won the election to become the first-ever Seattle City Councilmember representing District 1 (West Seattle and South Park).
Hours before King County Elections made the announcement this afternoon, we sat down to talk with now-Councilmember-elect Herbold, who as a result of the required-recount election has a weeks-shorter transition time than she would have had otherwise.
Since she has worked at City Hall for more than a decade and a half, as an assistant to retiring Councilmember Nick Licata, that’ll be less of a challenge for her than it might have been for someone else.
Licata will administer the oath of office to her during the January 4th ceremonies that will also install three other newly elected councilmembers. That’s just one symbol of what she calls the “circularity” of what has happened; another came Sunday afternoon, before our evening conversation, when she joined the Women’s Political Caucus in honoring “heroines of the campaign” – hers was treasurer Jeanne Legault. And, she explained, she received that same award 18 years ago for her work on Licata’s campaign.
Now, the campaigning is over, and it’s on with preparation to serve West Seattle and South Park in a historic role – the area’s first-ever district councilmember.
Our first question:
9:54 AM: King County Elections confirms this morning that the actual counting has concluded in the by-hand recount of the first-ever Seattle City Council District 1 race. “The tallying portion of the recount is done, but there is still additional reconciliation work to do,” KCE’s Kim van Ekstrom tells WSB. By multiple accounts, the “tallying” left Lisa Herbold on top; you’ll recall that she had a 39-vote lead over Shannon Braddock when the official results were certified a week and a half ago. That was a close-enough margin for a mandatory recount by hand, and the vote counting started, and finished, yesterday. Publicola reports that Braddock already has called Herbold to congratulate her. KC Elections says the final certification is still scheduled for Monday, and promises an update on that later today. (WSB photo from Herbold’s Election Night party)
10:28 AM: From KCE via e-mail: “An official announcement on the outcome of the recount will be made on Monday, Dec. 7 by 2:30 p.m. following the Canvass Board meeting at 1:00 p.m.”
(WSB video: Harris’s post-oath speech)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Four weeks after her landslide win, Leslie Harris has just officially taken office as the new Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors rep for District 6 – West Seattle and South Park.
At district headquarters, with husband Michael Harris and recent Chief Sealth International High School graduate daughter Monica Harris looking on, Harris was administered the oath of office by retired Washington State Supreme Court Justice Faith Ireland [video].
“She’s a mentor,” Harris explained in a phone interview with WSB this morning.
Mentoring is a priority for Harris, as she mentioned in her victory speech at last month’s 34th District Democrats meeting. Asked to elaborate in our conversation today, she explained, “My hope is that we can work with community members, with organized labor, with parents, and with business, to hook up middle- and high-school students with someone who will help them achieve their goals, that’ll be there to support them, answer questions, coach them … and that’s especially important with (students) who don’t have extensive families and aren’t able to access parts of the system that other privileged people take for granted.”
Harris, a Highland Park resident, has been not just an SPS parent for years – before CSIHS, her daughter attended Pathfinder K-8 – but has also been an advocate and watchdog. “I feel like I’ve been in training, almost like an athlete, you know,” she laughed. And the past few weeks since the election have been even more intense.
On this World AIDS Day, more from West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen about the start of planning for one of his city-budget priorities, a Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial:
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen today announced the City Council has dedicated $75,000 to initiate a planning process to create a Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial. Those funds would be directly matched by a community organization, which would take a leadership role in planning and proposing an appropriate memorial.
Nearly 4,000 Seattleites died in the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic, and a history of both the crisis and the community’s response has not been comprehensively collected, recorded or presented. Councilmember Rasmussen sponsored the memorial proposal after listening to advocates involved in the early days of the epidemic who felt that the history and the stories of the lives that were lost be chronicled.
(Click image for zoomable view)
Though the City Council District 1 race isn’t officially settled yet, and won’t be until after the recount, now that the election is certified, precinct-by-precinct results are available, and that’s what you see in the map above. It was made by Ben Anderstone, a political consultant with Progressive Strategies NW, who granted our request for permission to republish it here. The tones are green for Shannon Braddock and red for Lisa Herbold, on a graded scale, so that the lightest of each is closest to the almost exactly 50-50 split that the election became on a raw numbers basis. In all, per the final results sheet from the county (page 45), 45 percent of the registered voters in District 1 – West Seattle and South Park – returned their ballots. That’s 27,757 ballots out of 60,991 registered voters; almost 10 percent of them – 2,714 of them did not include a vote in this particular race.
(Seattle City Council photo, via Twitter)
Tonight, West Seattle resident Lorena González became the first Seattle City Councilmember to take the oath of office after the certification of the November election. As noted in the city announcement below, her election itself represented a long-overdue first:
Councilmember Lorena González received the Oath of Office, following certification of election results by King County Elections. Before her friends and colleagues and a packed-Council Chambers, González reflected on her election, plans for her forthcoming Council term, and shared what it means to be the first Latina/o to serve the Seattle City Council in a speech clocking-in at less than ten minutes.
(Added Wednesday: Seattle Channel video of ceremony and speech)
“Mayor Murray, Council President Burgess, friends and family, sisters and brothers, I stand before you today with sincere appreciation for the opportunity I have to represent our community in our state’s largest city as the first Latina sworn into the Seattle City Council.”
Citing her experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate, González also acknowledged her service as legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and as a partner at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, representing workers in wage theft and anti-discrimination cases and representing victims of police misconduct as formative experiences. She also recognized and thanked her parents for “…(believing) the American dream was achievable.”
Born and raised in Washington’s lower Yakima Valley to a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, González – who earned her first paycheck at the age of 8 – reminded the audience “…I don’t have the background of a typical politician. Mine is a lived experience rooted in the reality of overcoming poverty and injustice. I am living proof that access to opportunity, coupled with hard work, is a recipe for success. I graduated high school in the face of overwhelming odds. I worked in a food plant, a bank, a retail store, a fast food chain, a day care, and a hotel.”
González conjured memories of picking cherries as a child, spending as many as three hours a day before the start of the school day, and “Often in an environment where I was sprayed with pesticides, or working without access to a bathroom or water…. it’s these formative moments and experiences that inspired me to want to be an advocate, a champion, for those people who I see myself in — even to this day — and especially for those who haven’t had a strong voice in government. They live in the shadows, and I did too – until I saw a path and climbed my way out.“
González went on to outline her intentions to draw on her extensive experience standing up for progressive values and the underrepresented to her work serving the people of Seattle as one of two at-large (citywide) representatives.
In her final moments in Chambers, González turned her attention to future Council colleagues. “My word is my deed,” said González. “I have dedicated my life’s work to defending workers’ rights and will continue this fight – in the name of wage theft on behalf of a cook, or defending men and women against retribution in all its forms. I’ll continue my quest to stand up for dignity in the workplace, and in my work here at city hall on behalf of workers…I will not back down from tackling tough issues or seeking solutions that build a stronger community.”
Born and raised in Central Washington in a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, Councilmember González relied on need-based grants and scholarships to attend community college and later Washington State University. She moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School. González has served on various local, regional and national non-profit boards, including OneAmerica, OneAmerica Votes, National Council of La Raza, Northwest Area Foundation, and Washington State Association for Justice.
Councilmember González won the Position 9 race with 78 percent of the vote. If you’re downtown or able to get there, Councilmember González is having an open house in her new office at City Hall tomorrow morning, 9:30 am-11:30 am
4:52 PM: The election is certified but the Seattle City Council District 1 race still isn’t settled. The “final” count has Lisa Herbold over Shannon Braddock by 39 votes, 12,459 to 12,420, and that’s close enough to require a recount by hand. King County Elections says that will start December 3rd and be completed December 7th.
ADDED 5:23 PM: KC Elections has clarified the recount process after announcing two start dates:
The recount process will begin on Monday, Nov. 30 and be completed on Monday, Dec. 7. The first few days of the recount process will involve staff and observer training and ballot sorting in order to obtain the votes specific to this District No. 1 race. Ballots are not stored by district. Actual counting of the ballots is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Dec. 3 and is expected to continue through Friday, Dec. 4 and possibly the morning of Monday, Dec. 7. After the manual hand count and reconciliation is complete the Canvassing Board will meet to certify the recount on Monday, Dec. 7 at 3:00 p.m. Final results will be announced by 4:30 p.m. that day.
The recount-bound race for Seattle City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) is now a 36-vote contest, as of today’s count:
Lisa Herbold – 12,452 – 49.74%
Shannon Braddock – 12,416 – 49.60%
That’s 7 more votes for Herbold, 3 more for Braddock, since Friday. One final count tomorrow by 4:30 pm (they’ve actually been happening just before 4 pm), and then the election is certified. An official recount decision comes after that. Here are the rules; unless there’s some big burst of ballots before tomorrow – which would be against the recent trend – it would seem this race will wind up within the parameters for a mandatory by-hand recount, at public expense.
Two more weekdays until the election is certified, and a recount is expected to follow. As of today’s ballot count, Lisa Herbold is now 32 votes ahead of Shannon Braddock for the new Seattle City Council District 1 seat:
Lisa Herbold – 12,445 – 49.74%
Shannon Braddock – 12,413 – 49.61%
It’s the only not-yet-settled race left in this election. The full results list shows 27,733 ballots counted, of 60,991 sent out. (Almost 300 additional ballots came in but have problems such as unverified signatures.) After the initial count on Election Night (November 3rd), Braddock had a 733-vote lead.
With the election headed for certification next Tuesday – after which a recount will surely follow in the City Council District 1 race – today’s results have Lisa Herbold gaining three more votes over Shannon Braddock:
Lisa Herbold – 12,437 – 49.73%
Shannon Braddock – 12,409 – 49.62%
A few hundred ballots with problems (unverified signatures, for example) are still being dealt with. In all, about 28,000 ballots were turned in by District 1 voters, who number almost 61,000, and that’s a ~45% turnout. You’ll notice by doing the math, more than 2,000 did not vote in this race at all; 164 are tallied as write-ins, though the county doesn’t report whose names were written in.
Eleven more ballots were added to the Seattle City Council District 1 vote totals before today’s results came out a short time ago – five for Shannon Braddock, six for Lisa Herbold, who now is 25 votes ahead:
Lisa Herbold – 12,428 – 49.72%
Shannon Braddock – 12,403 – 49.62%
As noted previously, the election is now down to ballots that have problems such as signature verification; if that happened to your ballot, there’s still time – until the election is certified next Tuesday – for you to fix it and have your vote count. If you haven’t checked on yours, you can do that here – but this is important: The last message it will give is that your ballot “will be counted.” It will never say “has been counted.” If it says “will be counted,” that means you’ve been verified.
Almost two weeks after Election Day, the Seattle City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) winner isn’t decided yet. The county doesn’t certify the election for eight more days and just went public with another count. It’s the second consecutive count with a lead for Lisa Herbold:
Lisa Herbold – 12,402 – 49.74%
Shannon Braddock – 12,367 – 49.60%
The 35-vote lead is up from Herbold’s 27-vote lead on Friday. The full-results list shows 27,629 votes have been counted in this race; that’s the total number of “ready to count” ballots listed in the county’s last “ballot returns” list, but 373 ballots fewer than the total number received from District 1. The race remains within recount range.
MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: The City Council finalized its changes to the mayor’s budget in two sessions this morning and afternoon. Above are the Seattle Channel video clips. Below, our notes on West Seattle-specific items we’ve been tracking during the process.
Just in case you want to follow along, click the “play” button in the video window above: The City Council is making its “Round 2” budget decisions today – whether to change the mayor’s original city budget proposal by adding or subtracting items. We previewed some West Seattle-specific ones here when they introduced – including rezoning part of Highland Park, around 16th/Holden, and adding money for West Seattle Bridge Corridor improvements – and those are on the long list of items they’ll be making decisions on; see that list here. We’re monitoring the meeting too and will be adding notes as it goes, even as we continue covering other news.
11:46 AM: The council hasn’t started voting on the list yet but has instead been embroiled in some contentious amendments including adding money to help with the homelessness emergency.
NOON: They’re now starting the list.
12:13 PM: They’ve just voted to include a package of “statements of legislative intent” that include two of the aforementioned West Seattle-related items – proposed Highland Park 16th/Holden (including the ex-substation) rezoning and a “progress report” on West Seattle Bridge Corridor improvements. Coming up later, two more items – #28 is the authorization of selling local ex-substations, #104 authorizes spending $600,000 for some of the proposed WS Bridge Corridor improvements.
12:39 PM: They’ve just approved another group of items that includes authorization for the sale of ex-substations in West Seattle and vicinity, and now they’re in recess until approximately 2:45 pm, when they’ll pick up the list at #41, with the second West Seattle Bridge Corridor item in that group.
3:17 PM: The council is back at it, and the $600,000 West Seattle Bridge Corridor item has just gone by without challenge – and will be part of a package vote to come. This describes what it’s for:
The proposed budget action would allocate $100,000 for further analysis of physical and operational improvements in the Corridor with the expectation that the Executive will provide any additional resources necessary to complete the work activities described below.
1. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing center barrier sections so response vehicles can make U-turns to speed up response time.
2. Evaluate the feasibility and benefit of installing markings and signs to provide on designated emergency lane in each direction to West Seattle Bridge upper roadways for use during emergencies.
3. Coordinate with WSDOT to determine the feasibility of traffic management modifications to improve eastbound Spokane Street Viaduct connections to south and northbound I-5.
4. Evaluate Lower Spokane Street chokepoint relationships to determine if rail, truck and bridge opening blockages can be better coordinated to avoid cumulative impacts.
5. Evaluate better communications protocols for Port of Seattle cooperation with truck queue management and dispersal.
6. Initiate and SDOT/WSDOT Peer Review Team to review traffic operational and safety improvement opportunities on West Seattle Bridge upper and lower roadways and make recommendations.
In addition to the feasibility studies, this green sheet adds $500,000 to install ITS equipment including Bluetooth readers and dynamic message signs along the Corridor between Airport Way South and Port of Seattle Terminals 5 and 18 in order to collect and display real-time travel time information to trucks drivers and other motorists. Traffic signal system improvements at the intersection of Chelan Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way Southwest could also be included in the project scope.
The council’s final budget vote is scheduled for next Monday, November 23rd.
(WSB photo from Election Night, Lisa Herbold & supporters viewing results. Little did they know they’d still be doing it 10 days later.)
Just in, this week’s last set of election results – and for the first time in the not-yet-settled City Council District 1 race (West Seattle/South Park), Lisa Herbold has taken the lead over Shannon Braddock, by 27 votes.
Lisa Herbold – 12,371 – 49.73%
Shannon Braddock – 12,344 – 49.62%
That’s a turnabout from the 18-vote lead Braddock held after the Thursday count. Today’s full results list shows 27,567 votes have been counted – that’s almost the entire number of “ready to count” votes listed by the county as of last night. At this point, a manual recount seems likely – here are the county’s rules and policies regarding recounts.
The newest vote count is just in from King County Elections, nine days after the election, and the City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) race now has Shannon Braddock, who’s led since Election Night, 18 votes ahead of Lisa Herbold:
Shannon Braddock – 12,025 – 49.72%
Lisa Herbold – 12,007 – 49.64%
Braddock’s lead was six votes as of the previous count on Tuesday. Our math shows 1,078 more District 1 ballots were in today’s count, with fewer than 1,000 countable ballots remaining – the full-results list says 26,819 ballots have been counted, out of approximately 27,600 countable ballots received from District 1 voters (with about 400 more deemed not ready to count). Next results by 4:30 pm tomorrow.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The present? Some actual voting happened – a presidential straw poll (Democratic, obviously). The results showed a majority of those still in attendance by this stage of the meeting were “Feeling the Bern”:
Bernie Sanders, 39 votes
Hillary Clinton, 26 votes
Undecided, 4 votes
Martin O’Malley, 2 votes
And this segued into future voting, as the organization is already starting work on getting ready for next year’s caucuses. Ted Barker, first vice chair (in photo above with chair Marcee Stone-Vekich), is heading the committee that will choose locations, and said they’re hoping to finalize those by next month.
Now, to the past voting – election recaps, and victory speeches. Here’s our video, starting with King County Executive Dow Constantine:
3:58 PM: Today’s ballot count is just out, and Shannon Braddock is now 6 votes ahead of Lisa Herbold in the City Council District 1 race.
Shannon Braddock – 11,528 – 49.73%
Lisa Herbold – 11,522 – 49.70%
Up to 2,000 or so ballots remain to be counted in District 1. On page 45 of today’s printable results list, you’ll see that 25,741 ballots have been tallied in this race, while 27,568 ballots were ready for counting (of 27,979 received) in D-1 as of last night’s ballot-return stats (which will be updated at 8 tonight).
We won’t get the next results until Thursday, since tomorrow is the Veterans Day holiday. If you voted, now is the time to check whether your ballot was received for counting and declared valid – here’s how to do that. (Note that “your ballot will be counted” is the last message you’ll get – there is not a “has been counted” status.)
6:24 PM: One thing that *will* happen on the Veterans Day holiday – the 34th District Democrats‘ regular monthly meeting, 7 pm Wednesday at The Hall at Fauntleroy. It was long scheduled to include the organization’s “election recap,” and the online agenda says the group expects to hear from the winners in various races. We asked chair Marcee Stone-Vekich how they plan to handle this one; she says neither Braddock nor Herbold has confirmed with her so far. The 34th DDs made a dual endorsement of both candidates, dating back to the primary.
The newest round of election results is out – and Shannon Braddock is still ahead of Lisa Herbold in the City Council District 1 race, though now by fewer than 100 votes:
Braddock – 49.99% – 11125 votes
Herbold – 49.57% – 11030 votes
(For comparison, here’s the final count from last week.) Next count, 4:30 pm tomorrow. The county’s full results list says 24,699 ballots have been counted in the District 1 race, and its most recent ballot-return statistics say 27,512 ballots were ready to count from this district, which suggests more than 2,800 ballots are yet to be counted.
(UPDATED 7:03 PM with day’s second results release)
4:12 PM: The first of two expected vote-count updates for today is out and in the Seattle City Council District 1 race, Shannon Braddock‘s lead over Lisa Herbold has shrunk again –
Braddock – 10,078 – 50.74%
Herbold – 9,691 – 48.79%
That’s a 387-vote gap, with thousands more ballots remaining to be counted. Last night, Braddock’s lead was 638 votes.
4:41 PM: To be more specific about ballots remaining, the county releases a nightly count (8 pm) of how many ballots have been returned. As of last night’s count, 27,298 ballots were in and “ready to count” in District 1.
Just under 20,000 have been counted (in addition to the Herbold and Braddock numbers above, 94 ballots were tallied as “write-ins”).
Probably a good time for you to check the status of your ballot – invariably there are some whose signatures weren’t validated or which haven’t (yet) been counted for one reason or another, and you may still be able to fix that – go here to check. (And note that the final stage is “your ballot will be counted” – that does NOT mean it hasn’t been counted yet, it’s just the final status they give.)
7:03 PM: Second run of the day is in – Herbold is now 104 votes behind Braddock.
Braddock – 10,905 – 50.02%
Herbold – 10,801 – 49.54%
9:37 PM: As pointed out in comments, the total number of votes in the race does not equal the number of ballots counted – this version of the results (unlike the plain-text version) shows the number counted per race, and it says 24,000+ have been counted, leaving 3,000+ as of this evening’s returns.
7:11 PM: King County Elections has just published the only set of results it plans to release today/tonight. See the full list here; if you’re watching the District 1 City Council race, Shannon Braddock was ahead of Lisa Herbold by 729 votes as of last night, and tonight, her lead is 638:
Shannon Braddock – 8491 – 51.69%
Lisa Herbold – 7853 – 47.81%
Next update is scheduled for 4:30 pm Friday. Today’s 4:30 pm release was canceled because of technical trouble that the county explains here.
11:11 PM: According to King County’s ballot-return stats, updated nightly at 8 pm separate from the results, more than 10,000 ballots are waiting to be counted in this race.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:43 PM: King County Elections‘ second vote count is out, and it’s not the last one of the day – the KCE website says they’re also planning an update at 7 pm. The City Council District 1 race has tightened a bit since last night, with Shannon Braddock still ahead of Lisa Herbold:
Braddock – 7,416 – 52.43%
Herbold – 6,656 – 47.06%
7 PM UPDATE: Tonight’s second and final update is in. The percentage gap has tightened yet again:
Braddock – 7581 – 52.25%
Herbold – 6,852 – 47.23%
Next vote count will be out Thursday afternoon.
THURSDAY 4:53 PM NOTE: KC Elections just announced it’s NOT going to have an afternoon update today – just 7 pm. (ish)