FOLLOWUP: Final results of Amanda Kay Helmick’s City Council District 1 signature effort – 9 names short

Last Friday we reported on the conclusion of King County’s election-filing week, with one matter left unsettled: City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) candidate Amanda Kay Helmick had been determined to get on the ballot via 1,200 petition signatures rather than a $1,200 filing fee, and was told that despite a 100-plus-signature pad, she was still short of the required number of qualified signatures. After several days of doublechecking and other research, Helmick has just announced the official end of her campaign:

Exactly 7 months after announcing her candidacy for Seattle City Council in District 1, Amanda Kay Helmick has ended her grassroots campaign. Her steadfast choice to gather signatures in lieu of the filing fee was successful in getting 1318 people to sign for her, but fell 9 signatures short.

“I am disappointed in the process and outcome. The last several days of comparing the King County Elections list to the petitions, and speaking to individual signers, has been alarming. Invalid voters on the list had no idea their right to vote is in question. There is room for obvious improvements, and I hope King County Elections is working diligently to rectify the situation. I want to thank everyone who signed and helped me in my bid for inclusion on the ballot. Ultimately, the support I needed was not there.”

Amanda will continue to fight for District 1. She is co-chair of the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council, co-chair of the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, Delridge Rep to the City Neighborhood Council, and Budget Committee Chair of the City Neighborhood Council. She looks forward to working with the newly elected District 1 Councilmember.

This means the nine candidates who are on the King County list comprise the official, final field for the August 4th primary – this is the order in which they will appear on the ballot, per the county’s drawing:

Lisa Herbold
Jody Rushmer
Chas Redmond
Shannon Braddock
Karl Wirsing
Brianna Thomas
Phillip Tavel
Pavel Goberman
Arturo Robles

They all appeared at a candidates’ forum in Fauntleroy on Monday night (WSB coverage with video is here) and at least two more forums are coming up – May 27th in South Park and June 8th in Pigeon Point.

21 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Final results of Amanda Kay Helmick's City Council District 1 signature effort - 9 names short"

  • Captain Dave May 20, 2015 (11:53 am)

    Interesting. I wonder how much money King County spent to invalidate enough votes? “We certainly don’t want people getting away with not paying big government fees to be in elections”. Less than 1% is a rounding error for which the County should recognize potential liability if they are found wrong.

  • wssz May 20, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    I don’t know this candidate but am really hoping that King County validates her so she is able to run. I respect her for getting the support and signatures instead of simply paying the fee. Nine votes…. That seems close enough to the goal to count as a yes in my book.

  • cj May 20, 2015 (1:59 pm)

    Its really interesting how some of these newer candidates showed up already prepared with signatures.

  • Christie May 20, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    I was one of the volunteers who helped her get signatures and was heartbroken for her that she was 9 short. To bad that she couldnt just pay $9 for the 9 signatures she was short to get on the ballot.

  • JanS May 20, 2015 (3:10 pm)

    Goodness, Dave…there isn’t a conspiracy in everything in life.

  • I. Ponder May 20, 2015 (3:19 pm)

    She had 100 extra signatures yet came up 9 short. That means 109 people signed her petition to get on the ballot who were not qualified to vote in the election, right? Did signers need to be registered in District 1 in order to be valid or just registered King County voters? I signed her petition. Was she allowed to pay the $1200 fee once it was discovered the name count came up short? That doesn’t seem like an extraordinarily exorbitant fee to me.

    • WSB May 20, 2015 (3:37 pm)

      IP, we mentioned this in our original story, because we went to Renton to cover her turning in the signatures, thinking it was a unique story in the first-ever District 1 race (little did we know it would take this turn). They offered her the opportunity to leave a check on standby in case her signatures pulled up short. She declined, saying emphatically that either she had enough signatures to get on the ballot or she did not. She turned them in just a few hours before the deadline; if she had turned them in on Wednesday and come up short, for example, I don’t know whether that would have meant she’d have been able to take the two additional days in the filing week to keep gathering …

  • Captain Dave May 20, 2015 (3:39 pm)

    I don’t know this candidate either. She could be another wack-job socialist for all I know. But she seems to have a thousand people who want her to run, which seems more relevant than the others who stoked the government boilers with a wad of cash. I like the $9.00 solution. I think I’m going to write Christie in on the ballet because she can come up with logical, fair and cost-effective sollutions that are unimaginable by most bureaucrats.

  • Diane May 20, 2015 (3:44 pm)

    Christie, I was also one of the volunteers helping Amanda to get signatures, and so bummed at the outcome; one of the denied signatures on the pdf list that wsblog published, was one of mine; I immediately contacted that person, and as suspected; she moved to WS last year, had a baby (slightly busy) and no significant election, so her old Seattle address had not yet been updated to her new WS home, where she has lived for over a year; I suppose this is a lesson for us all going forward

  • experience is the best teacher May 20, 2015 (4:31 pm)

    She looks so forlorn and alone in that picture.

    But life’s greatest lessons are hardest. She’ll be ready next time and there won’t be any misjudgmentor or assumptions or guessing about any of the process and the need for strategic planning.

    Many wish her well and thank her for all she tries to do for others.

    • WSB May 20, 2015 (4:34 pm)

      Well, we were there and she certainly wasn’t forlorn – nervousness is what she expressed in the part of the interview we never got to write (we talked to her on video afterward but it was a moot point because the signature shortage came to light before end of day, hours later) but she had to go to Renton by herself because family and friends were all at work. No entourage … just us trailing her with a camera. And nobody else there but staff because so much of politics is done otherwise by money and online forms and mail … but that’s another story. – TR

  • left&wright May 20, 2015 (4:40 pm)

    I’ve been registering voters for a bit more than ten years now, and I’ve gotten to know the people and the process fairly well. I know some of Amanda’s supporters are angry with King County, but they did nothing wrong. They just followed the rules. If they didn’t, who knows, maybe the whole election could be challenged.

    There is a candidate information manual on their website which explains pretty much everything a candidate needs to know.

    I Ponder, Yes, the signatures needed to be from District 1.

    King County Elections recommends that the signatures be turned in early in case the petition comes up short. They also recommend getting 25% more signatures than needed, or 300 or so in Amanda’s case. She had less than 10% over.

    My guess is that most of those signatures that were invalid were because the voter moved and didn’t register their new address. From looking at the list,I find that there were quite a few addresses that weren’t even in Seattle.

  • I. Ponder May 20, 2015 (5:04 pm)

    Sad to see her drop out, but if you’re not committed to spending $1200, then you’re not ready to run a full campaign. I’m guessing she realized this. I hope she runs again in the future. There’s plenty of work to be done as a grassroots advocate in the meantime.

  • Kara May 20, 2015 (5:12 pm)

    I’m a huge Amanda fan and she had my vote at the very beginning. She would have been a great voice for our district. One silver lining is that Amanda will continue to be active in our community. Maybe I’ll see her rebuilding another playground or making bus stops safer…so proud of her work thus far!

  • Captain Dave May 20, 2015 (5:14 pm)

    There is a rotten kettle of fish here and it’s not the candidate. It seems to me that she fulfilled the intent of the law by getting a substantial number of people to want her in the race. King County should not be throwing out signatures after the due date unless they thoroughly inform candidates of the process (in simple english). We have enough bureaucratic barriers to keep people from challenging the status quo. Thank god some are willing to give it a try. “Pay to play” rules should not be an integral part of the democratic process.

  • Tom Koch May 21, 2015 (1:17 am)

    I had the pleasure of getting to know Amanda a bit during my brief candidacy. She is exactly the kind of bright and committed person that district elections were intended to welcome into the process. She has given countless hours to our community and has a keen mind coupled with a caring heart.

    The process is much poorer due to her procedural problem. In other states, she could have simply paid the remnant $9.00 and have been on the ballot. Of course, such a system would encourage candidates to actually speak with the electorate rather than simply buy their way in. Obviously, we don’t want that! :)

    West Seattle is fortunate to have her talents and energy.

  • Brian May 21, 2015 (6:59 am)

    Amanda’s candidacy was literally the only one that I supported and she was honestly the only candidate I saw out gathering signatures and talking to her constituents on a regular daily basis.
    This is frustrating. It shouldn’t cost $1,200 to run for a city council seat.

  • Chris Langeler May 21, 2015 (10:03 am)

    This is really unfortunate. Amanda brought a passionate and authentic voice of neighborhood advocacy to the race. Technicalities and rigid bureaucracy shouldn’t bar qualified candidates from public service.

    I wish this had turned out differently, but I’m glad West Seattle still has Amanda as a community leader.

  • AmandaKH May 21, 2015 (11:52 am)

    I want to thank everyone on here for your support and love – it really makes this week a lot easier to get through. I wanted to clarify a few things. First, the reason I gathered signatures is not because I couldn’t raise the money. I do not believe in a system that encourages candidates to pay their way onto the ballot. Second, when I got the call Friday at 3:30 that I was short, they told me I could bring a check down. I asked if I could bring extra signatures, and I was denied. So to answer that question – I could still pay, but couldn’t bring signatures. Third, when I compared the petitions to the list KC had, almost 75% of those in the wrong district put their new West Seattle address down on the petition. So, the only reason they were not counted is because they didn’t update their address. I would have made the ballot with plenty to spare if that was the case. When engaging people, I asked are you a registered voter in West Seattle / South Park. And the reason I made the list public is because I am questioning King County Elections. Maybe people thought they Were registered? Or their signature was valid, or they weren’t cancelled. Since an extremely small percentage of candidates collect signatures, this doesn’t come up a lot. I am thrilled that 1318 people signed for me, regardless of where they live, or their voter status. It makes me realize that what I had to say, resonated with people. There is lots of work to be done for D1! See you out there folks!

  • dsa May 21, 2015 (8:11 pm)

    Are write-ins impossible to accomplish a win? It seems to me it’s allowed but just not doable.

  • Nora May 24, 2015 (2:41 pm)

    DSA, Amanda could launch a write in campaign if she felt so inclined. The odds of winning as a write in candidate are very slim, but if the candidacy is well advertised and people are aware of it, Amanda could still win.

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