ELECTION 2018: Watch for your primary ballot

King County Elections is sending out the ballots for the August 7th primary election. What you’ll be deciding includes narrowing a field of 29 U.S. Senate candidates (including incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell) down to 2 and narrowing the list of 11 34th District State Senate candidates (incumbent Sen. Sharon Nelson is not running for re-election) down to 2. There’s one ballot measure – King County Proposition 1 seeks to renew the property-tax levy for the Automated Fingerprint Identification Service, used in criminal investigations. Get your ballot in a dropbox (West Seattle has one at the High Point Library, 3411 SW Raymond) or mailbox – this is the first election for which ballots have prepaid postage if you use the U.S. Postal Service, so you can mail yours without paying for stamps.

12 Replies to "ELECTION 2018: Watch for your primary ballot"

  • Mark Schletty July 18, 2018 (11:17 am)

    I don’t remember for sure, but I thought when I voted for the fingerprint levy last time that it was supposed to be a one time funding source to get the County up to speed in this area. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as of now it seems just like so many other temporary levies that they turn into permanent taxes. As one in danger of being taxed out of my home, I have to vote against this, and all other levies. Sorry.As far as the Dist. 34 seat, I have no clear favorites yet, but Shannon Braddock is the only totally unacceptable candidate. She is the candidate who has expressed the strongest favor (over the years) for the extreme high density development that the developers, who highly funded her in her City Council race, are pushing. We don’t need to send to the State someone who doesn’t believing in protecting our neighborhoods. Neighborhood livabilty needs to be a priority for the State, as well as the City.

    • WSB July 18, 2018 (11:54 am)

      The ballot language to which I linked included this explanatory statement regarding the levy: “This proposition would authorize King County to levy an additional regular property tax to support the continued operation and enhancement of the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) program, and would replace the current voter-approved levy that will expire on December 31, 2018. The AFIS program is designed to improve the ability of law enforcement agencies within King County to identify and convict criminal offenders. Among other activities, the AFIS program matches crime scene fingerprints and palmprints to potential criminal suspects. If this proposition is approved, levy funds may also be used to research and pilot other types of biometrics and technology to help investigators solve crimes more efficiently and accurately. The proposed levy would be authorized for a six-year period with collection beginning in 2019. During the first year, the tax would be levied at a rate of 3.5 cents ($0.035) or less per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of assessed valuation on all taxable property within King County. Annual increases in each of the succeeding five years would be limited to the statutory rate set forth in chapter 84.55 RCW.” The link also goes to a “for” statement from the sheriff (there’s no “against” statement); the sheriff notes (and the county website verifies this with a new tool just announced – separate story to come) that this will cost you less in 2019 than it did in 2018. Meantime, this isn’t the first renewal – this was originally passed in 1990 and this is the sixth renewal vote since then, per this Times link that turned up from 2012, the renewal vote before this one:

    • Nolan July 18, 2018 (4:19 pm)

      Which one do you want, not to be taxed out of your home or to block high-density housing? As a basic matter of supply and demand, you only get to choose one. The demand will be there whether we meet it or not.Also, “neighborhood livability” is nearly meaningless and largely NIMBYist dog whistling. But you probably already knew that.

    • Peter July 18, 2018 (4:46 pm)

      Ms. Braddock’s support for high density development is one of the biggest reasons I voted for her. Unless we start building A LOT more housing, prices are just going to keep going up and up and up. I don’t see how forcing all but the very wealthy out of the city through continuing draconian zoning and land use policies is “protecting our neighborhoods.”

  • anonyme July 18, 2018 (1:22 pm)

    No more levies for me.  Period.  And I’m sure as heck not going to pay more property taxes to support high tech crime solving research when we don’t even have basic police enforcement.There is one thing I’d like to add to the ballot, and that would be a box that says “None of the above”.  It seems like the only options we’ve had for quite some time have been choosing between the lesser of two evils.

  • Heartless? July 18, 2018 (5:22 pm)

     This area has consistently relied on tax levies to support operations that should be funded through the general budget.  AFIS and Medic 1 are two prime examples.

    • AMD July 18, 2018 (6:46 pm)

      Increasing the portion of taxes that feeds the general budget is limited by law.  If the amount they’re allowed to raise taxes under that law leaves them short of operating costs, the additional amounts have to be approved by voters (via levy).  That’s why we’re constantly voting on things that are no-brainers.  

    • CarolG July 28, 2018 (12:54 pm)

      Through support of the AFIS levy, funds are dedicated to purchase and maintain fingerprint technology, staffing, etc. consistently for all areas of the county.  It’s more effective and a better value to centralize these services using a regional approach, rather than each of 40 agencies attempting to do its own.  The dedicated funding also means this program doesn’t get sacrificed for competing interests under general budgets.It’s about effective crime solving to support our community members–at a low cost to taxpayers.

  • ThinkBeforeComplain July 19, 2018 (12:07 am)

    You’re all the same people who will be complaining that the police can’t catch the people who broke into your house or cars.  I do believe that AFIS and DNA databases should be federally funded or come from a source other than property taxes, but I’d rather pay for them than not have them.  AFIS is not optional for law enforcement.

    • David G August 2, 2018 (5:07 pm)

      I think you hit the nail on the head.My mother worked closely with law enforcement for years in California before joining me here in Washington. She immediately questioned why the Country is funding AFIS when it is administrated Federally.This wiki article confirms that and does state that some states choose to have their own: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automated_fingerprint_identificationI'm left wondering if there’s a WA state AFIS as well and why we have one at the county level.

  • BIG BROTHER July 25, 2018 (6:11 pm)

    The AFIS levy also allows them to expand into other areas of biometrics (facial recognition, etc.) with no limitations/oversite set up. They should come back with a clear plan which lays out what they want to do and why, not a carte blanche.

    • CarolG July 28, 2018 (1:08 pm)

      You’re right, there is no plan or funding earmarked for other biometrics under the AFIS program. The ordinance just allows for consideration of other means that can help solve crimes.  If/when any research is initiated, AFIS will ask the ACLU to assist with and help guide concept and policy.  This was done with previous technology under the AFIS program, with outstanding results.

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