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Spokane, other Washington counties certify Nov. 7 election results

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(The Center Square) – Most outcomes have been known for weeks, but results from the Nov. 7 general election were officially certified Tuesday by the Spokane County Auditor’s Office.

In all, 155,768 ballots were cast for dozens of individual races and propositions across the county. Turnout was listed at 42.9% – less than half of Spokane’s 363,058 registered voters bothered to cast a ballot.

The results will now be submitted to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office, which has until Dec. 7 to perform a final certification for all 39 counties in Washington. According to the office, there were 3,095 races on ballots across the state with 4,019 candidates vying for seats on city councils, school boards, port and hospital districts, and other nonpartisan local positions in the odd-year election.

Within the City of Spokane, final tallies in the mayoral race showed challenger Lisa Brown defeating incumbent Nadine Woodward by 2,853 votes – 33,601 (51.7%) to 33,748 (47.7%).

Results for Spokane city council positions were: Council president – Betsy Wilkerson, 37,006 (53.1%); Kim Plese, 32,484 (46.6%). District 1 – Michael Cathcart, 7,934 (55.7%); Lindsey Shaw, 6,205 (43.6%). District 2 – Paul Dillon, 14,813 (53.1%); Katey Treloar, 12,942 (46.4%). District 3 – Kitty Klitzke, 15,676 (59.4%); Earl Moore, 10,523 (39.9%).

In neighboring Spokane Valley, final results for city council positions were: Position 2 – Jessica Yaeger, 13,722 (62.6%); Rachel Briscoe, 7,788 (35.5%). Position 3 – Al Merkel, 14,226 (65.2%); Arne Woodard, 7,353 (33.7%). Position 6 – Tim Hattenburg, 11,689 (52.2%); Rob Chase, 10,580 (47.3%).

Two significant propositions were decided by large margins during the Nov. 7 election’s early ballot counts.

Measure No. 1, which ran countywide, was soundly rejected by voters at 63.3%. The measure called for raising the local sales tax by 0.2% for 30 years to provide an estimated $1.7 billion dollars in dedicated funding to be shared by Spokane County and its cities and towns for criminal justice, public safety and behavioral health purposes. The county had hoped to use part of its share to construct a new jail and modernize existing facilities.

Within Spokane city limits, voters strongly supported Proposition 1, which passed at 74.7%. The measure calls for amending Spokane’s municipal code to prohibit unauthorized encampments within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks, playgrounds, or childcare facilities. Violations would be considered a misdemeanor offense. Although the proposition was passed by voters, an appellate court ruling is still pending on the legality of the local initiative process.

Statewide, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that voter turnout for this November’s general election was less than 37%, the lowest since reliable voter registration counts began in 1936.

Under state law, cities and other local elective jurisdictions must conduct their elections in odd-numbered years. But some state legislators are considering a bill that would allow cities to conduct their elections in even-numbered years when federal and state races are held with the intent of boosting voter turnout. Secretary of State Steven Hobbs has not supported the switch.

In other recent ballot business, Hobbs sent a letter earlier this month to U.S. Postal Service officials asking what steps USPS will take to prevent out-of-service mail boxes from remaining in public spaces.

Hobbs said disused collection boxes in King and Pierce counties were found to contain at least 124 voted ballots several days after the Nov. 7 election and were delivered late to the appropriate county election offices. Under provisions of state law, election officials used dates on the ballot envelopes to determine their validity, wrote Hobbs, who said such incidents can lead to voter confusion and distrust.

“Every year, millions of dollars in state, county, and local public funds pay for postage to deliver democracy in the form of our ballot distributions, voter’s pamphlets, and ballot return envelopes,” Hobbs said. “With that degree of investment, our voters must be able to trust that every ballot put into a USPS mailbox will be delivered and counted.”

Hobbs noted that Washington has five elections scheduled in 2024, including special election dates in February and April, the presidential primary in March, the August primary, and the November general election.

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