NEWS GLEAMS | WA State COVID-19 Website to Be Decommissioned; Ranked-Choice Voting Passes

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Washington State’s COVID-19 Response Website Will Be Decommissioned Dec. 1

Starting Dec. 1, 2022, and in line with the ending of the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH)’s Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19) website will be decommissioned. After that date, all site visitors will be sent to the DOH COVID-19 landing page, which will contain much of the information from the previously specialized website.

DOH will be working with partners to transfer pandemic information to other state agency websites as appropriate. Nonetheless, DOH stresses that hospitals are still operating at high capacity this winter and is encouraging vaccinations against COVID-19 for all who are 6 months or older. The Emerald has previously reported on COVID-19 resources for the holiday season.

To the South Seattle Emerald’s knowledge, the closure of the DOH’s COVID-19 website does not affect the King County COVID-19 Dashboard.

Ranked-Choice Voting Passes in Seattle

Last week, barring a recount, 51% of Seattle voters narrowly passed Proposition 1A and 1B, centered on the future of voting in the city. Proposition 1A was a citizen initiative (Initiative 134) which inquired whether the current voting system should be replaced by approval voting or ranked-choice voting. Proposition 1B, a proposed alternative measure proposed by the Seattle City Council and the mayor, asked voters to choose between approval voting and ranked-choice voting, regardless of how they answered for Proposition 1A. Ranked-choice voting allows for voters to choose multiple candidates and rank them on their ballot in preferential order; approval voting lets voters select as many candidates as they desire, without assigning rank to each of them.

Voters narrowly voted to change the sytem for future elections. The vote gap for Proposition 1A was only about 6,000 votes, with 51% of voters in support. Proposition 1B saw much greater support for ranked-choice voting over approval voting, with ranked-choice voting acquiring 76% of the vote and approval voting netting only 24%.

According to previous reporting by South Seattle Emerald, “Since 2010, voter turnout in King County has averaged 77% in even-numbered years and just 47% in odd-numbered years.” Voter turnout could increase through ranked-choice voting.

EchoX Seeks High School Students for Paid Journalism and Communications Workshop

EchoX’s DIGITIZE program is hosting a paid opportunity for high school students who are interested in learning journalism and communications skills through their Winter 2023 Story Gathering Workshop. The hybrid in-person and online workshop will be taught by EchoX Communications director Kathryn Lam (Cherokee) and multimedia journalist Kamna Shastri (KUOW, Seattle Globalist, Brown Girl Magazine, South Seattle Emerald, International Examiner).

The theme of the workshop is “own voices,” with a focus on telling stories from one’s own perspective and ethnic or cultural community. Each of the six participants will be presented a $500 stipend for their work and will have their pieces published on Voices, EchoX’s virtual collection of written works.

Applications will be open through January 6, 2023.

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