by Shasti Conrad
Local elections don’t just matter: They are a matter of life and death for far too many in our communities.
About a month ago, I learned that my hometown of Newberg, Oregon, became the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. The local school board voted to ban symbols such as Pride flags and signs declaring that “Black Lives Matter,” calling them “political statements’’ and therefore inappropriate for school. What they really did was politicize humanity and, in the name of “neutrality,” help the oppressor.
As someone who also had to navigate predominantly white spaces as a student of color, my heart went out to students who, in that vote, witnessed representatives of the community invalidate their entire existence as a mere “political statement” that didn’t belong in a classroom setting.
The fact that Newberg is my hometown galvanized me to take action. And I am now working with people in Newberg to hold school board members accountable for this, by supporting recall efforts for Brian Shannon, and making the Newberg School District more welcoming and equitable. And while the story of Newberg is deeply personal to me, it is also far from unique. These incidents are happening in schools all around the nation and in our own backyard.
Continue reading OPINION: School Boards and Local Elections Are Ground Zero for Our Values
by Phil Manzano
While you may find it difficult to pull away from the sunny reverie of summer, there’s an important election on the horizon for Seattle and King County. Here’s a primer on how to make sure you make your voice heard in the upcoming Aug. 3 primary election, when voters will weigh in on county, city, and special district elections.
The deadline to register online or by mail for the Aug. 3 primary election, July 26, has already passed. You can register to vote in person for the primary election up to and including Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Continue reading Not Registered for the August 3 Election? Here’s How to Fix That and Get Your Ballot
by Mark Van Streefkerk
If you’re a registered voter and Seattle resident, you’ve probably already received your Democracy Vouchers in the mail. You’ll recognize them in that the envelope looks a bit like your election ballot, though they come from the City of Seattle. The Democracy Vouchers Program automatically distributes four $25 vouchers to all registered voters that can be used to support participating candidates for City of Seattle office. You can participate in the voucher program even if you’re not registered to vote. The idea behind the program is to provide public funds to candidates who might otherwise not have the financial resources to run a campaign and to allow more Seattle residents to donate to candidates they support.
Maybe you’ve already used your vouchers, maybe you’re unsure how to use them, or even accidentally threw them in the recycling bin. (Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix for that!) The following is a guide on how to use Democracy Vouchers, including how to receive them in any of 18 languages and where you can find out more information about each candidate.
Continue reading A Guide to Democracy Vouchers
by Joy Borkholder
(This article originally appeared on InvestigateWest and has been reprinted with permission.)
Marissa Reyes still doesn’t understand why her signature would cause her August 2020 Benton County primary ballot to be tossed out.
A letter from the county elections office challenging her signature came to her house in her hometown of Prosser. But Reyes had left for New York, where she had just finished college. Confused, neither Reyes nor her parents had the time to figure it all out before her ballot was rejected.
“I definitely felt annoyed and a little apathetic, but definitely not surprised,” Reyes recalled.
Continue reading Latino Voters Have Higher Than Average Ballot Signature Rejection Rates in Washington State
by Meg Butterworth
“It may be an easy thing to make a Republic; but it is a very laborious thing to make Republicans; and woe to the republic that rests upon no better foundations than ignorance, selfishness, and passion.”
Those were the cautionary words of Horace Mann, whom many regard as the founder of American education. Although spoken in 1848, his words are profoundly relevant today as we precariously inch our way into 2021, reeling from the January 6 attack on the Capitol and questioning how 2020’s devastating events will define our future under the new Biden administration. Media sources daily debate how we will overcome our political tribalism, racist past and present, government distrust, and rampant disinformation campaigns. It’s heavy. Why didn’t we heed Mann’s warnings?
Whatever happened to civics class? You know, the study of the rights and duties of citizenship?
Continue reading A Civics Revival In Education
by Gordon McHenry
In a couple of weeks, Washington State will mail out ballots for one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes. While every election is important, this upcoming contest has the potential to alter the course of our nation for generations, so every vote will count.
In the last presidential election, almost 77% of eligible, voting-age Washingtonians registered to vote — the highest percentage since 1984. However, turnout was only 65%. In King County, turnout declined by nearly 3% compared to 2012. Statewide, it went down by a similar amount.
While 65% turnout is high relative to other states, that leaves room for improvement.
Continue reading OPINION: Yes, Your Vote Matters
by Carolyn Bick
For 25 years, voters who live in King County’s 12 unincorporated areas that do not have their own police departments have seen their already-small power over who enforces the laws in their communities dwindle. Since the position of King County sheriff became an elected one in 1996, more and more people have moved to cities that have their own police departments. Today, just 11% of voters live in unincorporated King County.
But why do these numbers matter?
Continue reading The Position of King County Sheriff Could Become an Appointed One. Here’s Why That Matters.
by Mark Van Streefkerk
On Monday, June 29, Andrea Caupain, candidate for state representative in Seattle’s 37th legislative district, announced she was suspending her campaign. Of the remaining two candidates, Kirsten Harris-Talley and Chukundi Salisbury, Caupain officially endorsed Salisbury. Caupain led the candidates in funds raised at over $81,000, but said her reason for leaving the race was to better serve locally, especially in light of COVID-19’s disproportionate effects on the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities she serves through the nonprofit Byrd Barr Place.
Continue reading Andrea Caupain Suspends Campaign For State Representative, Endorses Chukundi Salisbury
by Chetanya Robinson
Four years ago Esther “Little Dove” John, then 64, accomplished something she had wanted to do since junior high. She became a member of the electoral college, and in December 2016, joined 538 others across the country to choose the next president of the United States.
John, a longtime Beacon Hill community member, artist and activist whose friends call her Dove, never imagined her choice would cause a ripple that would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Members of the electoral college are expected to vote for whoever wins the popular vote in their states. But in 2016, ten electors across the country tried, and seven succeeded, in casting a vote for someone else. It was the largest such revolt since 1808.
Continue reading Esther “Little Dove” John: Faithless Elector or Trump Resistor?
The South Seattle Emerald met with candidates running for King County Council’s District 2 seat. District 2 spans from the University of Washington to Skyway and encompasses the Central District and Southeast Seattle. Incumbent Councilmember Larry Gossett has run largely unopposed for years, but this race faces newcomer Girmay Zahilay, who led the race in the August Primary. These interviews invite the candidates to talk about their campaigns in their own words. Today, we speak with Larry Gossett.
Continue reading Meet the King County Council District 2 Candidates: Larry Gossett