Tag Archives: Voting

OPINION: School Boards and Local Elections Are Ground Zero for Our Values

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

New Americans, New Right to Vote

by Phil Manzano

It’s easy for those born in the United States to take the vote for granted.

But for those Annie Dimitras works with at the Refugee Women’s Alliance, or ReWA, the right to vote is taken seriously — almost like a sacred right.

“A lot of the people we work with at my organization are voting for the very first time, their very first opportunity,” said Dimitras, senior immigration & civic engagement program coordinator at ReWA. “They may be 70 and this is the first chance they’ve ever had to vote.”

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Getting Out the Vote: Local Organizations Rallying Historically Marginalized Groups

by Ashley Archibald

(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

Voters in Seattle and King County are gearing up for the end of the electoral season, a lengthy — and expensive! — period in which candidates try to convince the public that they are the right person to lead government for the next four years.

Candidates have serious competition for voters’ attention and zeal for the democratic process. That’s particularly true in the region’s odd-year election cycle, which means the public rolled from the drama of the 2020 national campaign straight into local elections, which are arguably as consequential but don’t tend to command the same degree of participation.

But elections have consequences, and local organizations have been working overtime to not just encourage people to register to vote and fill out their ballots but be informed when they do it. That’s even more challenging this year than usual because of the pandemic, which limited groups’ abilities to engage in traditional “get-out-the-vote” activities.

However, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Continue reading Getting Out the Vote: Local Organizations Rallying Historically Marginalized Groups

Local Org Urges Formerly Incarcerated People to Vote Because They Can

by Agueda Pacheco Flores

With election night less than a week away, there is a lot of misinformation about voting rights that Chukundi Salisbury is working to get right. 

Since he founded “UrbVote” in 2015, Salisbury has worked tirelessly to register voters in the South End. But he’s not just focusing on registering teens as young as 16, he’s also focusing on those who are on the furthest end of the margins.

Even before the Washington State Legislature passed a bill to automatically reinstate voting rights to formerly incarcerated people this past spring. But that bill won’t go into effect until January of 2022.

Continue reading Local Org Urges Formerly Incarcerated People to Vote Because They Can

OPINION: The Importance of Voting in Local Elections

by Shasti Conrad

As we prepare for the upcoming Aug. 3, 2021, King County primary election, I find myself doing what I can from raising voter awareness to relentless canvassing, textbanking, and candidate support to channel that energy that we all had for the 2020 presidential election. On that day about 331 million Americans saw their hard work pay off in the successful transfer of power from one leader to the next (Although a small portion of those folks still question the legitimacy of that election, every court in America has found it to be true). On that day we, the American people, said “no” to the bigotry that many across the world thought was irreparably permuting our nation. 

While presidential elections may have been my start in politics, from presidential campaigns to the Obama Administration, I hope more than anything to leave a legacy as a strong advocate of local elections. In times like these where forests are burning, where many in our cities are unhoused, and where white supremacy continues to linger under the surface, local elections are the forefront of our democracy. It is incumbent on all of us to vote in every single cycle. 

Continue reading OPINION: The Importance of Voting in Local Elections

The Demographics Behind Biden’s Victory

by Kevin Schofield

This weekend’s “long read” is a deep dive into the demographics of the voters in last November’s presidential election. It would be wonderful if we knew more immediately after the election about who chose to vote (or stay home), but our secret balloting process means that demographic data must be reconstructed after the fact. And that process often takes months.

Continue reading The Demographics Behind Biden’s Victory

Latino Voters Have Higher Than Average Ballot Signature Rejection Rates in Washington State

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

Emerald Election Results

by Emerald Staff

It’s election night! This is a monumental, historic evening, and results at the national, state, and local level will have a huge impact on so many critical issues — from COVID-19 response to the economy, social justice, and reforming police departments. The Emerald will be posting live election results updates here as the night goes on, so check back frequently on our website or on our Twitter feed for the latest results. King County and Washington State will begin announcing election results at 8 p.m., and we’ll be reporting updates throughout the evening on local state legislative races, statewide offices, and a range of ballot measures on topics ranging from sex education to reforming the King County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition, Emerald editor and founder Marcus Harrison Green will be joining the good people at Converge Media (plus Emerald writers Lola E. Peters and M. Anthony Davis) for ongoing online election night coverage throughout the evening. Watch on Converge Media’s website, on Facebook, or on YouTube (or right here).

UPDATE – (11/7/20) 8:37 a.m.:

Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election after securing Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press and NBC News. Biden’s victory makes Donald Trump a one-term president after four tumultuous years in the White House. Trump is the first incumbent to lose re-election in more than a quarter-century.

Biden’s projected victory also means that Kamala Harris will make history, becoming the first woman and first person of color to hold the office of vice-president.

Unsuccessful in his two previous bids for the presidency, Biden’s 2020 victory was delivered by a coalition of women, people of color, older and younger voters, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

UPDATE – (11/6/20) 8:58 a.m.:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is on the cusp of the presidency Friday, seizing a lead over President Donald Trump in both Pennsylvania and Georgia and drawing ever closer to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

Biden, who has 253 electoral votes, pulled ahead of Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania by about 9,000 votes on Friday morning. If his lead holds — and it is expected to — the state’s 20 electoral votes would push him past the threshold to win the election. In Georgia, his lead was so narrow that state officials said a recount was inevitable.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, was declared the winner of the key swing states of Wisconsin and Michigan, two key swing states that President Trump won four years ago.

The Trump campaign has pressed ahead with lawsuits challenging the validity of the count in several states, a move that could further delay the announcement of the presidential victor.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens has already denied a request from Trump’s campaign to stop counting ballots over a claim that a poll challenger was denied access to view ballots being counted.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, although, Michigan has already completed its ballot counting.

Biden is currently leading Trump in the popular vote by more than 3.8 million votes, should this stand it would be the second consecutive time that Trump has lost the popular vote.

UPDATE — 10:17 p.m.:

People in South Seattle are nervously watching the narrow presidential race, with Joe Biden and Donald Trump in a nail-biting Electoral College showdown that will depend on results from a few swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Congress too, seems a tossup, with both control of the Senate and House uncertain at this moment. However, there was no drama in the local House races, with U.S. House Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith cruising to victories over marginal opposition. Jayapal, the rep for the 7th District, had 84.56% of the vote over opponent Craig Keller with 15.2%, while Smith, of the 9th District, led 75.84% to 23.98% over Doug Basler.

Congresswoman for Washington’s 7th District, Pramila Jayapal (Image attributed to USGLC, used here under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

King County Proposition 1

A $1.74 billion bond measure (King County Prop 1) that would fund improvements to Harborview Medical Center, appeared to be passing easily this evening, with more than 77% in favor after early returns. A vote of 60% was required to pass the measure, which would fund a new $952 million medical facility, seismic and clinic upgrades, as well as a new 150-bed addition to provide medical care to people without shelter. 

King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a released statement on the passage of the bond, “While there are still many votes to be counted, I thank the voters of King County for their support for Harborview Medical Center. These investments will ensure that our region continues to be the best place in the country to receive emergency medical care, and needed seismic upgrades will protect the lives of patients, employees, and visitors to Harborview. Besides helping people with behavioral health needs and better preparing the region to fight pandemics, the measure creates thousands of family-wage construction jobs at a time when our region needs them the most.”

UPDATE — 10:12 p.m.:

Seattle Proposition 1

Seattle voters approved a measure to replenish mass transit funds and add new bus service connecting Seattle to South King County, with Proposition 1 passing by a massive 80–20 margin. As reported by the Emerald, the proposition renews a 0.1% sales tax and car tab fee to raise an estimated $42 million per year. Supporters say it would protect free Orca cards for high school students, and ameliorate traffic and pollution in the Duwamish Valley.

“Today’s vote in support of Proposition 1 for transit funding is good news for West Seattle,” City Council member Lisa Herbold, who represents that area, said in a statement. “Proposition 1 specifies that up to $9 million annually to support mobility needs related to the closure of the West Seattle Bridge and COVID-19 response and recovery.”

UPDATE — 10 p.m.:

Lieutenant Governor

Two Democrats are running for Washington’s Lieutenant Governor seat: former US Rep. Denny Heck and Marko Liias, current Washington State Senate Majority Floor Leader.  

Heck is leading 47.31% to Liias’ 33.81% with 2,934,397 votes counted so far, and with 18.89% going to write-in candidates.

Interest in the race was heightened by the possibility that Gov. Inslee may be wooed to take a White House cabinet position if Joe Biden is elected president. Inslee has indicated, however, that he would finish his third term if re-elected.

Continue reading Emerald Election Results

The Morning Update Show — 11/2/20

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Monday, Nov. 2

Today on the Morning Update Show:

Did You Vote?; National Voter Suppression; Car Brigade Arrests — Paul Keifer; Seattle Parks Providing Child Care; T’Challowen in Review; and CHOP Artists — Alaia D’Allesandro.

Coyote Central’s Voting Swag Raises Awareness for Youth-Led VOTE Project

by Mark Van Streefkerk 

Members of Coyote Central’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) prove it’s never too early for young people to talk about voting. YAB’s VOTE Project is a youth-led voting awareness initiative and Instagram platform for youth speakers to share their reasons for voting. If unable to vote, they talk about why the election matters to them and encourage others to get involved. In addition to their Instagram account, YAB has released pins, stickers, magnets, and posters to encourage voting, the sales of which provide small stipends to youth speakers and support YAB. 

Continue reading Coyote Central’s Voting Swag Raises Awareness for Youth-Led VOTE Project