First things first: Ballots were mailed Oct. 16. If yours hasn't arrived by Wednesday, Oct. 23 — and you are a registered voter — call your county elections office (King County is 206-296-8683).
If you're wondering (literally) how to vote, visit the Secretary of State's website, which provides ballot box drop locations and details about how to register (you've got until Oct. 28 if you do it in person). In addition, each Washington county maintains its own website. They’re all available here.
Now for the good part: Help in deciding whom and what to vote for. As a nonprofit, Crosscut can't endorse candidates or ballot measures. But here's our brief (not really) overview of the 2013 initiatives, charter amendments, propositions and candidates in some of the bigger races.
Other voting guides
Ours is not the only guide out there. Some serve up unbiased info; others, shameless advocacy. Here are some of the better ones we found. (Please share your suggestions in the reader comments section):
- The Living Voter’s Guide: Allows conversations about initiatives
- FUSE Washington’s Progressive Voter’s Guide: Exactly what it looks like
- King County’s Voter’s Guide: Candidate-submitted information
- The Seattle Times editorial board endorsements: Local and state races.
- The News Tribune editorial board endorsements: Ditto.
- The Stranger’s Voting Guide: Always entertaining.
- Washington Policy Center 2013 Election Resources: Conservative think tank tips
- The Municipal League of King County: A navigational challenge; find candidate ratings here.
Seattle City Races
Mayor: Murray v. McGinn
Both candidates are proud liberals, and the campaign has focused on leadership style rather than substantive issues.
McGinn likes to drive a wedge, then use the leverage to get policies into place. It helped him implement reforms in the police department (post-Department of Justice investigation), improve parks and continue to work for bike-, enviro- and mass transit-friendly policies. He is, at his core, a combative activist. Murray is all about compromise and bringing people together. His website advertises his belief that “leadership is not about picking fights with your opponents, it is about building bridges.” This approach has helped him pass legislation around marriage equality, maintain funding for social services and get a state transportation package.
The outcome will come down to whether people like how McGinn operates, or don’t.
Seattle City Council Seat No. 2: Sawant v. Conlin
Kshama Sawant is listed as a Socialist Alternative candidate, although most of her positions stay well within Seattle’s liberal boundaries. She wants to restrict coal trains and quickly implement a $15 per hour minimum wage, arguing that the bump could serve as a local stimulus package. She'd like public schools to get more funding and attention, and would address the Seattle Police Department’s excessive use of force.
Veteran Councilmember Richard Conlin sits right in the center, assuming the "center" in Seattle is liberal. He voted no on paid sick leave — citing concerns over unequal worker treatment — and yes on the plastic bag ban. He tried to defund McGinn's transit master plan, but has worked on bike lane safety and received the endorsement of the Cascade Bicycle Club, Sierra Club and Washington Conservation Voters. He has served on the council 16 years, and can boast both expertise, especially in transit and urban affairs, and connections.
This is one of the most closely watched races because Conlin failed to get 50 percent in the primary election voting.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!