Live Blog: Tracking the votes on the Legislature, guns, schools and buses.

Crosscut will follow the election news and results all evening.
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Drop-off voting

Crosscut will follow the election news and results all evening.

Republicans control state Senate

Update 10:40 p.m. State voters have given Republicans control of the state Senate for the next two years. The party will have a 26-23 advantage in the Senate for the session beginning in January. The Republican caucus will include one Democrat, Tim Sheldon, who helped sway the Senate to the control of the Republican-dominated Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. — J.C. 

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First Indian American state legislator

Update 9:20 p.m. UW Law professor and rookie political candidate Pramila Jayapal won her bid for Washington State Senate with 66 percent of the vote. The first Indian American elected to the state Legislature, she’ll represent the 37th District, which includes South Seattle. “I’m proud to represent the most racially and economically diverse district in Washington State,” Jayapal told a packed Royal Room in Columbia City. “Our district represents the future of this state and country. … And this is just the beginning.” — M.B.

Congress: Close in Central Washington, DelBene re-elected

Update 9:15 p.m. Tea Party Republican Clint Didier is running close to fellow Republican Dan Newhouse in the race for the 4th Congressional District seat in Central Washington, being vacated by U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings. Newhouse leads by 51.6 to 48.3 percent, but the difference is just over 3,000 votes among nearly 91,000 counted so far. In the only other seriously contested Congressional race, Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene won re-election over Republican challenger Pedro Celis, 54.7 percent to 45.2 percent. — J.C.

Turnout tallies

Update 9:04 p.m. So far tiny Garfield County gets the prize for voter turnout: 75.41 percent of its 1,541 registered voters handed in ballots. Columbia County is a close second with 67.21 percent of its 2,641 voters pulling the trigger. In King County, only 28 percent of 1,181,076 registered voters bothered to weigh in. — M.B

Celebrating gun control measure

Initiative 594 supporters are celebrating a big win. — C.R.

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Class sizes: Surprisingly close

Update 8:52 p.m. Initiative 1351, which would require the Legislature to reduce class sizes throughout K-12 schools statewide, seems to be headed toward a possibly long wait for final results. With 1.1 million votes counts, the measure was receiving 49.7 percent of the vote. But the yes votes trailed the no votes by just 5,200 ballots. Last month, a poll showed that more than 60 percent of state residents favored the measure, which is supported by the state teachers union. — J.C. 

Monorail: Not even close

Update 8:52 p.m. How much of a vote will 50 years of visibility get you in Seattle? If you’re the monorail, about 20 percent. A citizens measure to plan for an expanded monorail system died ignominiously, receiving just 19.6 percent of the vote counted on Tuesday. — J.C.

Pre-K fans delight in big margins

Update 8:48 p.m. The margins for Seattle's Pre-K measure are huge. The Yes campaign and Proposition 1B are leading by nearly 30 points. "We thought it was going to be close," said Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess. "But this is incredible. We're going to win." Estela Ortega of El Centro de la Raza echoed that wonder: "I thought we'd pull it out in the end, but this is enormous," she said. "Do you have kids? No? Well, when you do, they'll go to pre-school." — D.K.

Murray hits pre-K party

Update 8:44 p.pm Huge cheers greet Ed Murray as he walks in. "While the rest of the nation is saying no, Seattle has said yes," Murray tells the crowd. "Seattle has said yes to pre-K, yes to transportation. And the state of Washington is saying yes to gun control."

Pre-K, Prop. 1B supporters have reason to cheer

Update 8:30 p.m. Huge cheers here at Pre-K headquarters (at the Sole Repair on Capitol Hill) as current tallies show "Yes for Pre-K" leading with 65 percent of the tally – and Proposition 1B ahead with 67 percent. They've projected King County website results on the wall. Each time they hit refresh, the 1b tally inches up, resulting in more cheers. — D.K.

Gun control measure in big early lead

The first results are coming in for Washington state voting on the dueling gun initiatives, I-594’s proposed expansion of background checks to private sales appears to be in good shape, winning 60.7 to 39.2 percent with just over 1 million votes counted. I-591, which would prohibit any more stringent background checks than those required nationally, was losing, 55.3 to 44.6 percent. — C.R. 

Cautiously optimistic, Prop 1 supporters party down to Bjork

Update 8:20 p.m. There are 50 or so people hanging out in the Proposition 1, "Yes for Seattle Transit," campaign party space at the Comet Tavern. The music is loud (Bjork is playing right now) and a six-foot-wide television hanging in the one corner of the room is showing returns from the national races. Former Seattle deputy mayor Tim Ceis is chatting with other Prop. 1 supporters, eating peanuts directly from a barrel near the pool table. Beau Morton, the assisting secretary for the Seattle Transit Riders Union said he’s feeling cautiously optimistic that the measure will pass. He pointed to the strong support Seattle voters showed for the similar countywide transit funding measure that failed in April. Although that initiative won just 46 percent of the total electorate, within the Seattle city limits it prevailed with 66.5 percent of the vote. — B.L.

First votes for Transit

8:17 p.m. In Seattle, voters appeared to favor a proposal to raise the sales tax by .1 percent and increase the annual vehicle license fee from $20 to $80 to support Metro Transit bus service in the city. The Tuesday vote count went 58.8 to 41.1 percent. The measure originally was intended to head off threatened rounds of service cuts next year, but Metro’s finances have improved. So, officials say they would likely improve some service and restore other cuts that were made earlier this year. — J.C. 

Spotted again: Ed Murray

Update 7:59 p.m. Mayor Ed Murray has stopped by the party for supporters of Initiative 594, the measure to expand background checks on gun buyers. He arrived with a number of rabbis — faith communities have been big supporters of the plan. — C.R. 

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Spotted: Ed Murray

Update 6:55 p.m. There are a lot more suits on Capitol Hill tonight with a few campaigns hosting parties on the hill. Mayor Ed Murray was seen with a large group in a private section of the Mexican restaurant Poquitos on E. Pike. With the mayor’s pre-K measure, Proposition 1B and bus transportation measure partying across the street from one another, not surprising he's in the 'hood. Bonus spot: Councilmember Tim Burgess parking his Prius full of people. Local celebs are out tonight! — D.K.

National results start with GOP win

Update 5:24 p.m. Just after Kentucky's voting ended, Associated Press declared Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell the winner. Major political news outlets immediately saw that as a sign of the possible big wins that many Republicans foresee giving them control of the U.S. Senate for President Barack Obama's final two terms. Politico headlined its story, "McConnell wins, boosting GOP hopes for knockout." The New York Times put it in only slightly less dramatic terms, "McConnell victory kicks off an election night with high Republican hopes." — J.C. 

Dueling gun measures

Update 2:54 p.m. Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms tells Crosscut he's "cautiously optimistic" that his gun rights ballot measure, I-591, which would eliminate state gun background checks until a national standard is set, will pass, but he's worried about being outspent by his rivals — the pro I-594 people — by (according to his estimate) nearly 10-to-1.

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Looking ahead, he says if both measures pass — one banning wider background checks and the other instituting them — the issue will have to be resolved in the state Legislature, not the courts. If I-594 alone passes, however, court might be an option. Gottlieb believes a case can be made that the initiative violates the single subject rule, the state Supreme Court's longstanding prohibition against initiatives dealing with more than one subject. In any case, he  would pressure the Legislature to fix what he thinks are the measure's flaws regarding temporary gun transfers. – K.B.  

The Chopp report

Update: 2:10 p.m. House Speaker Frank Chopp, the Seattle Democrat, has a lot at stake in this election. The least of his worries is probably fending off Socialist Alternative candidate Jess Spear who is running against him in the 43 District. Still, local Socialists are proving to be a potentially potent opposition party in Seattle — more so than the Republicans who are virtually extinct here.

The problem is the reverse outside Seattle: Chopp's House is besieged by the Republicans, and if their election wave proves to be tidal, it could undo much of the work the Speaker has done in carefully building his House majority by finding good, local swing district candidates to move red districts to purple. Chopp's campaign manager, Chris Langeler, says Chopp is spending election day working the Democratic war room and moving around to get out the swing district vote. If the far left is nipping at him in his Seattle district, the right is hoping to take a bite out of Chopp in the suburbs.

The worst case for Chopp and the Democrats  would be to lose their majority. Another: that GOP inroads in the state House get the Republicans within striking distance of a "majority coalition" by finding traitorous Dems willing to form an alliance with Republicans much as Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon did in the state Senate, effectively putting the GOP in control. Chopp is not a man to take elections for granted, especially when it comes to protecting his brood of swing district Dems. — K.B. 

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Final hours: Still time to vote 

Update 1:15 p.m. We are down to the final hours and the Secretary of State's office reminds us all that there is still time to vote. County dropboxes may be the best option at this point: Final pickups are generally right at the 8 p.m. voting deadline. You can also still vote by mail, but it's best to do it in person to be sure that the envelope gets postmarked today. In King County, there are 22 dropboxes or mobile vans where you can deposit your ballot. Full details on voting and locations are here.

Voter participation rates are going to fall short of the projected 62 percent of registered voters. Secretary of State Kim Wyman is now saying turnout will be somewhere in the 50-60 percent range, with this year's ballot initiatives driving less interest than expected.

Wyman's communications director, David Ammons, said that voting apathy in King County appears to be pulling down statewide participation percentages, just as it did during the August primary. As of 11 a.m., only 28.4 percent of King County ballots had been returned, as opposed to 30.6 percent statewide. Ammons noted that turnout seems to be down nationally as well. "That's the story of the hour," he said: "a little bit of gloominess around."

Turnout aside, we'll be following the results closely because there's a lot riding on the outcome.

The tightly-contested control of the state Senate will have a huge bearing on the pace of spending on school improvement, controls on carbon emissions, a transportation package and spending and taxing decisions. Initiatives will determine whether the Legislature has to fund class size reductions immediately and whether or stricter rules on background checks for gun sales are enacted. And Seattle voters get to decide on two competing pre-school improvement measures and a tax-and-fee increase for maintaining and expanding Metro Transit bus service. Oh, what a night. — J.C. 

Contributors to the blog include David Kroman, Cambria Roth, Bill Lucia, Knute Berger, Joe Copeland and Mary Bruon. Photo of voting box courtesy of FutUndBeidl/Flickr. Click here for our complete coverage of Electon 2014.

  

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