No cost to vote, but million spent to influence it

Check out the numbers behind the November 2019 general election.

  • Friday, November 8, 2019 9:45am
  • Opinion

We’re reaching the end of the 2019 election and there’s a degree of intrigue up and down most ballots.

Today, Nov. 5, we will learn if voters want to revive use of affirmative action in college admissions and hiring of public workers after a long hiatus.

We will also find out if they desired to reduce the cost of tabs and repeal a 2016 voter-approved vehicle tax increase for Sound Transit’s light rail expansion plans.

In Seattle and Spokane, who holds the reins of power is at stake. In Mukilteo, the mayor could be replaced by a paid administrator under a restructuring measure. There’s tons of contests for leadership of counties, cities and school districts.

The most important numbers will be learned tonight when ballots are counted. But, as we near the finish line (this column was written before Nov. 5), here are a few notable numerals of this campaign season.

52 — This is the percentage of voters that did not cast a ballot in the August primary for Megan Dunn, a Democrat, or Anna Rohrbough, a Republican, the two finalists for an open seat on the Snohomish County Council. However, don’t presume most of those voters are now up for grabs. There were six other candidates in the primary. Every one of them was a Democrat.

$10,500 — This is the tally of contributions the Snohomish County Republican Party had doled out to 13 candidates as of Wednesday. Rohrbough received the most, $2,500, with Adam Fortney, who is running for sheriff, next highest at $2,000. Across the aisle, the Snohomish County Democratic Party had spread a total of $4,000 among 11 candidates including two sitting judges. Dunn and Ty Trenary, who is seeking re-election as sheriff, each received the largest checks of $750.

$220,301 — This is the sum of donations raked in by the Snohomish County GOP this year, according to state records. It’s roughly seven times more than the reported total of their Democratic counterparts. And the Republicans still had $90,000 on hand as of Wednesday compared to Democrats’ $7,000. Quite an advantage heading into 2020.

$1.45 million — This is the amount Amazon has invested into the effort to remake the Seattle City Council. Its checks went to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy PAC which is working diligently to elect candidates with friendlier dispositions toward the business sector.

$4.4 million — This is what Keep Washington Rolling has shelled out trying to convince voters that Initiative 976 — Tim Eyman’s $30 car tab measure — is a bad idea. The PAC has yet to reach its final spending plateau. Will any amount be enough? Twice before voters passed initiatives to lower the cost of those tabs. Eyman sweetened the pot by letting voters extract a little revenge on Sound Transit. There are folks convinced the transit authority deceived them on the calculation of those fees and it’s payback time.

$0 — This is how much it costs to mail in ballots. Yep, no postage is required as the state intends to cover the tab. Ballots must have been postmarked no later than Nov. 5 to be counted. Lots of voters mess this up every election. Another option is to place your ballot in one of those designated drop boxes — there are 23 in Snohomish County and six in Island County — which were open 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.


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