A person fills ovals on a ballot. (Photo by King County Elections via Flickr)

With only 13 days to go before the General Election, ballots are officially in the hands of Washington voters. This is your reminder that your ballot is sitting on the kitchen counter. Find it. Fill it out. Mail it in or drop it off by November 8. Here are your ballot boxes in King County, Snohomish County, and Pierce County.

To assist with your voting needs, The Urbanist Election Committee has prepared for you a smorgasbord of endorsements, ranging from the Washington Legislature to King County Prosecutor to Seattle City ballot initiatives. We may have moved past smoke season, but this year’s eye searing and throat clogging start to autumn is a reminder that climate change is here. Vote accordingly.

If you would like an audio version of our endorsements, check out the most recent Urbanist Podcast where you can listen to Hannah Sabio-Howell and Rian Watt school me on the endorsement process and the many intriguing races through the Sound Transit funding area. Subscribe to The Urbanist Podcast on your favorite service, or enjoy the episode here:

Seattle’s Two-Part Ballot Initiative

Just a reminder that Seattle has a ballot initiative to decide the future of voting in the city. The main event will decide between Proposition 1A which is Approval Voting and Proposition 1B which is Ranked Choice Voting. However, there is a preliminary question that asks “Should either of these measures be enacted into law?” Make sure you complete both parts.

Text image showing bubbles filled in next to "Yes" for "Do you support changing Seattle elections?" and "1B Ranked Choice Voting" for "What method do you prefer to adopt in Seattle?"
Vote yes to change Seattle elections and then select option IB for ranked choice voting. (Graphic by RCV 4 Seattle)

The Elections Committee endorses answering “YES” on the first question, and then selecting Proposition 1B – Ranked Choice Voting. As the committee notes, “Ranked-choice voting gives voters the power to voice their actual candidate preferences, rather than just the candidate(s) they’d tolerate.”

Where’d All The Polls Go?

Broadcast television and unprotected YouTube are covered in political advertising, so it doesn’t feel that we are too far from normal in the run up to an election. But there may be a little something missing, and that is independent polls. FiveThirtyEight has an interesting piece about the decrease in polls for smaller races in this off-year election. Their take: the trend in fewer polls is real, is probably because fewer legacy media outlets are commissioning them, and results in a lot of House races having little coverage. In short, the media is spending money on what the analytics say is important, the same analytics that FiveThirtyEight created.

Speaking of legacy media, SurveyUSA polled Washington voter sentiment for The Seattle Times and KING 5 TV in conjunction with the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication. The coverage really highlighted how a majority of Republicans said US democracy is “weakening and may collapse” while the majority of Democrats said it was “holding firm but threatened.” This is echoed fairly predictably when broken down by how folks voted in 2020, education, and region. But deep in the cross tabs, it does show that 24% of urban residents think democracy is “strong and resilient”, one of the highest totals in the table. Cities are engines of optimism, plus all the other good stuff like wealth, medicine, and progress.

Your Urbanist Voter Guide

And for anyone who can use a colorful and concise voters guide, here ya go:

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Article Author

Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.