The news and notes from around town and beyond
The following is from David Ammons, communications director for the Secretary of State.
State Election Director Nick Handy says it appears Washington will easily surpass our turnout prediction of 66 percent, possibly 70 percent or higher. Counties across Washington reported a late surge in ballots being returned and many said they will surpass their pre-election predictions. We have said that 66 percent would be the best midterm election participation since 1970. That number, and the number to beat this year, is 71.85 percent.
Secretary of State Sam Reed says he’s delighted with such enthusiasm by Washington voters.
“There was a clear surge in participation and that’s such a healthy sign for our democracy. Now I hope that citizens will stay engaged in their government, hold officeholders accountable, and encourage our leaders to work collegially and civilly, across the aisle, in the days and months ahead to address the economy and deal with the other problems we all face in this state and country. The campaign season is over; it’s time to govern, and govern effectively.”
Rep. Geoff Simpson’s letter conceding the Position No. 1 47th District state House race.
Though the votes are still being counted, the results are clear. The voters of the 47th district have elected Mark Hargrove to the State House of Representatives and he will serve as their voice in Olympia for the next two years. I congratulate Mark on a hard-fought campaign. He has worked hard and I wish him well with his new responsibilities. I hope his efforts in Olympia result in stronger families, safer neighborhoods, better schools and a reinvigorated economy.
It’s been a tremendous honor to serve in the legislature for the past ten years and as a member of the Covington city council before that. I want to thank my children for the sacrifices they made to allow me to serve the community and state we live in.
I want to thank my campaign staff and so many enthusiastic volunteers for the long hours they put into this campaign and the seven others we have won over the years. Your optimism, courage, vision for the future and willingness to invest effort in that vision are an inspiration to me.
I truly believe that if citizens become and remain engaged in service to others and support the greater good of our collective well-being that our best days are yet to come.
Republican Dino Rossi conceded the race to Sen. Patty Murray following the release of elections results Thursday.
Murray has won a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.
The following is Rossi’s statement
“This evening, I called Senator Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate.
“I ran for the Senate because I believe we need a basic course correction from where Washington, D.C. has been taking us and to make sure this country is as free, as strong and as prosperous in the future as it has been in the past to preserve the best of America for future generations.
“That was a message that found a very receptive audience all across this state, though not quite receptive enough.
“We’re sending at least one new person, maybe two, to Congress to represent Washington State. We elected a host of new people to the state legislature — all on the message of controlling spending and helping the private sector grow, saying no to government overreach and confronting some very difficult challenges in front of us.
You’ve heard me say during this campaign that the problems we face are too big for one political party. They are, and I can say that with absolute certainty.
“It is my hope that the new House and Senate will address them seriously, responsibly, and in a bipartisan way. I hope the President and Senate Democrats will join the new House majority to face these problems head on rather than leaving them for the next Congress or the next generation.
“My hope going forward is that our representatives in Washington, D.C. will be thinking about how an issue affects Bellevue, Bellingham or Bingen, not the D.C. Beltway.
“I hope they will be thinking about the small business owners struggling to stay open and the people that work there who are trying to pay their mortgage and feed their kids. I hope the things that are done in D.C. make it easier for these folks, not harder.
The lesson I leave you with is one we learned as kids: we’re all in this together. If Washington, D.C. doesn’t act to help the economy grow and solve this massive spending and debt, it’s going to hurt us all. It won’t distinguish by political party.
Let me close with one more heartfelt thank you to the people of our state. Thank you for letting me have an honest, straightforward discussion with you about our future.
“God bless you, our country, and this wonderful state we call home.”
Last night, Senator Kauffman conceded the race via Facebook. Her supporters’ comments to her concession show the depth of her impact on many in our community. Elections have winners and losers, but individuals like Senator Kauffman should be thanked and greatly appreciated for their selfless service, and applauded for their authentic desire to improve the lives of all Washingtonians.
It will be a great honor to serve you in the State Senate. As the Senate’s youngest member, I am keenly aware of the growing sense of political cynicism that surrounds my generation – cynicism earned by coming of age in an era of 24-hour cable news, hyper-partisanship, and a retreating sense of civility in our discourse.
Our state faces some tremendous challenges in the years ahead: How do we attract and retain businesses and the jobs they create? How do we improve our public schools? How do we honor our commitments to the least among us with diminishing resources?
Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a monopoly on the correct answer to any of these questions, and I am hopeful of our ability to cooperate in finding solutions.
I share this victory with so many people and I thank you all. Most importantly, I would like to thank my fiancée, Steffanie. She strongly supported my decision to run and generously sacrificed a great deal of time and energy to help me achieve this goal. While spending her evenings sign waving, her weekends doorbelling, and her weekdays succeeding in her new career, Steffanie is an incredible role model for me. I am looking forward to beginning our new life together on December 11, 2010.
Thank you for your vote, your trust, and for this opportunity serve South King County and the people of Washington State.
Sen. Claudia Kauffman’s statement:
Thank you all for your support over the past four years. With the majority of the ballots counted, it appears that I will not be returning to the Washington State Senate for a second term. We fought a hard campaign, but as we’re seeing all across the state and the country, it was a tough election year for incumbent Democrats.
I’m proud of the work I’ve done for the past four years in the Washington State Senate. We’ve made progress in expanding early learning opportunities, so more of our students will be prepared for school. Basic education reform is within reach. We’ve begun to bridge the achievement gap, so all of our students can succeed and graduate from high school. Many local projects are under way, like the Boys and Girls Club at Les Gove Park, improvements on Highway 516 and Highway 169, and planning work on Diesel Multiple Units as a transportation alternative. Improvements to the levee system on the Green River and the repair of the Howard Hanson Dam will keep the valley safer from flooding. It has been an honor to represent the 47th District. I’m always guided by the values that I was raised with—honoring our veterans, our elders, and taking care of our children. I will continue to work for better schools for all our students, and services for our veterans and elders. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers and supporters for your help. Nothing we’ve accomplished in the past 4 years would be possible without you. This has been a truly grassroots campaign. Sen. Claudia Kauffman
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, who predicts the best midterm election turnout in four decades, on Friday said voters are fired up and that counties are expecting a flood of mail-in ballots this weekend.
Reed, who has spent most of his career managing elections at the county and state level, urged voters to “avoid the rush” and return ballots promptly so that there is no doubt about making the Tuesday postmark deadline.
“We welcome every single voter to take part in this very important election, and we want every single properly cast ballot to count,” Reed said. “I urge voters who haven’t returned their ballots yet to read up on the issues and races, and promptly return their ballots, either in the mail or in person at a dropbox or the county elections office.”
Reed predicts that 66 percent of the state’s 3.6 million registered voters, nearly 2.4 million, will take part in this year’s election. That would be the best participation rate since 1970.
“The voters are wide awake and paying attention,” Reed said. “This is being called a `wave’ or `change’ election across the country, and here in Washington, we have a hot Senate race that some pollsters say is too close to call and congressional seats that both parties are targeting. We also have six initiatives and record spending, which fuels a lot of attention and airtime. We have great local elections and legislative and judicial races.
“Top to bottom, it’s a very compelling election.”
Election Director Nick Handy underscored Reed’s point about the ballot measures being a drawing card.
“The ballot measures really reflect the issues of the day,” he said. “They are not on social issues like abortion, drug policy or gay rights, but are focused on economic issues like taxes, jobs and the role of government, the very issues that are on the minds of voters.”
The ballot includes six initiatives to the people, with spending that topped $60 million, and three measures placed on the ballot by the Legislature. Having six initiatives ties the modern record for greatest number in one year, and the combined total of nine ballot measures could be a record.
“We really have asked a lot of our voters this election in terms of doing their homework on so many ballot propositions,” Reed said. “I hope voters avail themselves of the state Voters’ Pamphlet, MyVote, the online and video voters guides, media coverage and other resources.”
Handy and Reed both commented on the avalanche of negative advertising this election cycle, and renewed the call for civility in campaigning and in governing.
“The voters expect and deserve better than they are hearing and seeing this campaign year,” Reed said.
The election season began several weeks ago, when ballots were made available. Nearly all voters will be voting by mail, since 38 of the 39 counties now conduct all elections by mail. A small portion of Pierce County’s electorate, an estimated 28,000 people out of 2.4 million expected voters statewide, will use polling places.
Visit www.vote.wa.gov and county election websites.
Two unions representing captains and court protection marshals in the King County Sheriff’s office have agreed to forgo their cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for next year, as a result of negotiations guided by King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“Each new agreement shows how hard our represented employees are working with our labor team to find ways to preserve services for the public,” said Executive Constantine. “I thank both bargaining units for stepping up and standing with their fellow employees to make this modest but important sacrifice.”
Ratifying agreements are 22 sheriff’s captains in the Puget Sound Police Managers Association, and 26 members of the King County Court Protection Guild.
“Our Association’s members have taken a 0% cost of living increase for 2011 in recognition of these difficult economic times,” said Captain Scott Somers, negotiating team spokesperson for the Puget Sound Police Managers Association. “We look forward to working with Executive Constantine, the Council, and other leaders to provide for the safety and security of the communities we serve.”
“The King County Sheriff’s Office Marshals voted to show our support to Sheriff Rahr, Executive Constantine and the citizens of King County by joining with the other labor groups during our current economic crisis,” said King County Court Protection Guild President Bill Bales.
The two agreements will save $104,000 in the County’s General Fund – $62,000 from the sheriff’s captains and $42,000 from the court protection marshals. As with other COLA waivers, these savings will help offset reductions proposed in the Executive’s 2011 budget for public safety services.
A total of about 6,250 represented employees – or nearly 57 percent of the County’s 11,000 unionized workers – have now agreed or tentatively agreed to waive COLA for next year. More than 13,000 people in all provide King County services to the public.
Altogether these agreements will preserve about $11.4 million in services for 2011. Of that, about $4.4 million of the savings is in the General Fund.
The King County Sheriff’s Office employees join adult and juvenile detention officers, jail correction captains, deputy prosecutors, court support staff, and thousands of other County employees from a wide cross-section of county departments who have tentatively agreed or voted to waive their COLA for next year to preserve services. Those include the Animal Control Officers Guild; marine engineers, captains, and deckhands property appraisers in the Assessor’s office; and employees covered by the Washington State Council of County and City Employees and the King County Coalition of Unions.
Executive Constantine froze the salaries for all of his appointed staff and has been joined by the separately elected officials in putting the same measures in place for their offices.
From the most current Public Disclosure Commission reports (10/20/10), not including U.S. Senate and House spending, which is filed with the FEC.
Legislative Races: $21,541,446/$15,722,734
County and Municipal Races: $4,837,049/$3,756,304
All of the above: $28,728,193/$21,321,042
Initiatives (note attached): $60,236,634/$41,605,231
From Patrick McDonald, assistant to the Secretary of State
2010 Primary Election Turnout by Age and Gender
|Age||Gender||Number of Voters|
|18 – 24 years||Female||27441|
|18 – 24 years||Male||25622|
|18 – 24 years||UnKnown||248|
|18 – 24 years||Total||53311||4%|
|25 – 34 years||Female||49856|
|25 – 34 years||Male||43307|
|25 – 34 years||UnKnown||292|
|25 – 34 years||Total||93455||6%|
|35 – 44 years||Female||79525|
|35 – 44 years||Male||72837|
|35 – 44 years||UnKnown||380|
|35 – 44 years||Total||152742||10%|
|45 – 54 years||Female||147350|
|45 – 54 years||Male||133459|
|45 – 54 years||UnKnown||502|
|45 – 54 years||Total||281311||19%|
|55 – 64 years||Female||202935|
|55 – 64 years||Male||183711|
|55 – 64 years||UnKnown||578|
|55 – 64 years||Total||387224||26%|
|65 and over||Female||264640|
|65 and over||Male||232050|
|65 and over||UnKnown||774|
|65 and over||Total||497464||34%|
|Grand||Total||1465507Bottom of Form|
And here are the 2009 General Election numbers. Here the age distinctions weren’t as great, with roughly 20 percent of each sector of older voters casting ballots. The 45-54 segment actually had the best percentage turnout as an age group.
|18 – 24 years||Female||169998|
|18 – 24 years||Male||151299|
|18 – 24 years||UnKnown||2087|
|18 – 24 years||Total||323384||9%|
|25 – 34 years||Female||292959|
|25 – 34 years||Male||255418|
|25 – 34 years||UnKnown||2474|
|25 – 34 years||Total||550851||15%|
|35 – 44 years||Female||314372|
|35 – 44 years||Male||286796|
|35 – 44 years||UnKnown||2042|
|35 – 44 years||Total||603210||17%|
|45 – 54 years||Female||385575|
|45 – 54 years||Male||353555|
|45 – 54 years||UnKnown||1860|
|45 – 54 years||Total||740990||21%|
|55 – 64 years||Female||351667|
|55 – 64 years||Male||323300|
|55 – 64 years||UnKnown||1396|
|55 – 64 years||Total||676363||19%|
|65 and over||Female||370521|
|65 and over||Male||311350|
|65 and over||UnKnown||1313|
|65 and over||Total||683184||19%|
Voting Systems Specialist
Office of the Secretary of State
(360) 902-4188, Fax (360) 664-4619
PO Box 40229
520 Union Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98504
NOTE: My email address has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Innovative Technology Solutions … because Accuracy, Access and Direct Democracy Matter.
|Voter Registration by Age Group and Gender – as of 9-14-10|
|Age||Gender||Number of Voters|
|18 – 24 years||Female||161664|
|18 – 24 years||Male||148758|
|18 – 24 years||Unknown||1442|
|18 – 24 years||Total||311864||8.80%|
|25 – 34 years||Female||284709|
|25 – 34 years||Male||249510|
|25 – 34 years||Unknown||1943|
|25 – 34 years||Total||536162||15.13%|
|35 – 44 years||Female||305131|
|35 – 44 years||Male||278218|
|35 – 44 years||Unknown||1658|
|35 – 44 years||Total||585007||16.50%|
|45 – 54 years||Female||376411|
|45 – 54 years||Male||345905|
|45 – 54 years||Unknown||1597|
|45 – 54 years||Total||723913||20.42%|
|55 – 64 years||Female||359096|
|55 – 64 years||Male||329874|
|55 – 64 years||Unknown||1240|
|55 – 64 years||Total||690210||19.47%|
|65 and over||Female||377557|
|65 and over||Male||318925|
|65 and over||Unknown||1205|
|65 and over||Total||697687||19.68%|
The following is a press release from the state Attorney General’s office.
Following concerted efforts to prevent unnecessary foreclosures, the Washington Attorney General’s Office and a group of other state attorneys general and banking regulators say they’ve seen improvements in programs designed to help homeowners. But they’re concerned that foreclosures continue to outpace loan modifications, and note that most modifications increase the loan balance.
According to a report issued today by the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group, a multi-state coalition, recent loan modifications are performing better. Modifications can include reduced interest rates and other changes to terms that result in smaller payments and, in some cases, lower outstanding balances.
“Some analysts have predicted redefault rates as high as 75 percent but today’s report paints a brighter picture of the future,” Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “The newer modifications are holding up better, with fewer borrowers redefaulting.”
The report tracks loan modifications made by nine mortgage companies who were servicing 4.6 million loans as of March 2010. Banks, which are regulated by federal agencies, are not included. Compared to loans modified in 2008, borrowers whose loans were modified in 2009 were 40-50 percent less likely to be seriously delinquent six months later.
The Office of Thrift Supervision and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency reported a similar reduction in redefault rates in their Mortgage Metrics Report for the first quarter of 2010. The agencies reported that of the 590,000 modifications made in 2009, nearly 52 percent were current at the end of the first quarter of 2010. Only 27 percent of the modifications implemented during 2008 were current.
McKenna and his office have been leading efforts to help homeowners, including cracking down on unethical lenders and fraudsters, advocating for modifications of mortgages that have become unaffordable, urging changes to bankruptcy rules, and seeking state-federal collaboration on bank regulation. The Washington Attorney General’s Office granted $920,000 of its Countrywide/Bank of America settlement payment for local foreclosure prevention programs that provide counseling and pro bono legal services.
Despite the progress made on the sustainability of the loan modifications being made, McKenna said he’s concerned that 6 out of 10 seriously delinquent borrowers are not getting any help.
McKenna encouraged Washington residents facing foreclosure to call The Washington State Homeownership Information Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME (4663) or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.atg.wa.gov/foreclosure.aspx for additional resources. He cautioned that loan modifications aren’t miracle cures and not every homeowner will qualify.
The majority of loan modifications (89 percent) tracked by the working group for the first quarter of 2010 showed some reduction in payments, and nearly 78 percent lowered the monthly payment by more than 10 percent.
Redefault rates were lower for loan modifications that reduced the principal balance by more than 10 percent. However, only 1 in 5 modifications reduce the loan amount and, in fact, the vast majority increase the balance by adding servicing charges and late payments.
“When housing prices are low, the lender is going to take a loss if that home is foreclosed and surrounding home values will ultimately be impacted,” McKenna said. “The underlying theory of a loan modification is to enable the lender to get the same value out of the home as if it had been foreclosed. The lender still takes a loss through the reduction of interest or principle. But the net result is better for the community and the borrower because, of course, a house is more than just an asset. It’s a home.”
The State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group consists of 12 state attorneys general (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington), bank regulators for New York, North Carolina, and Maryland, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. The group was founded in 2007 and has issued four prior reports, available at www.csbs.org/regulatory/Pages/SFPWG.aspx.