Ballot in Review: November 4, 2022 - with Mike McGinn, Shannon Cheng, and Bryce Cannatelli
Manage episode 346270320 series 2950091
With Election Day looming and ballots due in a few days, this week’s show is a Ballot-In-Review! Crystal is joined by perennial favorite Mike McGinn along with the rest of the Hacks & Wonks team - Bryce Cannatelli and Shannon Cheng - to discuss the recent political climate, break down the context of down-ballot races and why your vote matters. Listen in as the crew opens their ballots and thinks their way through the important choices in front of them.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Follow us on Twitter at @HacksWonks. Find the host, Crystal Fincher, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find today’s ballot party attendees: Mike McGinn at @mayormcginn, Bryce Cannatelli at @inascenttweets, and Shannon Cheng at @drbestturtle. More info is available at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Washington State Advisory Votes - 05:57
King County Charter Amendment 1 and Proposition 1 - 08:25
Federal Races - 16:54
Washington Congressional Races - 18:00
Secretary of State - 32:00
Washington State Legislature Races - 33:13
- LD26 - 33:27
- LD47 - 35:30
- LD42 - 36:57
- LD30 - 38:09
- LD44 - 38:22
- LD46 - 38:55
- LD36 - 39:45
- LD37 - 39:56
- LD34 - 41:05
King County Prosecuting Attorney - 41:32
City of Seattle Municipal Court - 52:40
City of Seattle Proposition Nos. 1A and 1B - 1:01:48
Don't forget to vote! Visit votewa.gov for voting resources.
Institute for a Democratic Future 2023 applications are live! The initial deadline is November 2nd, and the final deadline is November 13th.
Learn more about how to get involved in Seattle's budget season at this link and about King County’s budget timeline here.
Student debt relief sign-ups are live! Visit this link to enroll.
Washington State Advisory Votes:
“Tim Eyman’s legacy of advisory votes on taxes hits WA ballots again” by David Kroman from The Seattle Times
King County Charter Amendment 1 and Proposition 1:
“King County considers moving most elections to even years” by Joseph O’Sullivan from Crosscut
King County Proposition No. 1 - Conservation Futures Levy
Washington Congressional Races:
“Congressional candidate Joe Kent wants to rewrite history of Jan. 6 attack” by Jim Brunner from The Seattle Times
Straight Talk bonus round: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Joe Kent from KGW News
“Rep. Schrier, challenger Matt Larkin clash in debate over who’s extreme” by Jim Brunner from The Seattle Times
Secretary of State:
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Julie Anderson, Candidate for Washington Secretary of State
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Steve Hobbs, Candidate for Washington Secretary of State
Hacks & Wonks - Secretary of State audiograms - Addressing Democratic criticism of Julie Anderson
Hacks & Wonks - Secretary of State audiograms - Thoughts on Ranked Choice Voting
Hacks & Wonks - Secretary of State audiograms - Experience to manage the broad portfolio of the SoS office
Washington State Legislature Races:
“New ad highlights Washington candidate’s past behavior against staffers” by Shauna Sowersby from The News Tribune
Sign up to volunteer for Emily Randall’s campaign here on her website.
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Claudia Kauffman, Candidate for 47th LD State Senator
“Boyce, Kauffman vie for WA senate in swing district with Kent, Auburn” by Daniel Beekman from The Seattle Times
“Sefzik-Shewmake forum highlights abortion, health care” by Ralph Schwartz from Cascadia Daily News
Hacks & Wonks Interview - April Berg, Candidate for 44th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Darya Farivar, Candidate for 46th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Jeff Manson, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Julia Reed, Candidate for 36th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Emijah Smith, Candidate for 37th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Chipalo Street, Candidate for 37th LD State Representative
South Seattle Emerald 37th LD Candidate Forum
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Emily Alvarado, Candidate for 34th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Leah Griffin, Candidate for 34th LD State Representative
Hacks & Wonks Elections 2022 Resource Page
King County Prosecuting Attorney:
"PubliCola Questions: King County Prosecuting Attorney Candidate Leesa Manion" by Erica C. Barnett from PubliCola
"PubiCola Questions: King County Prosecuting Attorney Candidate Jim Ferrell" by Erica C. Barnett from PubliCola
"Leesa Manion, Jim Ferrell tied in the 2022 contest for King County Prosecuting Attorney" by Andrew Villeneuve from The Cascadia Advocate
"Leesa Manion Holds Razor-Thin Lead in King County Prosecutor Race, NPI Poll Finds" by Douglas Trumm from The Urbanist
Washington Supreme Court:
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu
Hacks & Wonks Interview - Washington Supreme Court Justice G. Helen Whitener
City of Seattle Municipal Court:
Hacks & Wonks City of Seattle Municipal Court Judge Candidate Forum
"Defense Attorneys Say Harsh Sentencing Decision Reveals Judge's Bias" by Will Casey from The Stranger
City of Seattle Proposition Nos. 1A and 1B:
City of Seattle - Proposition Nos. 1A and 1B
Ranked Choice Voting vs. Approval Voting from FairVote
The Stranger - City of Seattle Propositions Nos. 1A and 1B
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I am Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant - a busy one - and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full text transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Today, we are continuing our Friday almost-live shows where we review the news of the week with a co-host - and we're adding a little twist. So first, we want to welcome back to the program, friend of the show and today's co-host: activist, community leader, former mayor of Seattle, and Executive Director of America Walks, the popular Mike McGinn. Welcome back.
[00:01:03] Mike McGinn: Not quite popular enough - Crystal - you have to acknowledge that, but I think we need to go to the other guests on the show today.
[00:01:12] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, so we're coming with you with a full Hacks & Wonks crew today. We have the incredible Bryce Cannatelli, who coordinates everything with the show and holds it down. Pleased to have her with us today. Hey, Bryce.
[00:01:29] Bryce Cannatelli: Hey, Crystal.
[00:01:30] Crystal Fincher: And we have Dr. Shannon Cheng, who is here to enlighten us also with her wisdom and insight, along with Bryce. Hey, Shannon.
[00:01:39] Shannon Cheng: Hey, Crystal - super excited to be here.
[00:01:42] Crystal Fincher: You could probably hear the sarcasm in that - but this is going to be fun. We are having a Hacks & Wonks little ballot party - we thought it may be helpful - because we talk about several things on the ballot, we talk about several races. But a lot of times we open up the ballot and there are things on there that we haven't seen, haven't heard of, and are trying to figure out. So we thought we would all just open up the ballots, go through them together - some of us in this call are later-voting people because we like receiving all of the voter communication until the last minute, so we haven't turned them in - but we encourage everyone to turn in their ballots as soon as possible. As we go through this ballot, we will add timestamps and let you know when we discuss the different areas of the ballot. So if you have a particular question about a particular area, you can just go to that portion in the show and figure out that, because we actually have taken some time to discuss what is in this ballot and on this ballot. So good luck. Make sure you get your ballot in. If you can't find it, if something happens to it, if you have questions, votewa.gov, V-O-T-E-W-A.gov is a resource. Or hey, just @ the show @HacksWonks to reply to us and we will try and chase down any answers to questions that you have. So vote, make sure everyone you know votes. This is really important and a lot is at stake locally and nationally. And what we do locally is going to dictate what happens nationally.
And with that, I will give a few reminders today. And yeah, number one is vote. Don't forget to vote. The election - Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. You can go to votewa.gov, that's V-O-T-E-W-A.gov to get all of the information about voting. If something has gone haywire, if you can't find your ballot, if you're not sure what you need to do, if you need information about accessible voting, or if you need to figure out about how to register to vote - which you still can do in person if you haven't registered to vote or changed your address or anything like that - go to votewa.gov and you can get all that figured out.
Also, the Institute for a Democratic Future is accepting applications for this coming year's new class. The deadline is November 13th and so make sure to get those in there. I've talked about this before on the show, the Institute for a Democratic Future is great for people who lean left and who want to learn about making a difference in their community, who want to learn about politics and policy, or potentially even having a career - it's responsible for my career in politics. So if you want to learn more about that, feel free to hit me up or visit the website, which we'll link in the show notes.
Also, it is budget season around the state - and including in Seattle - and so we're going to include resources for the Seattle budget process as well as King County in our show notes, so stay tuned with that and make sure that you get involved in making your priorities and needs known to your elected officials who are allocating money for the next year or two there.
Student debt relief - signing up is happening now. Don't forget to do that. Don't wait to do that. We'll put a link to that in the show notes.
And Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday at 2 a.m. We're falling an hour back. We're moving into darkness in dismay and it's a very sad time for some of us here at Hacks & Wonks who like the extra sunshine in the evening. So here we go into the dark months of winter.
[00:05:31] Mike McGinn: But Hacks & Wonks will be on every week to bring some sunshine into your life.
[00:05:37] Crystal Fincher: We will try. We will try.
[00:05:40] Mike McGinn: Stay tuned in on a regular basis. Yeah.
[00:05:43] Crystal Fincher: So let's open up our ballots, crew. Let's see what we have here and start to talk through - for those of you who still have to vote - some things that may be useful, helpful.
So the first things we see on this ballot that we've opened up are Advisory Votes. Man, these Advisory Votes on every freaking ballot. We have two Advisory Votes here. How did we get into this Advisory Vote situation, Mike? What is this going on?
[00:06:15] Mike McGinn: This was part of the Tim Eyman Full Employment Act where he was trying to find yet another ballot measure to put in front of the people. So what this one does - it is passed by the people - and basically they have the opportunity to have a second opinion on every tax that's passed by the Legislature. So that's why you always have all these Advisory Votes at the top. But everybody approves to-date, the public approves the votes that are passed by the Legislature. It's why we elect people, send them to the Legislature. It's really just turned into extra space on the ballot, which costs money and makes the ballot a little longer. And so we could all save a little space on the ballot if the Legislature changed this. In the meantime, don't upset that budget that your Legislature worked to craft - just vote to approve.
[00:07:08] Crystal Fincher: I completely agree with that. I cannot wait until we get to the time where we get the opportunity to repeal this. It makes our ballot longer. It confuses people. This is just anytime there is basically revenue passed, it has to appear as an Advisory Vote, which does not have any force of law. It doesn't actually do anything. It is basically a poll about something that has already happened. So yes, vote to approve. But also I would really like a movement to vote to eliminate these Advisory Votes. One thing it does is it makes the ballot longer, which is not pleasant for a lot of people. What do you think, Bryce?
[00:07:49] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I wanted to hop in just to say that the choices are Repealed and Maintained. And so the suggestions to vote to approve them are to Maintain them as the maintain option. But yeah, no, I definitely agree. We've talked about it in past shows. We talk about it off the air. Getting people to vote down-ballot is always a challenge. And these Advisory Votes just get in the way of that. I think we'll have more to talk about when we get to the Proposition Nos. 1A and 1B question on the back of the ballot about what length might do to people answering those questions.
[00:08:25] Crystal Fincher: All right. So we are here in King County. We all have King County ballots. The next thing I see on my ballot - I think you probably see the next thing on yours - as we travel down from the Advisory Votes, is actually King County, a County Charter Amendment. Charter Amendment No. 1 - even-numbered election years for certain county offices. Question: Shall the King County Charter be amended to move elections for the county offices of Executive, Assessor, Director of Elections, and Councilmembers from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years? Why is it important to move from odd-numbered to even-numbered years according to the advocates for this charter amendment, Mike?
[00:09:10] Mike McGinn: The single most important thing you can do to improve voter turnout. When you look at election results in the state of Washington, Oregon, anywhere else around the country, so many more people turn out in an even year because you also have congressional elections or presidential elections. It's just a more momentous ballot than the odd year elections. And so if you think people should vote more, if you think democracy is a good thing, moving it to an even year is great. The county has the option to do that. Cities can't just do it on their own - they need a change in state law. Representative Mia Gregerson has been pushing for that and others have pushed for it. In addition to getting more people to vote, it also really improves the demographics of the ballot. We're getting more young people, more people of color, more immigrant refugees - who are here and can legally vote. We're just getting so many more people voting that we're getting a more representative ballot. So I've been a big proponent of this. You just get a different electorate. You get a better, more representative electorate. And if what you care about, and I do, is more affordable housing - if you get an older, more conservative electorate, they're going to oppose new housing and they're going to oppose new taxes for affordable housing. They're going to be more likely to say, keep the car lane and don't make it easier to walk or bike or use transit. So we need to get an electorate and get elections in even years where we have an electorate that more reflects where we need to go. And hearing from more people, if you believe in democracy, it's great. So big kudos to King County Council for - and Girmay Zahilay, in particular - for championing this. And hopefully we can move all the elections to even years. By the way, we'll save some money too. We'll have fewer elections that the elections offices have to step up for.
[00:11:15] Crystal Fincher: I'd love to see it. What do you think about it, Dr. Cheng?
[00:11:18] Shannon Cheng: I'm really excited. We talk a lot about - on this show - about how local elections really matter and that local government is really where you feel the actual changes and impacts in people's day-to-day lives. And so having some of more of our local elections in a year where more people are going to be paying attention to it, I think it will be super helpful. I know I talked to somebody recently who felt like they were in Washington state and so their vote didn't matter. And, we're going to get to these other races. And I was trying to tell them, no, we have things on our ballot that really do matter, like the King County Prosecutor and judges and all that. And I think just combining it in a way where people are going to be paying more attention to these things that really matter in their lives will be super helpful.
[00:12:03] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Well said - I agree. Next up on the ballot for King County is Proposition No. 1, the Conservation Futures Levy. So the King County Council passed Ordinance 19-458 concerning funding to protect open space lands in King County. The proposition would provide funding to pay, finance, or refinance acquisition and preservation of urban green spaces, natural areas, wildlife, and some salmon habitat, trails, river corridors, farmlands, and forests. And would reauthorize restoration of the county's Conservation Futures property tax to levy a rate that will be assessed for collection in 2023 and use the dollar amount from 2023 for the purpose of computing subsequent levy collections. So should this be approved or rejected?
There are some really compelling statements about this, but this is really important for protecting open space lands in King County. There have been lots of conversations just about the preservation of land, the preservation of open and undeveloped land, and how important that is. These are conversations related to sprawl, related to just air quality, related to just people having the opportunity to recreate near where they live and not selling or developing all available land and the consequences that potentially come from that. So it is important, I think, widely acknowledged as important from people all across the aisle. It's important to maintain all of this. I see a statement submitted by Sally Jewell, who I believe is a former CEO of REI and served in a presidential administration, and De'Sean Quinn, who is a Tukwila City Council member, as well as Dow Constantine. And really, we have to take this action to protect climate change, to protect these last best places throughout King County. So far, this program has safeguarded over 100,000 acres of land, including Cougar Mountain, the Duwamish Waterway Park, and Sammamish River Trail. And they can accelerate that with this proposition.
Statement in opposition to it really basically says that, hey, parks are having challenges being maintained, and we've already done enough. I don't know that there's a lot of people here in King County feeling that we've done enough to address climate change or that we've done enough to protect local land. Protecting farms and fresh water, and open space seems like a priority to so many people in this area - and what makes this area so desirable to the people living here and those who visit and eventually come here. What do you think about this, Mike?
[00:15:08] Mike McGinn: It's a parks levy. I'm for parks levies, generally. I actually got to run one once, and it was just great. And there's so much more in it than you might think. And if we talk about community - that to me is ultimately what this is about. There's clearly the environmental protection, but that's the quality of life and the community gathering places as well. So yeah, and it's a renewal. It's an expansion and a renewal of an existing levy. And I think every time you get to go to a great county facility, you just have to remember that the money came from somewhere, and this is where it comes from. They really have to pass these levies to make it work, given the way finances work for county and municipal governments.
[00:15:54] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. And so this will cost the average homeowner about $2 more per month. There is relief available to qualified low-income seniors and other households. And the funding recommendations are made by an independent advisory committee and subject to external audit. So it's not just, hey, willy-nilly stuff happening here. There is accountability and oversight - looks like it is endorsed by the Nature Conservancy, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust for Public Land, the Wilderness Society, Seattle Parks Foundation, REI, Dow Constantine and council members - just a lot of support there. I find those arguments to be particularly convincing. But this is an important one that's flown under the radar for a number of people, I think. I've gotten a lot of questions from people saying, whoa, what should I do with these county amendments and this proposition? And so just wanted to make sure that we went through that.
Next on my ballot are the federal races, which have gotten a ton of coverage. I think if you listen to the show, odds are you probably know if you're going to be voting for Senator Patty Murray or her challenger, Tiffany Smiley, but that is at the top of the ballot right now. Do any of you have anything to chime in with about this race?
[00:17:22] Mike McGinn: It's really fascinating to watch how this race is starting to become part of a national narrative about whether or not there's a red wave - going to hit the federal elections. And then there's some counterarguments. And we could pundit all afternoon on this one. And I'm sure a lot of you, if you're politically oriented, have really been watching the national news about what will happen in Congress. Will the Senate remain Democratic or will it turn Republican? Is the House going to flip? Most pundits say it will flip to Republican control, but there are still some folks out there holding hope that it might not. So I think the real message just is - if you cared about the national scene, you have an opportunity to play locally too. There's a Senate election in the state of Washington as well.
[00:18:15] Crystal Fincher: All right. And next up on people's ballots - is going to vary based on where we live. It's going to be the congressional races. So I actually live in the Ninth Congressional District. We have a very competitive Eighth Congressional District race between Kim Schrier and Matt Larkin. Kim Schrier, the Democrat, Matt Larkin, the Republican. We have other races. Who's on your ballots? What congressional districts are you in?
[00:18:43] Mike McGinn: I've got Seven, which is Pramila Jayapal and Cliff Moon.
[00:18:46] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think all three of you are in Seven there. Those races are a bit less competitive. I think two of the most competitive races here are going to be Kim Schrier versus Matt Larkin. And then down in southwest Washington, actually - in the Third Congressional District - between Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and extremist Republican, MAGA Republican Joe Kent, who is just... It's hard to do justice to him by describing him because I've tried to do it and then I've been like, okay, I can't do this. Here, watch this clip of him and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in this sit-down with a reporter, just answering questions. And it is wild. He does not think January 6th happened in the way we all saw it happened with our eyes. He thinks that it was a CIA false flag operation. He doesn't think that police officers were killed as a result of that. He's deep into conspiracy theories, deep into the election denial of the 2020 election. Just deep into so many things - eager to cut social security, eager to cut so many things, eager to defund Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia, eager to do all sorts of things at the border. This is someone who eagerly and has multiple times appeared on Tucker Carlson. This is not Jaime Herrera Beutler. This is not the type of Republican that people are used to seeing in this district, or even as people think about Republicans in this country now - even the more extreme version that people are getting familiar with. This is the tip of the spear of the most extreme. He models himself after Marjorie Taylor Greene, says he looks up to her and wants to do that, does not want to work across the aisle, doesn't see a point to it. Rarely does media outside of the conservative bubble, does not want to debate Marie Gluesenkamp Perez. This is a race where a lot is at stake. Jim Brunner just wrote an article about it this morning in The Seattle Times. Actually, he shared it - I'm not sure if he wrote it. But this is an important one for people to get engaged in. We've talked about the importance of - even if you don't live in a district, hey, why don't you adopt a district, make some phone calls, do some phone banking, get down there and canvass - do what you can. Don't let this slip away without doing everything possible. The Third Congressional District is traditionally a Republican district, but it's traditionally a Republican district that has elected Republicans like Jaime Herrera Beutler, who were nowhere near as extreme as Joe Kent. This is a closer race than we've seen there in quite some time. If enough people get involved and if enough people get engaged, who knows what could happen? Democrats seem energized down there. This is one where - don't let it go by without everyone pitching in and doing what they can to engage in that race. Any thoughts that you have on that one?
[00:22:10] Mike McGinn: This race, yeah, it does highlight just where the Republican Party has been going. I think you see some of this in the Murray-Smiley race as well. I've been really impressed by the campaigning of the Democrat in the race and the way in which she's approaching the race. This is a district that is - it's a swing district, but it's a lean-R swing district, if that makes sense. It has the Portland suburbs, but it also has more rural areas as well. Yeah, maybe this - if this were on the East Coast, people would be looking at this as a bellwether of which way the trend is going in national politics. Who knows? Maybe we'll be able to tell a little bit from the East Coast about how this race might work out by the time they start announcing results from this coast. But really, I think the D in this race - she's run a really solid race, speaking directly to people's economic concerns as a small business owner as well.
And there's this thing where reporters want to talk about partisanship or polarized politics or divisiveness. And yeah, I would say the electorate is polarized - there are a hell of a lot of folks nationwide who are going to pull the lever for candidates because they want to see Republicans have charge of the chamber, regardless of the shortcomings of the local candidate. It's a really fascinating phenomenon that's going on. But I'm going to make an argument that it's - the Democrats look a lot like candidates I've seen in the past running. And the Republicans don't, in my mind, in terms of the extremism that we start to see on whether or not the election was stolen. The number of election deniers that are out there for the last election - there's just no credible evidence that there was any voter fraud. It went in front of numerous, numerous courts. It went in front of judges appointed by Republicans and Democrats. There's just no evidence for this. And I don't know that the media knows how to handle this - that when you have one side that just denies reality and the other side is still operating mostly within the frame of U.S. politics, as I've seen it in the years I've been involved in U.S. politics, but they both-sides it so much. And I think this raises a great illustration of that. The Democrat is really a right down the middle-of-the-road type of politician, and the Republican here is espousing things that just aren't so, and it's one hell of a tight race down there, according to all the polls. And portraying this as Americans are divided or the politicians are polarizing doesn't capture what's going on.
[00:25:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that is a good point. What do you think, Bryce?
[00:25:23] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I just wanted to weave back in something that Shannon mentioned earlier, which is that there are still people who live here and who vote here, who think that they live in Washington - they live in Western Washington - they're pretty safe from things. And I think this race is an important reminder that there are people running with these extreme views. There are these people running here in the state with really far-right priorities and goals. And this is a federal race, so it's gotten a lot of media attention, but it just highlights how important it is to pay attention to local races as well - races that for the State House and for State Senate and other positions - and just pay attention to what people are running on and making sure when we see people coming with extreme and dangerous views, that that's called out, that we let people know. Election Day is still in a few days. There's still opportunities to inform voters in this district about the candidates. There are still opportunities for voters who are really worried about rhetoric like this and candidates like this to get out there and talk to voters and inform them about this race.
[00:26:32] Crystal Fincher: This conversation reminds me of one other thing, and actually was having a conversation about this as we were punditing on Kiro the other day. And there are some Republicans who are going - well, they're calling everybody extreme. Yeah, they're calling Joe Kent extreme, but they're also calling Tiffany Smiley extreme. And they're not the same extreme, but they're painting them with the same brush - you're hearing that for everybody, all the Republicans. If you say it about everybody, it's meaningless. And the challenge is, and the thing that the Republican Party has set up, is that they do have these extremists who are out further than a lot of the other Republicans that are elected, at least outwardly, right? And saying things that have been openly covered as white nationalism, Christian nationalism, that have been anti-Semitic, that have been racist, that have been homophobic, anti-trans, anti-gay - just very openly blatant right? And that is absolutely extreme. And no, not every Republican is outwardly openly saying that. They leave that to the Joe Kents and the Marjorie Taylor Greenes. But what is striking to me is how they have not been reined in by the people who have previously been considered as moderate and have previously been considered as the adults in the room. Those adults in the room are doing nothing to contain that extremist element in the party, and in fact, have given them more power, more visibility. The Republican Party, all of their caucuses have pumped money into these campaigns. Their allied PACs and supporters have pumped money into these campaigns and have been apologists for them. So if you will not rebuke when you hear those things said, if you will not stand up and say, you know what, I'm standing for these principles, and that person is not doing that, and we're both carrying the same label - I don't want to carry the same label as a person who is saying that - that is not what I stand for. We're not standing shoulder to shoulder. We're hearing none of that. We're hearing silence. And there are some people who want to interpret that silence as, well, clearly they don't agree. And when I talk to them, they sound perfectly reasonable, and they've been moderate in the past. We're hearing some of the most troubling things that we have in a while. Just the open anti-Semitism, the open racism, the open homophobia and transphobia that we're seeing is alarming. They're passing laws against it. This is not theoretical language. And we're seeing political violence as a direct result. That, of course, was predicted, right? When we hear speech like that, it incites violence. We have talked about it inciting violence, and it incited violence in multiple places, in multiple ways. And we've seen that just in the past couple of weeks - from January 6th to Nancy Pelosi to the Michigan governor - we're seeing this all over the place, right? And so silence is enabling violence. Silence is not moderation. It's enabling this extremism and violence. So yes, when you hear them all being painted with the same broad brush, it's because they're doing nothing to stop this rapid descent into this cesspool that we're on the precipice of, and that some states have already fallen to, right? It's important to vocally stand up against this, against hate, whenever we see it. And that's not a partisan statement.
And if a party is trying to say that when you say that you need to call out violence, that you need to call out political violence, that you need to stand up and talk against anti-Semitism and call it what it is, and somehow they're putting a partisan label on that, be very wary of a party that says that speaking against those things is speaking against their party. They're telling you what the party is about if those things they're labeling as a partisan attack. I think that's very important to be said. This is so far beyond a Democratic and Republican issue, and we have to be aware that these Republicans are caucusing together, right? They're voting together for a national agenda, and we've heard this national agenda articulated. We've heard the things that they're queuing up. We've seen the types of policies that they're passing in places like Florida and Texas. We have the preview of what's coming there, and it is ugly, right? And ugly to people who used to consider themselves Republican. So to me, this is beyond the conversation of just Democrat and Republican. This is a conversation that we have to have before we even get to issues, because if we're leading with that hateful rhetoric and we're leading with that extremism, it really doesn't matter what someone is saying about issues, because the things that they are saying about people in their community is already excluding people and already doing that. I think that's extremely important to say, that we can't say that enough, and that trying to dismiss this extremism, and dismiss criticisms of it, and dismiss the refusal to call it out for what it is - is extremism itself.
All right. So next on our ballot, we have the state races, starting with Secretary of State, which is a lively race. Now, we have talked a bunch about the Secretary of State race, and have also been posting a lot about it on the Hacks & Wonks Twitter account this week. So for that, between Democrat Steve Hobbs and Non-partisan Julie Anderson, we're going to refer you to those other shows. We'll put links in the show notes. We'll put links to the little audiograms and snippets that we have of the candidates' takes on different things. Steve Hobbs was a longtime Democratic senator known as a moderate for quite some time - and Julie Anderson actually just released a new ad that talks about that and him as a moderate. And then Julie Anderson has been the Pierce County auditor in Pierce County for 12 years, I believe now, and has built relationships around that area. So that's an interesting race to follow. We'll put those links in there, but that's the next one on the ballot.
And then we get into the legislative races, which are going to be different depending on which legislative district that you're in. I just wanted to mention a few of the battleground districts here in the state. So one of them is in the 26th Legislative District Senate race - very important - between Emily Randall, Senator Emily Randall, and current Representative Jesse Young, who's running for that Senate seat. Emily's a Democrat with a strong record and has been representing that community and been in the community for quite some time. Jesse Young is one of the more extreme Republicans in our legislature, has - in the mold of the Matt Sheas, who made a lot of news for his activity in domestic terrorism. And if you think that sounds like a euphemism or like a stretch of the truth, I mean literal domestic terrorism like running a camp training people for war and putting tracking devices on law enforcement vehicles, and making threats to political opponents - extremism - and advancing bills to outlaw abortion in Washington state under threat of putting doctors in prison - that kind of extremism. And Jesse Young, as we talked about last week with Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young, has actually been suspended from working with legislative staff because of his past behavior and harassment or abuse. He is no longer permitted to have legislative staff, which is certainly hobbling in one's ability to get their job done. They lean very heavily on those staff. And so not being allowed to have one and having to do or not get done all of the administrative work, preparation work, ability to meet with constituents, ability to review and prepare legislation and represent the community is absolutely hobbled by that. But that is actually a really close race. Another one where it makes sense if you can adopt a race, that 26th Legislative District is a really important one where people can get involved with and make their voices heard.
Also, the 47th Legislative District is a hotbed of activity - a competitive Senate race there - open seat left by the exiting Senator Mona Das and is being competed for by former State Senator, Democrat Claudia Kauffman and Republican Bill Boyce. This has been a purple district, a swing district, has elected both Democrats and Republicans. This district has a history of extremely close races. And so we have a race here where we're seeing some of the dynamics that we see in Democrat versus Republican races. Choice is a huge issue here. Bill Boyce - being bankrolled by far-right Republicans - has been giving really mushy responses about what he thinks about a woman's right to choose. And so that is certainly on the ballot, as well as just the history of corporate giveaways, tax - as was quoted in the paper - tax breaks and sweetheart deals given to rich developers and donors. And so certainly looking at the donor rolls there, you get a different story of who those legislators would be based on the activity there. So another very important partisan race.
42nd Legislative District, a very competitive race between Sharon Shewmake and Simon Sefzik - another Democrat versus Republican race - very important here for the Senate and just a variety of things. And again, we're seeing just greater space between the two parties. Here in the state, we, I think, have seen Republicans who have considered themselves moderate and who have been less eager to engage in some of the social wedge issue rhetoric that sometimes we see on a national basis. There have been Republicans who wore it as a badge of honor previously to say, no, that's not me. I'm focused on these other issues, but stand up. And whether it's being pro-choice, whether it is standing up for marriage equality. There have been some before here who have done that, some who haven't, but some who have. We are not seeing that now. Things are following the direction of some of the national races. And so we have that there.
30th Legislative District with Claire Wilson and Linda Kochmar, as well as the race between Jamila Taylor and Casey Jones are close - and so engaging in those is important. And then the 44th Legislative District with John Lovick, the Democrat who was previously a representative, currently a representative, now running to be a Senator, against Republican Jeb Brewer. Republican Mark Hamsworth for the House seat versus Brandy Donaghy, who was appointed to that seat and is running to fill the term, this new term. And then April Berg versus her Republican opponent. So pay attention to those races. Please make sure that you're engaging in these battlegrounds.
And then we also have just Seattle races and - that we've covered. So in the 46th Legislative District, we have a classic Seattle moderate versus progressive race. Even though those, when you get into it, the labels might be a little bit simplistic, but certainly someone who seems more resistant to taxation, more resistant to change in Lelach Rave versus Darya Faravar, who wants to take more of an active approach in addressing issues like homelessness, housing affordability, and public safety - and move more in the direction of things that we've seen with the history of working versus those that have not. So that's a choice that we have there. We also have previously interviewed Darya, and so we'll link that in the show notes for your information.
The 36th Legislative District features a race between Democrats Julia Reed and Jeff Manson. We've also interviewed both in that race. And we'll link that in the show notes.
The 37th Legislative District is one where we did a primary candidate forum, have interviewed both of those candidates there - Democrat Chipalo Street and Democrat Emijah Smith. And we also did a debate in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald and others - hosted by the South Seattle Emerald - an in-person debate, actually. And we will link those there. I think that there are some interesting issues in that race, notable differences. We will also share kind of the lightning round stuff. But also, hey let's make sure that we're recognizing the full humanity of people and that we are not treating people who are in the LGBTQ community any differently than others. And that is an issue of difference in that race. So I encourage you all to do your homework about that and make sure that any candidate that you're voting for fully stands up for the rights of all people in our community. And that you communicate with the candidates about that and make sure all of your candidates know how important that is to you.
And then we have the 34th Legislative District with Democrats Leah Griffin and Emily Alvarado. We've interviewed both of them. We'll link both of those shows in the show notes. So there are contested races throughout Seattle. Encourage you to vote in those races and make your choice. If you need help, refer to our show notes or to officialhacksandwonks.com. We have an Election 2022 page there and we'll put all of the resources on there.
Next, we go to the County Prosecuting Attorney's race here in King County, that is between Jim Ferrell, who is the mayor of Federal Way, and Leesa Manion, who's the current Chief of Staff in the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Jim Ferrell has been endorsed by folks like the King County Republican Party, some mayors, King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer, like the Covington and Algona mayor. Leesa Manion has been endorsed by the King County Democratic party, former governor Gary Locke, local labor unions. So there's a little bit of a difference in the profile of their supporters that kind of indicates the approach that they're looking to take. One, being more in line with some of the data that we're seeing in the most effective approaches to addressing crime and accountability - that has yielded some results in what we've seen, especially with youth crime and youth intervention, which seems to be particularly effective with Leesa Manion and her managing this office and hundreds of staff and attorney, which is certainly in line with what the County Prosecuting Attorney needs to do. Jim Ferrell, coming from the mayor of Federal Way, has talked about more of a punitive approach to this and is talking about cracking down on some of the things that we have been seeing as successful. It's interesting in how this race is shaping up and what the candidates are talking about and what they aren't talking about with them. Certainly Leesa has been leaning into her experience, the type of coalition that she's building, whether it's people who are in support of more common sense gun reform and making sure guns don't proliferate on the streets, to those who are looking to maintain accountability but make sure that we're doing the things that give folks the best chance of reducing recidivism, or people returning, or revictimizing people who are committing further crimes. Jim Ferrell seems very focused on trying to apply longer sentences, lengthier sentences, talking about a more, again, punitive approach, prosecuting more, longer sentences - that type of stuff. So with that, what do you think? What is your take on this race, Shannon?
[00:44:01] Shannon Cheng: So this race is between Leesa Manion, who's the current Chief of Staff for the outgoing King County Prosecutor, Dan Satterberg - she's been in that position for quite a time. And her opponent is Jim Ferrell, who is the current mayor of Federal Way. So when I look at this race, I see - with Leesa Manion who - it's a continuation of what King County has been doing, which I would characterize as incremental reform of the criminal legal system to be more fair and equitable. I think this can be embodied in initiatives they aspire to, such as declaring racism as a public health crisis or the goal of Zero Youth Detention. So I think with Manion, you will get a continuation of the slow work that the county is doing to try to make our criminal legal system more equitable and fair. Whereas with Ferrell, I see this as a candidate who's trying to throw us back to punitive tactics that have been proven to be ineffective. He wants to be more tough-on-crime and is riding this wave of Republicans pointing to crime as being the reason not to support the Democratic candidate. I think that Ferrell has specifically spoken about being against and wanting to roll back some of the diversion programs that King County has started to try to use, especially for youth. And I also - even if you don't - if you agree on this punitive approach, I think it's also worth considering that right now the legal system is kind of at capacity. So what Ferrell is suggesting is going to put even more strain on it. The courts are already - have backlogs coming from the pandemic and the jails are full and not functioning well and not providing people humane conditions to be in there. So I just fear that that will lead to a lot more suffering for many people across our county. And I think this is a really important race to look at and think about.
[00:46:12] Crystal Fincher: So Mike, what's your take on this?
[00:46:14] Mike McGinn: It's interesting to see the contrast here. It's a local version of this national debate that we have now seen - that the proper response to crime is to crack down harder. And we're seeing this here as well. I worked with Dan Satterberg and he was a really interesting elected official. And honestly, to me, I may not have agreed with him on every decision - I know I didn't agree with him on every decision he made. But he was a civil servant first and foremost. He was trying to figure out what was the right path forward. He was engaged in the discussion. He led on things like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, people returning to the community from jail - getting their records cleared and restoration of rights. So he was really, and it's interesting, he was elected as a Republican, moved the race to a nonpartisan race and then was elected as a Democrat. So he clearly was somebody who was willing to go where the evidence led and not go based on ideology. So that's the experience we've had from that office, which is, I think, what you want in a prosecutor's office. It's a pretty important position. The effect it has on people's lives is immense. I think that really says something that we see someone looking to continue that tradition. And then we see someone coming in with - if only we punished people more. How's that been working? Really? We have some information on that, which is it doesn't really work. It takes a combination of the judicial system and community systems to really try to deal with root causes of crime, to deal with recidivism, to deal with the issues here. And I think that this is a little bit of a bellwether here. Are we going to try to be a progressive place, a progressive county that adopts and looks at new approaches? Or are we going to go to a more regressive approach to this? Because, yeah, that's worked so well in solving crime over the decades.
[00:48:34] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think so. What's your take, Bryce?
[00:48:37] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I don't know how much more I have to add to this other than just the importance of this race and the importance of making sure we have somebody who's really thinking about the - not just people's emotional concerns about crime, but the actions and the strategies and the programs that have been proven to address the things that actually lower crime. We've talked on a number of different episodes throughout this year about programs that have successfully reduced recidivism. And those are programs that often get criticized by people who claim to be tough on crime. And I just think that's something to interrogate our candidates about for this position, because the county prosecutor has a lot of influence in terms of how the county addresses crime in a way that's going to impact real people in big ways.
[00:49:29] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I agree. I will chime in and say that we just got a new public poll here that was just reported on, I think yesterday, showing that this race is basically statistically tied. So turnout is going to be really important. Lots of people talk about - they look at the federal races - they wonder if their vote matters. They're going, okay millions of people are voting. Why does mine make a difference? Really what makes a difference are these down-ballot races, are these local races. If you care about the issues of homelessness, justice, equity, affordability, what our community looks like, who it serves - our criminal legal system is an essential part of that equation. And we're talking about, in so many of these conversations, how we intervene and address victims. And most people who have perpetrated crimes have been victims of them. And how we intervene when people are victims, especially early, and especially when they're young, dictates how their future goes and whether they end up on the path to criminalization and poverty or a better path. So the way we intervene in that makes a difference. The way we treat and handle these cases that come through and how we address accountability depends on whether our streets are made safer, whether our tax dollars are used in a way that makes it less likely that people are going to commit crime and less likely that people are victimized or more, right? And we're seeing the impacts of the status quo of a more punitive approach. And either we choose to keep doing the same thing, and polls keep showing that no one is satisfied with the condition of things today. And so we do need to consider that when we are making these choices. And I hope you take a long, hard look at that. And most of all, get engaged and vote, make sure other people vote. And talk about these races, talk about the county attorney races, talk about the judicial races that we're going to talk about in just a moment, right? These are very important.
Turnout is not where we would love it to be. It's lagging behind some previous years here locally, especially among younger people. And I know that is concerning to some. So the more that people can do to make sure that everyone can - and the most impactful thing you can do is just text those close to you, call those close to you, talk to them. Hey, coworker - hey, did you get that ballot in? What are you doing for this race? Remember, this is important. Hey, cousin, hey, brother, sister, mom - it's those connections close to you and those personal contacts that actually make it more likely for those people to vote. External organizations can try and do all the voter mobilization that they can and that work is valuable and good and should happen. But hearing from someone who you care about and who cares about you saying, hey, make sure you do this, you have any questions, you need help - is one of the best things you can do to make sure that people actually turn out to vote.
So with that, we can talk about a couple of these judicial races, which are next on the ballot. Now we see the state Supreme Court races and we see Justice Mary Yu, who - you probably hear affection and admiration in my voice because I have affection and admiration for Justice Mary Yu. We also have a great interview with her from a few months back that we will post in the episode notes. Justice Barbara Madsen, also wonderful. Justice Helen Whitener, who is just - look, I'm going to just go ahead and get personal. Justice Helen Whitener is everything. I just need everyone to know that Justice Whitener is everything from - just everything. Her experience - vast, broad experience - in so many elements and areas of the law. The thoughtfulness, the lived experience, the outreach into the community - just a beautiful human being and an effective and intelligent justice. I am a fan of Justice Helen Whitener and we've done a couple interviews with Justice Whitener. And fortunately this time she isn't being challenged by anyone mediocre like she was last time, so this is an uncontested race. And when I say mediocre - I mean just got his license to practice law in order to run against someone with a resume as vast and deep as Justice Whitener's.
And so now we'll talk about the contested municipal judge races in the City of Seattle between Damon Shadid, who is the incumbent in that one seat - has been endorsed by a number of Democratic organizations, received Exceptionally Well Qualified by a number of organizations, and is standing on his record. And a new challenger from the City Attorney's Office, Nyjat Rose-Akins, who is endorsed by the King County Republican Party and Jenny Durkan, and is wanting to make changes to some things and talking about the record of Community Court and changes that she wants to make there. In the other race, we have judge Adam Eisenberg, who has been rated Exceptionally Well Qualified by a number of the local and ethnic bar associations, but also has received a high number of negative feedback and surveys from the King County Bar Association and concerns about management and whether women are treated fairly under his management. And then Pooja Vaddadi, who is a newcomer and a new challenger, who has been - received a number of Democratic endorsements, but also has not received any ratings from local judicial bar associations because she has chosen not to stand in front of them for ratings. Bryce, how would you characterize those races?
[00:55:42] Bryce Cannatelli: Like Crystal said, we got to hear from all of these candidates in a forum. I'll start with the Damon Shadid and Nyjat Rose-Akins portion of it - they're running for Position 7. Damon Shadid has been a judge in this position for quite a while. And the main point of difference between the two is Nyjat Rose-Akins often talked about during the forum criticisms of Community Court and her interest in making a lot of changes to the Community Court system, whereas Judge Shadid has defended what that court has been able to do and hopes to see it continue in its current direction. As far as Pooja Vaddadi and Judge Eisenberg, that's another kind of longtime incumbent in the position - I can't remember how long he's been in that role - and a newcomer. And Pooja Vaddadi brought up concerns about the way that Judge Eisenberg has handled himself in the courtroom. You can hear her talk about that in our forum specifically at the end - is something that her campaign has been highlighting as of late, but also just the need that she claims there is in the municipal court for some changes.
[00:56:52] Crystal Fincher: What's your take on those races, Shannon?
[00:56:55] Shannon Cheng: So I think - so for the Judge Eisenberg and Pooja Vaddadi race - Pooja Vaddadi is a practicing public defender. And I think her experience in being in the court with somebody such as Judge Eisenberg presiding - it was a maybe not great experience for her. And so she saw a lot of injustice there and felt called to try to step up and bear witness and call out what was happening and how she has a different vision for how that court could be run. I personally appreciate that because I think judicial races are just very low information. It's really hard - as Crystal just went through, there was a long list of uncontested judges on the ballot - and I often look at those names and I have no idea who those people are. And so it has been interesting in this race to get a window into how courts work. And I know for me, it's been very educational. And I continue to aspire to learn more about how courts are run and what matters. And yeah, so for the Damon Shadid and Nyjat Rose-Akins - as Bryce said, I think it comes down to the vision of how Community Court will be run in the future in Seattle. Whether you want somebody from the City Attorney's Office driving the vision of how to handle low-level offenses in the city versus the path that we had been on to to try to support people in need and not further entangle them in a system that kind of - a system that can snowball on people's lives.
[00:58:41] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's right on. And I think in these races, we are seeing a little bit of a difference. There has been a lot called out by Pooja Vaddadi's campaign. But in fairness, I think you referred to Pooja talking about how she was partly moved to run for this position based on some of the injustices she saw. But one of the issues in this race that has been brought up is that Judge Eisenberg was the recipient of the highest number of - basically highest amount of negative feedback. King County Bar Association does an anonymous poll of its member attorneys for judges and the highest percentage of attorneys returned negative responses for Judge Eisenberg - higher than all of the other judges and gave that feedback. Judge Eisenberg didn't seem to feel that that had any validity. And he talked about how he had been rated Exceptionally Well Qualified, which is the highest rating given by a number of different bar associations. And it being pretty standard that judges go before different bar associations and get interviewed and they evaluate their fitness for judicial office and provide a rating from Exceptionally Well Qualified, I think Very Well Qualified, just on there. And so he had a number of highest ratings. And Pooja Vaddadi decided not to sit in front of those. And she said it was because she felt that it was biased or tilted or they would automatically give high ratings to incumbents, but not give high ratings to people who weren't incumbents. So she didn't feel the need to sit before them, which is a bit different. A lot of first-time candidates do go before those bodies and are evaluated and come out with decent ratings. I'm trying to think if I recall first-time candidates getting Exceptionally Well Qualified - I think I recall a couple, but also some who haven't. So I don't know, there very well may be a role that incumbency plays in that, but that was an element in that race that came through. As well as prior coverage about whether Judge Eisenberg potentially gave someone a harsher sentence for exercising their right to a jury trial instead of accepting a plea deal. And that being a wrong thing - that is a right that people have to exercise. And whether someone pleads guilty to a charge on a deal or is found guilty on that charge, penalizing someone simply for choosing to go to trial is not something that should happen and is certainly frowned upon. And so there was some coverage in question about that. We can also link that in the show notes. So those are certainly interesting races. And I think Shannon summed up really well just what's at stake moving forward in the Damon Shadid and Nyjat Rose-Akins race.
So now let's get into the meat of a Seattle big-time initiative - Propositions 1A and 1B, which are on the City of Seattle ballot. They are not on my ballot, but we've got ballots waving with Shannon and Bryce and Mike over here talking about this question.
[01:02:10] Mike McGinn: Do you want me to take a shot at it?
[01:02:11] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, go ahead. Take a shot at it, Mike McGinn.
[01:02:16] Mike McGinn: Okay. We all know how ballots work - you get a choice between - in the primary, you normally get a whole lot of candidates to vote for and you pick one. And what this is proposing is that in the City of Seattle, whether you want a different way to vote that will give you more choices. So the first question is, and let me tell you what the two choices are. One is called approval voting. So you'd look at your ballot and you'd have multiple people on the ballot and anyone that you approved of, you'd vote for. So you could vote for one, two, three, four, to approve as many as you want. And the idea there is that you don't want to have to restrict your vote to one candidate. And I have to say there have been times when I've had multiple friends on the ballot - I just want to be able to say I voted for all of them. But there are other good reasons to want to maybe approve multiple candidates. The other style is something called ranked choice voting. So in that case, you'd rank the candidates - one, two, three, four, five. And they'd add up the votes, and whoever the lowest vote getter was would get dropped off. And so let's say - I'm standing here with Bryce and Shannon and Crystal - let's say I had ranked them Crystal first, and then Bryce, and then Shannon. If Crystal was the lowest vote getter, she'd be off the list. And my vote would now go to Bryce - my second vote would be counted. And you do this by a process of eliminating the lowest-ranked candidate until you get to a winner. And we'll probably get more into why - what are the differences between the two systems and why they're better. And there's a whole world of election nerddom, which is substantial - what is the best way to represent what the voters really want, but you're going to get to choose here.
So the real question is, do you want to keep the existing system - and that's the first question on the ballot - or do you want a new system? And if you vote Yes, I want a new system, you'll also be asked - well, actually, no matter how you vote on whether you want a new system - you're then asked, which one do you like more, approval voting or ranked choice voting? So yeah, it is pretty dense and complicated. You probably want to sit down and look at this. But if I could break it down for you - if you think you want more ways to have your vote count and have more discretion in how to award it to people, you'll want to vote Yes on the initial question. And then you'll get to weigh in and decide which one of those two - approval or ranked choice voting - you like more. And that'll tee it up for people to offer their opinions on what they like more on the rest of the podcast. How was that? Did I do okay, guys, in getting the description out?
[01:05:13] Crystal Fincher: You did! You did, in fact, do okay of getting the description out. And I think also just the - functionally on the ballot - what you said was really important and I just want to reiterate. So this - we're talking about - okay, there are two choices there, approval voting and ranked choice voting. But when you get your ballot, you're going to see that it is constructed in a way that's not just that simple choice. There really is an initial question and then a secondary question. The initial question - why don't you just read what's on the ballot?
[01:05:47] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, I could do that. I can also hold it up to you, so you can see the wall of text that happens beforehand. Shannon is shaking her head on the video feed, because - Seattle voters will know it if they've opened their ballots - there's a lot of text that goes before you can actually answer the question. So please read your ballot from top to bottom to make sure that you vote for everything. But the way that it's formatted is we get an explanation of both of the individual propositions. So it says Proposition 1A, submitted by initiative petition number 134, and Proposition 1B, alternative proposed by the city council and mayor, concern allowing voters to select multiple candidates in city primary elections. Proposition 1A would allow voters in primary elections for mayor, city attorney and city council to select on the ballot as many candidates as they approve of for each office. The two candidates receiving the most votes for each office would advance to the general election consistent with state law. The city would consult with King County to include instructions on the primary ballot, such as vote for as many as you approve of for each office. As an alternative, the city council and mayor have proposed Proposition 1B, which would allow primary election voters for mayor, city attorney and city council to rank candidates by preference. In the first round of processing, as Mike just explained, each voter's top preference would be counted. The candidate receiving the fewest would be eliminated. Successive rounds of counting would eliminate one candidate each round - counting each voter's top preference among remaining candidates until two candidates remain to proceed to the general election. King County would include instructions on the ballot for voters. And then the first question: Should either of these measures be enacted into law? Question number two: Regardless of whether you voted yes or no above, if one of these measures is enacted, which one should it be? And then you get to choose between Proposition 1A for approval and Proposition 1B for ranked choice.
[01:07:48] Crystal Fincher: Okay, excellent. So now as you look at this, Shannon, what do you make of this question and what should happen with it?
[01:07:56] Shannon Cheng: This is really confusing. You just heard the wall of text Bryce read us and I looked at my ballot and - if these voting reforms are supposed to make voting easier or more representative, the way that we're getting to it does not feel like it's an example of what it's trying to do. I am not an election nerd, but I am a nerd. And I guess when I looked at ranked choice versus approval, there's just something about approval that doesn't feel right to me. I guess I think about it as - when you look at the total number of votes that end up getting counted in an approval situation, it feels like there's more votes than people. As Mike was saying, if there were - let's say, 10 people on the ballot, I could vote for one person and the next person could vote for 10. And so then when you add everything up, there's 11 votes and the other person would have gotten 10 votes and I would have only gotten one. Whereas I feel like in ranked choice, it at least preserves the one vote per one person. And yeah, I guess for me, just being and looking at this from the outside nerd-like person, that's how I feel about it. But I'm sure Mike has opinions otherwise.
[01:09:14] Mike McGinn: No, no - I'm not here to argue with it. The first thing is just to hopefully shed more light - we'll see if I can pull that off. The first thing is that it does sound confusing. And I think, personally, I think that having more choice is good. And I think both of them are designed to solve the edge - the case where - in the case of ranked choice voting, where you end up in the general election with two candidates under our current system, and maybe there was an acceptable middle-of-the-road candidate who might have done well, might have been a second choice for everybody, or might have been an approval for everybody, that might have emerged. But you tended to get maybe some more passion from either end of the spectrum, giving you choices from the ends. The other thing I've seen, and we've seen this statewide a couple of times, where you have two Republicans on the ballot and five Democrats, and the two Republicans end up being the two highest vote-getters in the primary and advancing to the general, and something like approval voting or ranked choice voting might have elevated a different set of choices. So I think they both have this kind of moderating influence. They're meant to have a moderating influence and let candidates acceptable to more people have a chance to get through and not have it be run by the passion from, say, the edges of the electorate in races with lots and lots of candidates. And I'll stop there - I think both of them are good in that way at - and giving you more choices, more opportunities to express preferences of who you like. I think that ranked choice voting feels good to me in the sense of, oh, I get to put them in the order I like. And this is where I'm not going to be a good representative by their campaign. I think both campaigns will make a claim that there's a set of circumstances where, in this case, you might not get the best candidate if you have this type of profile of candidates. And both sides will make those arguments. I tend to think they're edge cases, and I encourage people to look at what they think they like most out of those two systems. But I think both sides tend to overstate the negatives of the other person's approach, as opposed to the positive of having the ability to, as opposed to the positive of having more choices, which is - I lean towards, yeah, definitely vote Yes, we should get more choices on how to vote. And then pick your pony. And many people are, have picked their pony. And there's a lot of folks leaning in saying ranked choice voting is the way to go. Obviously, the approval voting folks got enough signatures to put it on the ballot - they got some proponents. So read their arguments as to which is better. But I think both are better than the current system, personally.
[01:12:19] Crystal Fincher: Yeah. And so this is an interesting thing. So because we have two questions or three questions - kind of three questions in two questions - we have had both The Seattle Times and Stranger weigh in with their endorsements on this race. Interestingly, both The Seattle Times and the Stranger urge a No vote for changing - hey, stay the course, with varying reasons for that. But both recommending a No vote. And the Times says, hey, just vote no. And then don't even do anything else. Just leave it alone. Leave it blank. Stranger saying, okay, vote No. But if you vote No, also vote for ranked choice voting, because how this will be tabulated is - for the first question, should Seattle change the way it votes or not - that Yes or No question. If the answer turns out to be Yes, if a majority of the people vote Yes, even if you personally vote No, then it does move to the next question to decide what method that change is going to be. And so even if you're voting No, if it turns out that a majority of the people vote Yes, do you want a say in what that change is going to be? If so, then you need to fill out whether you want it to be 1A or 1B, ranked choice voting or approval voting. So I just want to make it clear that there is a difference voting No on the first question can make and that you don't - if you vote No, means that you can tell me - if you vote No, it means that you can still say No, but still have a voice in what happens should enough people say Yes. And I think you would want that to count more, your voice to be able to count more in this election. So Stranger's argument really basically says, hey, they love ranked choice voting, but they really want to make sure that approval voting does not pass. And voting No makes it absolutely clear that approval voting should not pass and hopefully ranked choice voting can pass later.
Lots of conversation about the type of funding and the people behind approval voting. A lot of tech money in Seattle Approves - as The Stranger says - California tech bros. And it qualifying from paid signature gatherers - and realistically everything qualifies using paid signature gatherers if it qualifies - just about nearly everything. So it's also been implemented in a lot fewer places than ranked choice voting has and it just seems like it doesn't have the type of evidence behind it. Hey, maybe it's a good thing, but I think they're saying we don't have enough to see that it actually achieves the kind of change that we're trying to achieve. And I will just throw in personally, there's a lot of talk about look at the results in Seattle did elected - I mean, in New York it elected a moderate mayor who I'm not sure that a lot of actual Democrats are eager to claim as a Democrat. In Alaska, it elected a Democrat where previously there were Republicans and looking at the results. I actually think looking at results is not the right way to look at this thing. It's - does this enable more people to participate and really feel like they have their voice heard better? I think the argument for change, whichever way it goes, is made stronger by - right now, especially in crowded primaries, you may find three out of seven people to be really desirable and acceptable and four to be unacceptable, right? And who knows if your personal preference makes it through, but right now people are forced into making some concessions many times because they're like - it's a crowded primary - I really like candidate A, but it looks like candidate B is going to win, and there's a big challenge from candidate C who I don't like. So I'd rather B win than C. So I'm going to go ahead and vote for B even though I really like candidate A. I've heard so many variations of that in just my time talking to people. And it really is a shame because it doesn't allow people to vote their conscience, to vote their true beliefs. And then it gives us a warped idea of what the public is really saying. You've got a bunch of pundits who look at - well, this candidate won and that must mean that every single thing they said is popular with voters. And what challengers were saying were not, right? And that's not ever the complete story. This actually enables the views of the public to be better heard and to be better represented and to give potentially the chance for - I think of Tammy Morales's first run against Bruce Harrell and how that was a really close race that a lot of media did not pick up on. And because it wasn't covered a lot, a lot of people just didn't pay attention to it, didn't vote it, and she lost by just a little bit. If people would have known that or if they would have felt like, hey, in this primary, this is an important thing to do, if they could have voted - hey, Tammy plus someone else - we could have had a different result in that race and could be in a different place in the City of Seattle right now. But that - those are the kinds of things that are interesting. What do you think, Mike?
[01:18:05] Mike McGinn: I really like your description of the strategic voting problem that we face, right? That you just feel like, yeah, you have to get behind the bandwagon of somebody, otherwise your vote is wasted. And both the approval voting and the ranked choice voting, in different ways, give you the opportunity to still be heard in that regard. A couple of other observations. One is that, and this seems to be broadly true, there are two sides usually in Seattle. The business side usually finds itself a candidate and there's a progressive side that finds - but the progressive side doesn't find a candidate - we find four or five and the business side picks one. So you know you're going to get a business side candidate out, and - because they'll get enough votes to push it through. And unfortunately, on the progressive side, that choice is often made by The Stranger, which wants to keep the current system. If you look at the history of races and primary races in Seattle, odd year election, low turnout, not necessarily a lot of information - almost always it's The Seattle Times endorsed candidate and The Stranger endorsed candidate. And those are the only two candidates that come through. And you have to make a choice - what are you going to do as a primary voter in that scenario? And I think that approval voting, ranked choice voting gives you an opportunity to say, yeah, I'll go with The Stranger candidate, but I also want to go with someone else. Or I want to put The Stranger endorsed candidate as my second or third choice in ranked choice voting. I think it takes a little bit of power away from those people who really can put their thumbs on the scales, and I think that would be a good thing in Seattle races. And again, I go back to where I am, where I've looked at races, where it's yeah, there's three progressives I can vote for in a year in this race. And who knows, maybe if I'm lucky, the one I really love will break through under this system, as opposed to the one that the weight of opinion is getting behind, that's decided long before I get to look at that ballot.
[01:20:13] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that is smart. And definitely makes sense. What do you make of it, Bryce?
[01:20:19] Bryce Cannatelli: Yeah, again, I agree with what a lot of people have been saying. It's not helpful to make voters think about these votes in such a strategic kind of politico way, instead of letting them vote the way that's truest to their beliefs about what's best. I think especially if you're - if you voted in the 2020 Democratic primary, you had to make a lot of those decisions - and you're really familiar with how that really compromises your views when it comes to actually voting. And I also just agree with the concerns about approval voting. There are benefits to that system for sure. But also when it plays out, you're still motivated to vote for only one candidate, because unlike ranked choice voting, your vote gets diluted across all of the people that you approve. So I think that's the most common criticism of approval voting as a system that I've seen. But I also think emphasizing what other people have brought up today - that the approval voting campaign is not really a grassroots campaign. It's not really coming from the majority of the people in Seattle. Ranked choice voting has been here for a while, it's been getting some buzz. But approval voting is kind of coming out of left field. So it's understandable that people are wary of it. And I understand where The Stranger is coming from with their recommendation on how people should vote on these questions.
[01:21:52] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, I think that's it. And I think you just characterized what my personal concern would be. Like my first choice, I want to be my first choice. My second choice, I want to be my second choice. I want my choices weighted with my own ranking. I want to let it be known that this is my preference. And so if this doesn't make it, then okay, fine. You can go to my number two. I would not want all of the votes to count equally because, 90% of the time out of all of the choices, I don't like all of them or dislike all of them equally. Usually there's a scale and a range there, so I would want my vote to reflect that. I will also say, and I've talked about this before - whatever happens, whenever there's any kind of change, it is absolutely critical for there to be a ton of voter engagement and education before this change, like a year's worth - in all different formats, in all different languages, in all different venues, in person and online, in community centers, in language, in all of the settings that people are in. Just going all out on the outreach and education to make sure that people understand that this is different. Think about all the talking that we're having to do with just this differently formulated question and how confusing this one differently formulated question about how we're going to vote is. And then multiply that to get to how challenging or disorienting it may be for someone who is not expecting a change to see it and who doesn't understand that. And I just want to make sure that - I think a lot of people who listen to this program have a variety of types of privilege, as do I, right? And we're very online, we're connected to information, sometimes more than other people. These are very - the show is called Hacks & Wonks for a reason - hacks and wonks definitely listen to this show and we're paying attention to all this stuff more than most other people are. We are weird. But normal people are not engaging with this on a regular basis. Normal people realize that there's an election when they get their ballot and they're like, oh, okay. When the rest of us are like, we've been talking about this for months and have seen all the ads and all that. Regular people don't do that. So I just want to make sure that we are acknowledging that no matter what happens, even if someone does get their preference, that it is critical that we engage with the need to educate everyone and reach into the people who are the least connected and least able to find this information on their own.
All right. And with that, I think we are wrapping up our Ballot-in-Review with Hacks & Wonks. So thank you so much for all of this. And thank you for taking the time to go through this ballot. I know this was - this ended up taking longer than we thought, but I think it's valuable. Thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks on this Friday, November 4th, 2022 - my brother's birthday, happy birthday, Tyrell - the producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler. Our assistant producer is Shannon Cheng and our Production Coordinator is Bryce Cannatelli. Our insightful co-host today was activist, community leader, former mayor of Seattle and Executive Director of America Walks, the popular Mike McGinn. You can find Mike on Twitter @mayormcginn with two n's. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter @HacksWonks. And you can find me on Twitter @finchfrii with two i's at the end. You can catch Hacks & Wonks wherever you get podcasts or type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Subscribe to get the full almost-live show on Friday and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. Leave us a review if you like us and you can get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in - talk to you soon.