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Some of the results may not be known for weeks, but the most expensive election ever in Washington state wrapped up Tuesday night. 

Private docks line the shore of Hunts Point, Wash.
John Ryan

You may have seen maps of the United States divided into red and blue, based on whether Republicans or Democrats got the most votes in each area. What would it look like to map how campaign contributors vote with their dollars?

The first map below does just that for Washington state. It follows the money to show how each ZIP code in the state has voted with its collective pocketbook in this year’s federal elections. Have people in that ZIP code contributed more money to Democratic (blue) or Republican (red) efforts?

Government agencies have begun the environmental review process for the largest proposed coal export terminal in the Northwest. It would be located near Bellingham, Washington.

If it’s built, the Gateway Pacific Terminal would draw trains from across the region, carrying coal from Wyoming and Montana to be exported to Asia, and those trains would move through Seattle. That would lead to more traffic, according to a new report from the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Read the full story on KUOW's Earthfix

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Army prosecutors say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 16 Afghan civilians in two villages this past March in an act of “sheer brutality.” That was the opening argument at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine if Bales will face a full court martial and possibly the death penalty.

Shilo Murphy/People's Harm Reduction Alliance

Bob Quinn, one of the founders of Seattle's needle exchange, died over the weekend. The King County Medical examiner says it was suicide.

Dey / Flickr

Marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage are hot-button issues on the Washington ballot. Even after the measures are decided, the debate will likely continue and changes won't happen overnight.

Octopus Killing Fuels Scuba Diver Activism

Nov 5, 2012
A giant Pacific octopus similar to the one that was killed recently at Cove 2 in Alki.
Flickr/California Academy of Sciences

A scuba diving instructor recently encountered a diver who was in the process of killing an octopus at Cove 2, a popular West Seattle diving site. Photos of the incident spread online, prompting the local scuba dive community to seek marine protection status for Cove 2. 

Political forecaster Nate Silver discusses why some predictions work and others don't.
Robert Gauldin

Nate Silver is the statistician and New York Times polling whiz known for his accurate forecasts of the 2008 presidential election.  Four years ago Silver called the correct outcome in 49 out of 50 states and picked the winner in every senate race.  But he got his start in baseball, using statistics to project how well players would perform over the season. Marcie Sillman spoke with Silver about this year’s election and the benefits and limits of data-driven analysis.

Federal Election Law Hotlines Tend To Be Snoozers In NW

Nov 5, 2012

This election day, the U.S. Department of Justice will have federal attorneys in every state, ready to take complaints. It's a long-standing program aimed at combating election fraud and voter rights abuses. But the hotlines tend to be pretty quiet in the Northwest.

The election day program has been around for decades. But attorneys in Oregon and eastern Washington say -– at least in recent memory -– they haven't gotten any complaints. Western Washington received a few calls in 2008 about voter registration issues.

pnwcheese.com

A federal court judge has barred local cheese maker Estrella Creamery of Montesano in Grays Harbor County from selling its products outside of Washington.

King County GOP Victory Van
Amy Radil

This year campaigns are able to make faster and more nimble use of ballot returns than ever before and target those voters who have yet to cast their ballots.

KUOW/Deborah Wang

Democratic Party activists in the state of Washington were in high gear this weekend conducting a massive get-out-the-vote campaign. Hundreds of volunteers manned phone banks and fanned out across neighborhoods to encourage people who hadn’t voted to turn in their ballots.

If Initiative 1240 passes, public school funding would finance each charter school created under the law.

Northwest Money Helps Pay For Swing State Ads

Nov 2, 2012

Northwest voters are spared most presidential campaign ads. But Northwest money still plays a part in them. A handful of big spenders from the region are bolstering major super PACs behind a barage of ads now hitting swing states.

Florida voters might thank some wealthy Washington residents for a recent ad blitz targeting President Obama. People working in the financial services sector around Seattle have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Karl Rove's American Crossroads. It's a super PAC that supports Republican candidates.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – New polls show Washington’s open race for governor remains close. Already hundreds of thousands of Washington voters have returned their ballots. Many more will do so in the coming days. But county auditors have a warning to voters who wait until the last minute.

In Oregon you have to have your ballot in by 8pm on Election night. But in Washington you just have to have your ballot postmarked. That means for days after the election ballots keep on rolling in and they get counted -– unless the postmark is past the due date.

Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools has not met any of the 23 student performance goals the district set for itself four years ago in its five-year plan called "Excellence for All."

Matt Barreto discusses Washington Poll results.
Photo / Amy Radil

A newly released poll of likely Washington voters indicates that the race for governor is virtually tied with Democrat Jay Inslee slightly ahead.

No-smoking sign.
Mikl Roventine / Flickr

Tacoma’s public housing is becoming completely smoke-free.  Right now residents can’t smoke in common areas.  But beginning March 1, 2013 residents won’t be allowed to smoke in their apartments.  The ban also includes outdoor areas like patios and balconies. 

Darcyandkat / Flickr

The latest TV ad from same-sex marriage opponents in Washington focuses on school children, warning “schools could teach that boys could marry boys.”

The ad mirrors those that ran in other states when gay marriage came up for a vote, notably when Prop 8 was on California’s 2008 ballot. Campaign strategists on both sides agree the “schools ad" has been a game changer.

A member of SNAP outside O'Dea High in Seattle.
Christine Beaderstadt

This story has been updated since it was first published.

A member of the Christian Brothers religious order who served as principal at Seattle’s O'Dea High School has resigned. Brother Karl Walczak is being accused of sexually abusing a minor in Chicago about 40 years ago.

The school is operated by the Christian Brothers but owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle.

PASCO, Wash. – Just as this year’s Halloween fades into memory, many Northwest Latino families are getting ready for the Day of the Dead. The traditional Mexican holiday is on Friday. Some families blend the two holidays.

In Pasco, Washington, bakeries can hardly churn out enough seasonal pan muerto . It’s a type of semi-sweet bread that has the shapes of bones and skulls baked right in.

What if there was a crystal ball that could reveal the outcome of an election? Turns out modern day campaigns use forecast models to project the winner of a race long before a single vote is counted.

In vote-by-mail states like Washington or Oregon, political parties and campaigns have an advantage. They can find out on a daily basis if you’ve returned your ballot.

Two relatively obscure waterways in rural southeast Oregon are generating a heated dispute over geographic names. The small streams are both named "Squaw Creek," which is considered offensive to Native Americans. But the landowners in each case object to the proposed new names.

A 25-member volunteer panel called the Oregon Geographic Names Board is methodically working to erase the term "squaw" from the state map. Often, the new names are suggested by Native Americans.

Board president Sharon Nesbit says that's the case for two remote creeks in rural Harney County.

Private docks line the shore of Hunts Point, Wash.
John Ryan

Each election season, little-known political action committees -- and the campaign ads they fund -- assume a central role in American politics. This year, the ostensibly independent committees known as super PACs have raised more money than ever before. Their vaguely patriotic names often disguise their true purpose: spending lots of cash to get certain candidates into power.

Low-income parents will soon have a way to get treatment for their children with autism. Starting in January, Washington state will cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for kids with Medicaid coverage. The new benefit is part of a legal settlement between the state and a local advocacy group for children with autism. 

Washington state Auditor Brian Sonntag has issued a report citing significant deficiencies in the billing systems at Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). His report is based on annual audits by accounting firms.

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Nearly 300,000 people in Washington are still unemployed and looking for work. But there was reason to celebrate Monday in coastal Grays Harbor County – where the unemployment rate is tied for the highest in the state. A shuttered paper mill there recently roared back to life. With it came 175 jobs.

It was a party atmosphere inside the long, narrow shipping warehouse at Harbor Paper. Several hundred people milled about as dignitaries, including Governor Chris Gregoire, mounted a makeshift stage.

Washington Considers Another Impact Of Wolves: Skinny Cows

Oct 31, 2012

Washington ranchers who can show that wolves are making their cattle lose weight could get reimbursed under a new proposal. The rule before the Fish and Wildlife Commission would expand a compensation program for ranchers living in wolf country.

Washington’s cattle ranchers aren’t the first to complain about skinny livestock. Ranchers in Idaho and Oregon also say the reintroduction of wolves has made sheep and cattle move more and eat less.

That translates into the bottom line, says Dave Ware. He’s the game manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Halloween Spending Up Across Nation

Oct 31, 2012

KENNEWICK, Wash. – If Halloween spending is an indicator of the economy, Americans are appear to be feeling better than this time last year -- or at least more ghoulish.

A new survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation found that seven of 10 Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. And they’re spending more says spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.

“The average person is expected to spend about $79 on Halloween decorations, costumes and candy.”

Flickr/401 (K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

Businesses have poured millions of dollars into political contributions this election season. But you may be surprised to learn that in Democratic-leaning Washington, the state’s three largest employers tend to favor Republican candidates.

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