Elections 2013
3:09 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

SeaTac's $15 Minimum Wage Survives Hand Recount

UPDATE 12/09/13  5:30 PM PT:

Supporters of SeaTac's $15 an hour minimum wage are celebrating tonight after the initiative survived a hand recount of ballots cast in the race.

County elections officials spent a full day scrutinizing more than 6,000 ballots by hand, closely watched by observers from both sides of the issue.

In the end, there were "no incidents discovered that would appear to alter the outcomes from the general election," said Sherril Huff, King County Elections Director.

Common Sense SeaTac, a group of citizens and businesses opposed to Proposition 1, had asked for the recount after the initiative won by just 77 votes.

Elections officials had not expected the recount to uncover any major errors in the initial tally. In King County, recounts have not resulted in a changed outcome of a local election in more than a decade.

Opponents of the initiative issued a statement that warned the initiative will have dire effects on the local economy.

“Even though the citizens of SeaTac are narrowly divided on the wisdom of this idea, the businesses now have to prepare for living with this measure,” said Mike West, co-chair of Common Sense SeaTac.

Supporters of Proposition 1 were on hand at King County Election headquarters to cheer the result, but they say still have to fight to defend the new law. Later this week, a judge hears arguments in a lawsuit by SeaTac businesses seeking to overturn the law.

ORIGINAL POST 12/3/13  2:30PM PT:

The ballot measure to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 in the city of SeaTac is under the microscope.

On Monday, King County Elections officials set out to hand count more than 6,000 ballots cast in that race.

Proposition 1 passed by just 77 votes. The law, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, would set the hourly minimum wage to $15 and provide 6.5 days of paid sick leave for thousands of workers in the city.

A group that opposed the measure, Common Sense SeaTac, asked for the recount.

“Historically machine counts have been off by as much as 2 or 3 percent,” said Don Stark, a consultant for the group. “It may very well turn out just the same today, but one never wants to leave those things to chance.”

Elections officials said the chances of a different result are slim.   

"I would be surprised to see a change in the outcome as a result of this," said Kim van Ekstrom of King County Elections.

The county is expected to announce results of the recount at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. The King County Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to certify the results.