Election 2020 analysis and updates for Seattle and Washington state
This live blog is dedicated to the elections in Seattle, King County, and Washington state.
- The Associated Press has called the gubernatorial race for Gov. Jay Inslee.
- Roughly 73% of ballots (more than 3.5 million) were returned in Washington as of Tuesday, November 3. In 2016, at least 44% of ballots had been returned during this same time period.
- Find a ballot box or voting center here. Scroll down for the map.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Georgia turns blue: Let's talk about why Black women always save us
4 pm -- It's not about “Black women saving us.”
While it is true, it’s a dangerous statement that makes me feel like I’m required to be Michael Jordan in game 7. And—to be clear—we ain’t getting paid any million dollar contracts to reimagine this democracy in the fourth quarter.
So let’s get to WHY we save us. It’s because Black and brown women actually believe in this shit more than anybody else. We believe in the possibility of systemic change and, in fact, our survival depends on this belief.
In 2018, Stacey Abrams’ run for governor of the state of Georgia transformed the electorate and in her words: achieved a dramatic increase in turnout.
“It was a systemic and, I think, sustainable change in the composition of the electorate and in the transformation of the narrative about Georgia and Georgia politics,” Abrams said.
She became a citizen on Election Day, then registered to vote, and cast her first ballot
3:30 pm -- On Tuesday, Election Day, Natalia Pappe of Woodinville, awoke feeling nervous.
Not because the American presidency was up in the air, but because she was due in Seattle at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to take her naturalization exam, to become a U.S. citizen.
Pappe, 35, had moved to the Seattle-area a decade before to study English at Bellevue College. She met the man who would become her husband at Bellevue College, and they had two kids. She got a job at Microsoft as the director of operations for the executive center, and she got a green card.
Memes to get you by as the presidential election enters day 4
2:30 pm -- Here's a collection of memes hitting Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok as the U.S. waits for the final ballots to be counted, and a winner declared in the 2020 presidential election.
Washington State backers of drug decriminalization hope to follow Oregon’s lead.
12 p.m. - A successful ballot measure to decriminalize drug possession in Oregon is now fueling a similar effort in Washington State. At a post-election press conference, Peter Zuckerman, the campaign manager for Oregon’s Measure 110, said “We in the Pacific Northwest just won the biggest drug reform victory in U.S. history! So what does the victory in Oregon mean to Washington? I think it means that public opinion has decisively changed.”
Under Washington’s proposed Treatment and Recovery Act, people arrested for possessing small amounts of street drugs like heroin and methamphetamine won’t go to jail; instead they’ll be given a citation, and the fine will be forgiven if they report for a substance use assessment. The group Treatment First WA is seeking to pass the law in the 2021 legislative session. They expect to announce prime sponsors in the state House and Senate soon. It would use marijuana tax proceeds to fund the implementation. A task force would define the amount of drugs eligible for the civil penalty.
Molly Carney, the former director of Evergreen Treatment Services, said putting drug users in jail increases their risks of overdose and of losing their housing. She said their research indicates most drug users want help with their substance use. She said, “We know easy access is not the current reality. Most people want help but don’t know where to get it.”
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Quick look at Washington election results as of Thursday morning
- President (Washington state voters only): Biden/Harris: 60%; Trump / Pence: 37%.
- Governor: Gov. Jay Inslee (D) won a third term with about 58% of the vote, to Republican Loren Culp's 41%.
- Attorney General: Bob Ferguson (D) is winning with 58% of the vote, against Matt Larkin (R) at 42%.
- State Superintendent: Incumbent Chris Reykdal is winning with 56%, against Maia Espinoza at 43%.
- Congressional District 10: Marilyn Strickland (D) takes 50% of the vote, against Beth Doglio (D) with 36%. With Strickland heading to Congress, she will be Washington's first Black woman and Korean-American representative in Washington DC.
- 28th Legislative District: T'Wina Nobles (D) is slightly ahead with 52% of the vote against incumbent Steve O'Ban (D) with 48%. If/when Nobles' win is made official, it will flip this state senate district from red to blue.
- 73% of registered Washington voters cast a ballot. The Secretary of State still expects a 90% turnout statewide once all ballots are tabulated. King County reporting an 85% voter turn out rate.
Seattleites REALLY don't like Trump
10:30 p.m. -- Republican presidential candidates rarely perform well in the very blue city of Seattle.
But numbers out from King County Elections show Donald Trump is particularly unpopular in the city.
Precinct level data from election night reveal Trump receiving just 8 percent of the Seattle vote, with Joe Biden getting close to 90 percent.
The last two Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, both won about 14 percent of Seattle votes.
Trump is performing much better statewide. He now has about 38 percent of the vote, which is largely coming from Central and Eastern Washington.
Friendships in Puget Sound's only red county tested by the tight presidential election
12 p.m. — At Casey’s Bar and Grill in Belfair, Washington, a lone mustachioed man nursed a beer and ate popcorn shrimp. He worried his fingers through a large stack of pull tabs.
He is a Trump supporter, he said, and he fears that if Biden is elected, Kamala Harris would send the country in a more liberal direction. As he started to explain why he felt this way, the bar manager emerged, frowning.
“Are you talking politics?" she asked. "Political talk is not allowed in this bar.”
When I asked why, she said, “Conversations about politics leads to fights." She knew this from personal experience, she said.
And so I decamped to the parking lot of McClendon’s Hardware store down the street and started talking to customers.
They described a community divided.
Washington K-12 public school students will get comprehensive sex ed
12:12 p.m. -- Public schools in Washington state will be required to offer comprehensive sex education with Referendum 90 passing with 59 percent of the vote.
The measure was placed on the ballot after the state Legislature passed a comprehensive sex ed bill earlier this year. Opponents then launched a petition drive to overturn it.
"This victory is a renewed mandate for all of us to make sure that young people in every community get honest, accurate and inclusive information that helps them make good decisions about sex, to protect themselves and to protect their futures," read a statement provided by Courtney Normand, the Washington State Director of Planned Parenthood Votes, which backed the measure.
The law requires that districts offer sex ed from kindergarten through 12th grade, starting with lessons about things like consent. Curricula are required to be
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who was reelected Tuesday, said misinformation about the new sex ed law made many voters apprehensive. But Reykdal said parents will see that what it teaches is sensible.
Chris Reykdal: “Many of them are going to find that their districts have been doing this for years. And it's not new in many places. without incident, candidly, because it's really delivered by professionals, and it is age appropriate.”
Each district can choose its own sex ed curriculum under the law, and parents can still opt their kids out of the lessons.
There was close correlation between blue counties and support for comprehensive sex ed: nearly every county that favored Biden also approved the measure.
Washington Secretary of State sees 'red flags' in Culp's comments
10:30 a.m. -- Loren Culp is calling his election results into question, in comments to supporters. The Republican candidate for governor said Wednesday “something smells fishy”, but election officials say there's no basis to his claims.
Washington's Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman says voting here has run smoothly and accurately.
The candidates comments are "just sending off a little bit of red flags for me", says Wyman. "So we're just gonna listen, and I will probably invite Loren Culp to come and have a chat because I don't know what his issues are, and I don't know of any irregularities, so I would love to just share with him what we've done ."
Governor Inslee is defeating Culp by 17 percentage points in the results, as of this morning.
Culp also told his supporters today that the city of Republic, where he has been police chief, has defunded his position. This has not been independently verified by public radio, but it appears the town of Republic voted this week to contract with the Ferry County Sheriff's Office for policing, in a cost savings move (according to Republic City Council documents).
Can Clallam County predict the presidential winner?
Can Clallam County predict the presidential winner?
Can Clallam County predict the presidential winner?
9:30 a.m. -- When it comes to presidential politics, one county in western Washington has been incredibly accurate in picking the winner. Will they be right this year?
Over the last couple decades, Clallam County voters have backed President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump.
And so far this year, Joe Biden is ahead.
Michael Dashiell is editor of the Sequim Gazette. He explains that Sequim has lot of retirees moving out there with diverse political views.
"You typically get more of a liberal bent from the King County, Snohomish areas," Dashiell said. "But you also get more of a conservative bent from some of the folks moving up from California.”
And they turn out to vote. So far this year 94% of ballots have been returned by registered voters in Clallam County.
-- David Hyde
Puget Sound's purple county
9 a.m. -- Mason County is the only county bordering the Puget Sound where more people voted for Trump than Biden.
But it's still roughly half Democrat, half Republican. That makes it a deeply divided county, or you could say, deeply purple county. The close election has left some friendships there stressed.
Mason County resident Julie Harris says some of her friendships in the area will survive -- and some will not.
"It's not, oh, they're stupid and we're not. Intelligent people disagree," Harris said. "So people who can talk about other things -- great. People who that's all they want to do is just go over and over and over again, yeah, they'll be distanced. Social distanced! Ha!"
With 98% of votes counted in Mason County, just over 18,000 went for Trump, and about 17,000 went for Biden.
-- Joshua McNichols
Protester hospitalized during Count the Vote demonstration
8:30 a.m. -- A 30-year-old demonstrator suffered some sort of medical problem while being arrested during a Count the Vote protest in Seattle Wednesday night. They are reportedly in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center.
The Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation team is looking into whether the episode was tied to the arrest that occurred near the SPD's east precinct.
SPD says that seven people were arrested during the Count the Vote demonstrations on Capitol Hill Wednesday. At one point, police report officers gave an order for the protest to disperse after reported destruction to property in the area, damage to police vehicles, and continued blocking of a major intersection.
-- Angela King
Gov. Inslee calls on all political parties to protect votes
8 a.m. -- Governor Jay Inslee urged patience on Wednesday as the country awaits results of the presidential election.
He said many valid, legally-cast ballots are still being received and counted in Washington state, and he denounced any attacks on that process.
"And I am calling on every elected official in the state of Washington, Republicans and Democrats, independents, whatever party, to condemn any threats by the president to this process of counting the ballots. Too many people have been silent for too long about this president's behavior. We need voices to speak up, to protect our voting here in the state of Washington."
Inslee did not name any particular elected officials.
But secretary of state challenger Gael Tarleton has urged the incumbent Kim Wyman to be more forceful in her defense of voting by mail.
-- Eilis O'Neill
Westlake protest on Wednesday
7:30 a.m. -- At least four protests were planned in Seattle Wednesday night, following a day of anxiously waiting for updates on the presidential election.
One protest took place at Westlake Center. Speakers rallied around making sure every vote was accounted for.
"We must demand that this election is not stolen," said Cea Moline, with the Seattle Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression. "And we must also realize the fact that this election was unable to address the major problems in this society."
But they were also adamant that they were not enthused about a Trump re-election or a Biden win.
"We have the guy who wants to shoot protesters in the streets and the guy who thinks we should just shoot them in the leg," Moline said.
Moline was not only focused on the presidential election, but local issues like the defunding of police and taxing Amazon.
-- Esmy Jimenez
Demonstrations call to count every vote
Demonstrations call to count all votes
7 a.m. -- Count every vote. That was the demand from protestors in Seattle last night.
Seattle joined other large cities around the country, calling for states to count all election votes no matter how long it takes.
People here say any attempts to stop counting votes is voter suppression, targeting people of color.
Wednesday's march around Pioneer Square was peaceful, with no police around. One organizer said that was because so many white people had shown up.
More rallies are planned for this week and this weekend.
-- Casey Martin
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
A quick look at high profile races as of Wednesday morning
- President (Washington state voters only): Biden/Harris: 61%; Trump / Pence: 37%.
- Gov. Jay Inslee (D) won a third term with about 59% of the vote, to Republican Loren Culp's 40%.
- Attorney General: Bob Ferguson (D) is winning with 49% of the vote, against Matt Larkin (R) at 41%.
- Sec. of State: Kim Wyman (R) is winning with 52% of the vote, against Gael Tarleton (D) at 48%.
- State Superintendent: Incumbent Chris Reykdal is winning with 57%, against Maia Espinoza at 43%.
- Congressional District 10: Marilyn Strickland (D) is leading with 50% of the vote, against Beth Doglio (D) with 36%. With Strickland heading to Congress, she will be Washington's first Black woman and Korean-American representative in Washington DC.
- 28th Legislative District: T'Wina Nobles (D) is slightly ahead with 52% of the vote against incumbent Steve O'Ban (D) with 48%. If this lead holds, it has the potential of flipping this state senate district from red to blue.
Hundreds march at Seattle rally to count every vote and protect every person
8 p.m. --- As key states continue processing ballots, and President Donald Trump urges an end to counting votes, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Seattle Wednesday night to support counting every vote and protecting every person.
In addition to supporting ongoing vote counts, speakers called for an investment in Black communities, closing King County's youth jail and protecting undocumented immigrants.
Reverend Bianca Davis-Lovelace, chair of the Washington State Poor People's Campaign, says she's worried about Republican efforts to stop vote counting in the remaining swing states and de-legitimize the election process. Voter suppression targeting communities of color in places like Philadelphia and Detroit is "so obvious," Davis-Lovelace said.
However, she thinks these tactics don't scare away young voters - but emboldens them.
"I don't think it's going to discourage them," she said shortly after Wednesday's march, "I think it's going to make them fight harder. Gen Z's a different breed. They are fighters, and it's wonderful to see that."
The bulk of the crowd that was eligible to vote had already voted this year in a state that's had smooth all vote-by-mail for years.
The next fight, organizers said, starts on Inauguration Day.
"No matter if Biden gets into office," Davis-Lovelace said, "we're going to stay on their butts as well - we're going to hold them accountable."
Wednesday's peaceful march circled around Pioneer Square with noticeably few Seattle Police officers around. The night before, an evening march ended in multiple violent arrests. One march organizer said the difference in police presence was due to more white people showing up to Wednesday's demonstration and encouraged everyone to attend more Black Lives Matter events in the future.
More protests are planned for this week and through the weekend.
-- Casey Martin
Don’t blame Seattle and King County for the state being blue
3 p.m. — If you’ve lived outside Seattle and King County, you know that folks elsewhere in Washington state can be mighty annoyed with this liberal bubble.
The first results typically come in from eastern Washington, which is conservative, and it can seem like Seattle will just bigfoot results that had been red for a few moments.
But take out King County, and Biden still wins by a near landslide. The result:
Loren Culp says he won’t concede and that’s he’s out of a job as police chief
1:45 p.m. — Loren Culp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate lost Washington’s race for governor. And now he says he’s also out of a day job.
Culp says the town of Republic, Washington, has de-funded its police department and eliminated his position as chief and sole officer of the department. Culp announced that news Wednesday in a Facebook live event.
“Seems kind of backhanded, feels like a knife in the back, but there’s other things, you know, but anyway why defund the police department a couple of days before the election. It’s incredible,” he said.
KUOW has not been able to independently confirm Culp’s statement with the City of Republic. We will follow up when we get confirmation.
Culp also reiterated Wednesday that he won’t concede the governor’s race even though he’s only getting 40 percent of the vote. The Associated Press has called the race for incumbent Democrat Jay Inslee.
Let’s look at how Biden is doing compared to Clinton in 2016 in Washington state
1:30 p.m. — Looking at the counties that went blue in Washington state last night, we noticed an interesting trend: More people voted for Joe Biden for president than they did Jay Inslee for governor.
One would assume this means that a lot more people filled in the bubble next to Joe Biden/Kamala Harris, and then left all every other race blank.
After all, 17,000 more people voted for Biden in Whatcom County this year than for Clinton in 2016 – and we’re not even done counting!
But if you look back at 2016, you see that MORE people voted for Jay Inslee during his second term than they did for Hillary Clinton.
Inslee is not less popular this time than in 2016. He rode the Biden blue wave in western Washington.
Rather, this speaks to a cohesion of the Democratic party – everyone coming together to defeat Trump. The vote is less fractured than in 2016, when western Washington voters were still sore over Bernie Sanders’ loss in the Democratic primary.
Several post-election protests scheduled for Wednesday in Seattle
1:14 p.m. — Various protests are slated to take place in Seattle on Wednesday, in the wake of Tuesday's general election:
- "Stop Trump from Stealing the Election - Take to the Streets!:" People will gather at Green Lake Park at E. Green Lake Way N and NE 71st Street at 5 p.m. The demonstration is being co-hosted by Refuse Fascism Seattle and Veterans for Peace Seattle Chapter 92.
- "Don't Let Trump Steal the Election! (Seattle):" Demonstrators will gather at Westlake Park at 401 Pine Street at 6 p.m. The protest is being co-hosted by Socialist Alternative Seattle, Freedom Socialist Party - Seattle/Puget Sound Branch, UAW Local 4121, Radical Women Seattle Branch, Kshama Solidarity, Seattle Democratic Socialists of America, and Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity.
- "The Fight Continues:" Protesters will meet at Seattle Central College starting at 6:30 p.m. and march is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Can we talk about the Electoral College for a minute?
12:40 p.m. — You, the people, do not elect the president of the United States. At least not directly.
The president is elected by the Electoral College, which has 538 members.
These are normal people, like you and me. States with smaller populations have fewer of them; big states have more. But because of the rules – one vote per senator and one for each member of Congress – states with few people end up having more bang per vote.
In 1970, we nearly became a one-person, one-vote country. But senators from smaller Southern states filibustered that proposal, saying it would reduce their influence.
That’s why a Wyomingite’s vote today carries more weight than yours.
But don’t feel too badly. James Madison did right by you compared to what happened in the European Union. There, a vote from Malta can be worth 1,929 percent more than a vote in Germany.
Marilyn Strickland takes early lead, en route to make history
7:30 a.m. -- Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has opened up a big lead in the race for the 10th Congressional District seat.
Strickland is ahead with around 50% of the vote after the initial count. Her opponent, State Representative Beth Doglio, has 36%.
Both candidates for this open seat in the Olympia -Tacoma area are Democrats. Strickland has said her positions on three issues resonated most with voters.
“The pandemic, the economic crisis and even some of the issues around racial injustice,” Strickland said.
The former Tacoma mayor also served as head of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
If she wins, Strickland would be the first Black person elected to Congress from the Northwest. And the first Korean American woman elected to Congress.
-- David Hyde
Referendum 90 passing with 60% of the vote
7 a.m. -- One of the most controversial referendums on the ballot - Referendum 90 - passing with about 60% of the vote (as of Tuesday night's count).
It would require public schools to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual health education, for all students. Parents could choose to opt their children out.
-- Angela King
Slate of Black women candidates running for Legislature mostly successful
6:30 a.m. -- An unprecedented number of Black women candidates ran for seats in the Washington Legislature this fall.
Nine Black women, all Democrats, were on the general election ballot in legislative districts around Western Washington. Had they all won, it would have doubled (from 5 to 10) the number of Black members in the Washington Legislature.
The slate had backing from a newly established political action committee called Opportunity PAC. Organized labor led by the statewide teachers union provided a big chunk of that PAC's financing.
At this point, the two incumbent Black female state representatives are cruising to easy reelection. The sole Black state Senate candidate, T'wina Nobles, is narrowly bumping off an incumbent state Senator. That was one of the most expensive legislative races of this cycle in Washington, by the way. Of the other Black women state house candidates, four are leading and two are trailing.
-- Tom Banse
King County Amendments
6:15 a.m. -- King County Charter Amendment 5 is currently passing with 56% of the vote. It would change the King County sheriff job into an appointed position.
The sheriff's role is currently an elected position. Under the charter amendment, the sheriff will be appointed by the King County Council.
Charter Amendment 6 is also passing with 63% of the vote. This amendment allows the County Council the ability the reduce the sheriff's duties and power. It would also impact the bargaining power of unions.
-- Paige Browning
Incumbents fared well in 9 statewide races
6 a.m. -- Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both Democrats, earned third terms.
Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman -- also seeking a third term -- was leading her Democratic challenger Tuesday night. And incumbent state schools superintendent Chris Reykdal was well ahead in his race, one that was thought to be more competitive.
The state’s Democratic state auditor and commissioner of public lands and insurance commissioner were all cruising to re-election. In the state’s open lieutenant governor’s race featuring two Democrats, retiring Congressman Denny Heck came in first. The one apparent upset of the night was Republican incumbent state Treasurer Duane Davidson. He was trailing Democrat Mike Pellicciotti, a state lawmaker.
-- Austin Jenkins
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Marilyn Strickland leading in the 10th Congressional District
11:20 p.m. -- Former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland has opened up a big lead in the race or the 10th Congressional District seat.
After the first count, Strickland is ahead with around 50.19% of the vote. Her opponent, state Representative Beth Doglio, has 36.93%.
Both candidates for this open seat in the Olympia -Tacoma area are Democrats.
Strickland says her positions on three issues resonated most with voters: the pandemic, the economic crisis and issues around racial injustice.
Strickland also served as head of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
If she wins, Strickland would be the first Black person elected to Congress from the Pacific Northwest. She would also be the first Korean-American woman ever elected to Congress.
The earliest ballots of them all came by fax from India
11 p.m. — One of the first ballots to arrive for the general election in Washington state came by fax from India, according to data from the Secretary of State.
The ballot arrived on September 18 – the earliest day that a ballot could have arrived — nearly a month and a half before Election Day.
Tens of others also arrived on that day. These were voters casting absentee ballots – either because they live overseas or are in the military. Records show they live in France, India, Australia, New Zealand.
In Washington state, absentee ballots must be received within 20 days after the general election –a stark contrast with states where lawmakers have pushed to cut off vote counts when polls close on Election Day.
WA GOP chair reflects on gubernatorial loss
10:30 p.m. -- The chairman of the Washington state Republican Party says there is a lesson to be learned from this year's poor GOP showing in the governor's race.
Democrat Jay Inslee easily won election to a third term against Republican Loren Culp, the police chief of the tiny town of Republic, Washington.
GOP chair Caleb Heimlich said the results show the party needs to improve its outreach to voters in King County, where Culp received only 23% of the vote.
“Clearly we have got to do better," Heimlich said. “We just can't be competitive statewide with that margin in King County.”
Heimlich says Donald Trump's poor showing in the state also is impacting the party's statewide candidates. Trump is currently trailing Joe Biden by 25% points in Washington.
There are currently only two GOP statewide officeholders, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Treasurer Duane Davidson. Wyman is currently ahead in her re-election bid, but Davidson is trailing his Democratic opponent by 10 percentage points.
Protests emerge on election night
8:30 p.m. — People marched through South Lake Union on Tuesday evening, as part of Black Lives Matter/Seattle Evening March demonstrations.
Speakers at Cascade Park voiced a dissatisfaction with both presidential candidates —Democrat Joe Biden and Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
Seattleites registered to vote in Texas fly home to cast ballots
8 p.m. — Carson Bryant, a junior at the University of Washington, joined a surge of college students and others who have descended upon their home state of Texas to vote.
From California, Indiana, Ohio, Washington, and even Switzerland, Texans have traveled home to vote in person.
That's because Texans living out of state have had trouble getting absentee ballots, forcing some to choose between not voting and a long, expensive trip to the polls.
“With corona and stuff, I was like, I'm not sure if it's worth actually flying all the way out to Texas,” said Bryant. “Also, it's kind of expensive, and I'm a broke college kid.”
Seattle voters gather outdoors to watch election results roll in
7 p.m. — About a dozen Seattle voters, some children, and their pets, circled up outside in the Ravenna neighborhood, conforming to Covid protocols to maintain safety.
They ate pizza and watched as election results began to roll in from a neighbor’s television, set up outside on a porch.
While on Capitol Hill, two others are doing something similar.
They moved a television to face the street, and from the outside of the window, they watched the results come in.
How fake is that post? This will help you spot deception after the election
6 p.m. — What is the difference between misinformation and disinformation? Intention.
Misinformation can include honest mistakes, accidents, posts shared without close reading, and the small decisions everybody makes as they navigate information online.
Virality is especially important when it comes to misinformation, as the ease through which articles, memes, and videos circulate on the internet is often the result of quick button-clicking from millions of users. Misinformation is not seeking to maliciously deceive.
Disinformation, in contrast, harbors an intent to deceive. This can mean a creator or group intends for false stories to circulate online by strategically manipulating emotions and biases, such as political beliefs or social issues a user supports.
King County Elections: In-person voters should visit stations in Kent, Federal Way, or at CenturyLink Field
5 p.m. — King County Elections tweeted that a Renton voting center is experiencing long wait times as the 8 p.m. deadline to cast one's ballot approaches.
Officials are recommending that last-minute, in-person voters to visit polling stations at CenturyLink Field, and in Kent and Federal Way. More on these locations below:
- CenturyLink Field Event Center: Located at 800 Occidental Ave S. | Seattle, WA 98134. A drive-up entrance is located at 2100 S Royal Brougham Way, and there's a walk-in entrance on the corner of Occidental Ave S. and S. Royal Brougham Way.
- Accesso ShoWare Center: Located at 625 W James Street | Kent, WA 98032.
- Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center: 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S. | Federal Way, WA 98003.
On Election Day, WA Republicans predict initial returns will favor Democrats
2 p.m. — At the online Election Day rally, House Republican leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox said he believes Republicans are casting their votes later, and the ballot count this week will reflect that. “That first announced vote is going to be pretty heavily Democrat, I think,” he said. “Because I think our votes are all coming late. We’re going to see a big trend on Wednesday and then we’re going to see more result Thursday and Friday – most things will be decided by Thursday and Friday.”
WSRP Chair Caleb Heimlich agreed that early returns will likely be stronger for Democrats. “I am confident that Wednesday night and Thursday night we will see more Republican ballots and results will be shifting our way,” he said, adding that “a lot of Republicans are a little more traditional, they prefer to vote on Election Day.”
Wilcox said in close races the Republican party will need to focus on what he called ballot “rehab.” That can mean following up with voters whose ballots weren’t counted because of problems with signature verification.
-- Amy Radil
Federal officials call elections process in Washington State "amazingly quiet" so far
1 p.m. - According to the U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Brian Moran, Election Day in Washington has been uneventful over Tuesday morning.
Moran said federal officials have seen no credible threats to the elections process in Washington state. He said Washington’s vote-by-mail system typically generates few complaints of voter fraud or suppression.
Moran said any potential civil unrest is the biggest concern for his office right now.
“I think probably the thing I’m most attuned to, given our history of holding mail-in elections, is the unrest,” he said. “And if it comes, it could be significant, it could be prolonged.”
But Moran said so far he’s only seen calls for peaceful demonstrations.
He said a number of assistant U.S. attorneys in his office are on “what I will call 'ready alert,' if we have to scramble folks and get them working on search warrants for unrest, or complaints and answer the questions that invariably flow into our office from law enforcement, we want to make sure we’re ready,” he said.
Moran said he will brief with federal law enforcement officers this afternoon, and then monitor the election from the fusion center in the FBI building.
-- Amy Radil
Dispatches from the drop box -- Century Link Field
12:50 p.m. -- The vibe is positive at Century Link Field's voting center.
Seattle businesses board up before the election
Joshua McNichols on Capitol Hill 11-3-20
KUOW's Joshua McNichols reports from Capitol Hill in the early afternoon on Nov. 3, 2020. Some businesses were boarding up their windows ahead of election results.
Noon -- Anticipating potential reactions to the election, some businesses in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood and downtown boarded up their windows and doors by Tuesday morning.
KUOW's Joshua McNichols reports that many of the large corporate businesses were well boarded up on Capitol Hill. Many small, local businesses remained open, however.
The neighborhoods have experienced ongoing demonstrations over the summer, some of which have resulted in vandalism and damage to storefronts.
-- Dyer Oxley
1 millionth ballot opened in King County
11 a.m. -- King County Elections opened its millionth ballot Tuesday morning.
According to a video the elections office tweeted out, they will beat the record set in 2016 when King County posted 615,000 ballot results on election night. They expect more than 1 million on election night this year.
While the millionth ballot has been opened, it has not yet been scanned which happens later Tuesday when official counts begin.
-- Dyer Oxley
73% of ballots returned in Washington state, so far
10 a.m. -- As of Tuesday morning, more than 3.5 million people in Washington state cast their ballots -- that's about 73% of all registered voters in the state.
And a steady stream of voters made their way to the King County Elections headquarters in Renton Monday, taking care of last-minute concerns and registrations.
If you still have to register to vote, or you need a replacement ballot, you have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to take care of that business at your county elections office.
There are 509 drop boxes and 27 vote centers across Washington, including six centers in King County and three in Snohomish County. All will be open until 8 p.m.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman has said that she expects a near 90% turnout.
- 73% ballots returned across Washington state
- King County: 76% of ballots returned
- Pierce County: 70% of ballots returned
- Snohomish County: 71% of ballots returned
-- Angela King
Dispatches from the drop box -- Garfield Community Center
9:45 a.m. -- KUOW's Joshua McNichols is stationed outside the Garfield Community Center as voters hurried to turn in their ballots in the early morning on Election Day.
Voters have until 8 p.m. to return their ballot or have it post marked.
-- Dyer Oxley
10 things to watch around Washington on Election Day
8:58 a.m. -- While the nation's attention is focused on the presidential election, there are a handful of races and issues on Washington ballots that will greatly influence the future of local life.
KUOW's Austin Jenkins and David Hyde have rounded up a collection of 10 races and issues to keep an eye on as votes are counted. They include:
- Governor's Race
- 8th Congressional District
- Secretary of State
- 10th Congressional District
- 28th Legislative District Senate Race
- Washington's Obama-to-Trump Counties
- 19th Legislative District: Senate and House Races
- 3rd Congressional District
- Spokane County
- Potential hacking?
-- Dyer Oxley
How Seattleites are preparing for Election Night ... whatever happens
8:42 a.m. -- Many in Seattle are preparing for the aftermath of Election Day. No matter what the results may be, some report stocking up on food, gassing up their cars, and even taking time off of work.
The preparations are prompted by fears of potential civil unrest in the city as local and national communities face political division.
Others are planning to attend “Protect the Results” demonstrations in the city, but they also worry about agitators coopting the event.
And others are opting to focus on their mental health, by taking a walk outside, and having socially distanced conversations with neighbors.
Read more details here with reporting from KUOW's Ashley Hiruko, Eilis O'Neil, and Esmy Jimenez.
-- Dyer Oxley
Calls for nonviolence from across Washington's political spectrum
A call for nonviolence from across the political spectrum in Washington
8 a.m. -- Whether the message is coming from the left or the right, leaders across Washington's political spectrum are calling for nonviolent responses to the election, no matter the results.
One such voice is Matt Marshall. He's the founder of the Washington Three Percent, a right-wing group that often holds gun rights rallies and has been referred to as a militia.
Marshall says he has instructed his members “to stay home, sit on the couch, and watch the results ... The organization already knows to stay home. This is not our fight.”
Another voice is Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, also referred to as the "Bishop of Antifa." He has prepared for Election Day by holding "militant non-violent civil disobedience and de-escalation" trainings over the last few months.
But he says that he expects that someone, somewhere will respond to the election results armed.
“I pray there are not shootouts. I pray that they stand down,” Sekou said.
"The worst case scenario is that we have Charlottesville happening at the same time, all over the country following the election -- that’s what my fear is,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Seattle branch of the FBI reports that is it not monitoring any specific groups around the election. The agency is, however, working with local law enforcement to ensure a secure election.
“We’re not blind to the fact of the polarization of both sides of the aisle this year with the election,” says Steve Bernd, a spokesperson with the FBI Seattle Division.
“Every election to the FBI is considered a national security event,” Bernd says. “This year, of course, nobody can deny that it’s different than other years.”
Read more details here, with reporting from KUOW's Casey Martin.
-- Dyer Oxley
Gov. Inslee's statement on the election
7:45 a.m. -- Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a statement Monday night, noting that the election is not over until all votes are counted and certified. He also cautioned that results likely won't be known on Tuesday night.
Inslee also called for civility and nonviolence in response to the election.
"Record voter turnout in Washington state and around the nation is a powerful reminder of who's in charge as this tumultuous election reaches its final state: The people," Inslee said. "That means elections are not final until all votes are counted. There may be instances where the outcomes aren't certain on election night. Washingtonians' commitment to civility, respect and nonviolence will be honored during that time. Nothing could be more important for the continuation of our democracy."
"We know elections take time to count accurately. We know how this works and we can be a model for the nation. Our government's power belongs to the people. It did before this election, and that will continue after this election."
-- Dyer Oxley
Paramilitary groups and the election
7:30 a.m. -- Activity by armed paramilitary groups has been on the rise for months. And as the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of Tuesday's election, some are concerned that armed militias could contest the results.
While it is legal to carry a weapon for personal protection, it is illegal to take part in organized paramilitary activities. But Investigative Journalist Katie Hayes found those laws are largely unenforced.
"First of all, they're confusing," Hayes said. "Because they haven't been used a lot in the past; they're not laws people are really all that familiar with. And I think there's also a fundamental misunderstanding of the Second Amendment. It allows for your own personal protection, but it doesn't allow you to assemble as a military company and it doesn't allow you to take on the role of law enforcement."
"So, in the case of the Three Percenters (a local Washington militia), when I was talking to the Olympia police chief, his explanation was, 'I can't tell if these people are assembling as a militia.' If you have a group of people who are armed, and have been invited there by the gun store owner, is that paramilitary activity or is that people who are protecting property that they've been invited to protect?"
Hayes says the issue has been made more complicated by some local politicians who seem to be endorsing this type of militia activity.
Still, if voters see a group of armed individuals at a polling place or anywhere else in the coming days, Hayes says they should call the police.
You can read more about her investigation at Crosscut.
-- Kim Shepard
At least 14 Seattle streets to close on Election Night
Why 14 Seattle streets will be shut down on Election Day
7 a.m. -- At least 14 streets in Seattle will shut down Tuesday night, for a special election version of the city's street closures.
With people glued to the election results, many may want -- or need -- a break to let out some energy.
You can close down your street to do just that.
For one night only, the city's transportation department will let you close your own street without a permit. You just need to register the location and your name online, and close it with garbage bins or other barriers. They can be blocked off until 9 p.m.
Arterials, urban centers, and streets next to a ballot drop box are not eligible.
SDOT recommends people use it to show an outdoor movie, have a physically distant dinner party or activity, and take a break from the election results.
The "stay healthy block" program in Seattle has been popular. More than 200 people did street closures for Halloween. Another 14 are signed up for Tuesday tonight, so far.
-- Paige Browning
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Cheering squad at the Ballard drop box and a couple of first time voter sightings
7:30 p.m. - The Ballard drop box is the most popular place to drop off ballots in King County. A group of neighborhood leaders have been staffing a table nearby and cheering voters as they drop off their ballots.
Ruby Stauffer was among those applauding voters late Monday night. Stauffer turned 18 years old just two months after the last presidential election, missing the chance to vote in that one by a hair, "which was really heartbreaking and tragic not to be able to do anything about it," she said.
Stauffer voted the day she received her ballot, but wanted to do more. And so she's been spending time here applauding voters, offering them a piece of candy and a sticker that says “I voted...” and because it’s 2020, a squirt of hand sanitizer.
“I’m actually in nursing school," she explained, "and so knowing the impact that this election could have on my future patients – health care, social justice, racial justice - I think it’s just so important to encourage people to vote and reward them.”
One of the people Stauffer and her neighbors showered with cheers Monday night was J.P. Alvarez.
He came to the U.S. from El Salvador in 1980 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000, but this election is the first time he’s ever voted.
“Believe it or not, I’m 47 years old and this is the first time," he said. "I don’t know why I haven’t voted. But the reality is, I think it’s time for change and I think it’s time for my kids to have a better future.”
-- Joshua McNichols
King County Elections correction
3:13 p.m. -- King County Elections is correcting the record -- and their math -- about the number of ballots returned so far.
Earlier Tuesday, officials stated that the return rate is 80% so far. However, it is actually 75% as of Monday afternoon.
-- Dyer Oxley
Most but not all King County ballots expected to be counted Tuesday night
1:33 p.m. — Officials with King County Elections say they expect to have roughly 1 million ballots counted by Tuesday night. That's about 78% of their predicted overall voter turnout, which is 90%.
King County's current record for counting ballots on Election Day stands at 615,000. They're expecting that record to be shattered this year.
Tuesday night's count is not likely to include ballots that are picked up or delivered on Monday.
68% of ballots returned in Washington state
10 a.m. — About 68% of registered voters in Washington state have now returned their ballots -- that's more than 3 million ballots.
That beats 2016's returns. A total of 44% of ballots came in during this same time period leading up to the election that year.
A closer look at the return numbers:
- 72% of registered voters have returned ballots in King County
- 67% of voters have returned ballots in Snohomish County.
- 64% of ballots returned in Pierce County
- Legislative District 36: 78.71% of ballots returned
- Legislative District 46: 77.68% of ballots returned
- Congressional District 7: 76.53% of ballots returned
Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday night, November 3 to return their ballot to a drop box, or have it postmarked in the mail.
— Angela King
Hundreds of volunteers slated to help King County elections
Hundreds of volunteers step up to help last minute voters in King County
Hundreds of volunteers step up to help last minute voters in King County
9 a.m. — This election has shattered early voting records, but lots of staff and volunteers will be on hand in King County to help those voters who are waiting until the last minute to cast their ballots.
By day, Ashley Shultz is a paralegal with King County. But in the past few elections she’s also volunteered at ballot drop boxes as election day winds down.
“It just brings me joy to be out there and say, thanks for voting, or ‘have a good night,’” Shultz said.
Shultz is one of hundreds of county staff who volunteer their time. Election staff are also on site at the drop boxes and this year, private security, as well as police officers directing traffic at the busiest locations.
Shultz helps count down until 8 p.m. Tuesday when ballot boxes close, and stations herself at the end of the line.
“So if they’re in line by 8 p.m. then I’d stand behind them with my orange baton, and indicate who was last in line so then they can submit their ballot, because they were there on time.”
If people show up after that, volunteers and staff will accept their ballots, but they’ll be placed in a separate bag and will not be eligible to be counted. Those voters will get a letter explaining why.
— Amy Radil
Vote centers open in King and Snohomish County
8 a.m. — There's plenty of help out there if you have any questions about your ballot or still need to register to vote.
King County opened six new vote centers over the weekend -- the two in Seattle are at the Century Link Field Event Center and the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor Center.
If you're outside of Seattle, you can go to the centers at the Bellevue College gym, the ShoWare Center in Kent, the Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center, and Kenmore City Hall.
They'll be open Monday until 6 p.m. and Tuesday until 8 p.m.
The same goes for the voting centers in Snohomish County located in Lynnwood, Everett, Arlington. There will also be a voter center at the Snohomish County Auditor's office.
See a list of Pierce County ballot drop boxes and other voting information here.
— Angela King
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30
Where King County voters can go for assistance this weekend
6:45p.m. — Where King County voters can go for assistance this weekend
With four days to go until Election Day, King County Elections Director Julie Wise says voter turnout is "unprecedented." Wise thinks total turnout in her county could exceed earlier predictions of 90%.
She points to the nearly 70% of ballots already returned as of today, a record at this stage of the election.
Wise describes the six King County voting centers opening tomorrow at 10a as "one-stop shops" to assist voters with registration, replacing ballots, getting voters pamphlets, and they will accept completed ballots as well.
The centers are at Century Link Field Event Center and the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor Center.
Outside of Seattle, voting centers will open at Bellevue College's gym, the ShoWare Center in Kent, Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center, and Kenmore City Hall.
They'll be open Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
— Kim Malcolm
On Election night, staff, volunteers and private security will monitor King County drop boxes
4 p.m. — This election has shattered records for early voting. But in King County, people who wait until the last minute to deliver their ballot will see lots of staff and volunteers on hand.
By day, Ashley Shultz is a paralegal with King County. But in the past few elections she’s also volunteered at ballot drop boxes as election day winds down. “It just brings me joy to be out there and say, 'thanks for voting,' or ‘have a good night’," she said.
Shultz is one of hundreds of county staff who volunteer their time. Election staff are also on site at the 73 drop boxes and this year, unarmed private security, as well as police officers directing traffic at the busiest locations.
Shultz helps count down until 8pm Tuesday when drop boxes close, and stations herself at the end of the line. “So if they’re in line by 8pm then I’d stand behind them with my orange baton, or if it’s a car, stand behind them, and indicate who was last in line so then they can submit their ballot, because they were there on time," she said.
If people show up after that 8pm deadline, volunteers and staff will accept their ballots, but they’ll be placed in a separate bag and will not be eligible to be counted. Those voters will get a letter from King County Elections explaining why.
New voter registrations lag 2016 count
High ballot returns, lower voter registration in Washington
2:46 p.m. — Despite intense interest in the 2020 election, voter registrations in Washington have actually lagged this year -- compared to four years ago.
In 2016, about half-a-million people registered to vote in Washington. So far this year, the state has recorded approximately 440-thousand new registrations. That’s a 14 percent drop.
The Covid pandemic was likely a factor in depressing registration numbers this spring.
However, the last two months have shown something of a rebound. Just since September 1, there’ve been nearly 200-thousand new registrations. And, overall, the state has many more voters in 2020 than it did in 2016.
Another interesting trend. The greatest percentage of new registrations since the last presidential election have happened in Republican held legislative districts. Since Washington voters don’t register by party, it’s hard to know which party will benefit from those new voters.
The window for online registration has closed. But Washington now allows in-person registration up until 8 O’clock on Election night.
More on the voter registration trend is here.
More vote centers are opening up on Saturday
8:15 a.m. — In addition to the six announced in King County, Snohomish County is opening up three voting centers on Saturday.
They'll be in Lynnwood, Everett, and Arlington. There will also be a voter center at the Snohomish County Auditor's office.
Drop by if you need to register to vote, update registration information, or have any questions about your ballot.
Voters can use one of the 30 the drop boxes in the county.
National Guard will stage soldiers around western Washington ahead of election
8 a.m. — The Washington National Guard is planning to "pre-stage" citizen soldiers around Western Washington in case there's election-related unrest next week.
The Washington State Military Department declined for "security reasons" to go into detail about the number of National Guardsmen involved or which places they will be staged during Election Week.
Agency spokeswoman Karina Shagren cautioned that the state has no intel to suggest any specific threat of unrest, but wants to be prepared to respond quickly.
"It is important to remember that the National Guard does not self-deploy," Shagren said. "The National Guard only sends help when it is requested from either local jurisdictions or local law enforcement. At this point, there have been no official requests for our support."
Earlier this month, the Washington National Guard announced it would train hundreds of additional soldiers in crowd control so they can assist in case of post-election violence. Other guard members previously pulled that duty in June at the height of racial justice protests in the Puget Sound region.
More than 60% of ballots returned in Washington
7:35 a.m. — Early voting is way up this year in Washington state. More than 60% percent of ballots have already been returned statewide — far more than during the same time period in 2016.
As of now, first place for early voting goes to Jefferson County on the Olympic Peninsula. More than 74% of ballots have been returned. That’s about a big increase from this time in 2016.
"This is an extremely liberal community. With a lot of old people. The county has the oldest demographic in Washington State," said Jason Victor Serinus, a writer who lives in Port Townsend, in Jefferson County.
In 2016 Jefferson County voters went heavily for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
Pacific County in southwestern Washington is a close second to Jefferson County. Most voters there picked Donald Trump in 2016. But they went for Barack Obama in 2012.
10 things to watch for in Washington's 2020 election
7 a.m. — The first thing to know is that the governor's race is lopsided. It would be a HUGE upset if Loren Culp beat incumbent Jay Inslee.
Inslee has amassed a $8 million war chest, but is running a relatively low-key campaign. He hasn’t talked much about what he wants to accomplish in a third term, beyond leading the state’s recovery from the Covid pandemic and rebuilding the economy.
—Austin Jenkins and David Hyde
Wednesday, October 28
Left and right still talk in this district east of Seattle, but what does that mean when their candidate lands in D.C.?
The 8th Congressional district, which stretches from Issaquah to Chelan (!) is one of the eight most purple districts in the country.
People here think about their candidates in a bipartisan manner — they vote thinking about policy and character more than the party line. And they are comfortable talking with their neighbors, no matter who they vote for. This district is a nod to days gone by, when districts featured red and blue living alongside each other.
Photos: Ballot counting in action at King County's election headquarters in Renton
Those early ballots are being counted! Megan Farmer, KUOW's staff photographer, visited the King County Elections building in Renton to see what was happening.