After a couple hour delay, King County finally reported an additional 52,000 or so ballots today that largely didn't change anything. Compared to last night's count, today's ballots appear to be trending slightly more Republican, though not all the counties that will report have reported, so I've yet to run the numbers through my spreadsheet. For the moment, Jay Inslee and R-74 still lead by similar margins as last night.
The bigger news though is the turnout. King County Elections estimates that it has received about 985,000 ballots so far, about an 84 percent turnout. If past experience is any guide, there are still about another 25,000 ballots in the mail. That could push turnout up over 86 percent. No idea yet on how this compares to the rest of the state.
UPDATE: All the counties that will report today have reported today, and today's batch did trend slightly toward Rob McKenna. Inslee now leads with 51.16 percent of the vote and 48,766 vote margin, down from 51.32 percent and a 50,209 vote margin last night. A caveat, though: Due to King County's lower than expected ballot report today, King County makes up a significantly smaller percentage of today's new ballots statewide: Only 24.7 percent today of the ballots counted today compared to 28.6 percent of those reported last night. King County has 30 percent of registered voters statewide, so today's trend isn't enough to suggest a late McKenna surge.
On the other hand, Referendum 74 actually expanded its lead, from 51.79 percent and a 68,111 vote margin last night to 51.96 percent and a 82,698 vote margin today. So R-74's sponsor should remain perfectly comfortable in declaring victory.
More analysis later.
Now that Washington State voters have passed Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana, Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department, says this: "For us, the law has changed, and people can expect no enforcement for possession." The law takes effect on December 6.
To put Whitcomb's comments in context, check out the post I wrote earlier today about I-502; prosecutors explained that they wouldn't be charging pot possession cases starting on December 6, and the city attorney said there's nothing the feds could do about the state's new possession law.
Still, Whitcomb acknowledges that implementing legalization is uncharted territory, particularly portions of the law that deal with licensing growers, distributors, and sellers. "It is complicated because state law is now in contrast to federal law," he says. "We are in this gray area right now where we are going to be looking for some immediate guidance from the Washington State Attorney General's Office," which is run by Republican Rob McKenna (at least for the next two months).
But he reiterates: "What you can expect is no enforcement on possession—that is a reasonable expectation."
The Washington State Liquor Control Board will now begin a rule-making process for potential marijuana businesses that will last at least one year. Whitcomb reminds people that, until then, selling pot remains illegal. "There are some people who think this is going to be de facto legal everything," he says, "and that is just not correct."
In his victory speech last night, President Barack Obama made a point of calling out the inexcusable mess that is election day throughout much of the nation:
“I want to thank every American who participated in this election … whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that.”
Whether it was due to incompetence or bad weather or intentional voter suppression, millions of Americans were forced to wait for hours to exercise their right to vote, and/or jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops in an effort to claim that right. That it is mostly Republicans who are pushing through legislation to require voter ID or to eliminate early voting or to purge the voter rolls of foreign sounding names is evidence enough that one party is seeking to disenfranchise voters for partisan gain. And as President Obama said last night, we have to fix that.
And the easiest fix would by national vote-by-mail.
If Congress required every state to offer a vote-by-mail option to all registered voters who request it, it would go a long way toward eliminating the long lines at polling places we see every election day, by eliminating Republicans' ability to create these lines in the first place. No citizen could be denied the right to vote for lack of a drivers license, or be forced to miss a half day of work due to an understaffed polling place.
Here in Washington and Oregon, there are no lines on election day other than the lines at the bars at the election night parties. If we could drink-by-mail, we could fix that problem too.
As I explained in an early post, vote-by-mail is an efficient, secure process that guarantees a paper trail and eliminates most voter suppression tactics. It's not perfect. If the entire nation was all vote-by-mail, it might be days before we were certain who won yesterday's election. But the inherent delay in counting vote-by-mail ballots is a small price to pay for a free and fair election.
Having already declared victory, leaders of Washington United for Marriage held a press conference this afternoon at the Capitol Hill Action Center to talk about what it means. With a lot of teary eyes in the room, Washington State Senator Ed Murray recalled being the only openly gay member of the legislature when his colleagues there passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2008. By reversing that law at the polls last night, Murray said, "we have rectified an injustice."
State Representative Jamie Pedersen (D-43) thanked the volunteers who had packed in to celebrate, and State Representative Laurie Jinkins (D-27) tried to broaden the victory. "I think we have an even bigger story to tell than Washington State," Jinkins said, referring to the two other states that passed marriage equality measures last night, and noting that both President Obama and Governor Elect Jay Inslee won while being supporters of gay marriage.
Jinkins then turned to her partner, Laura, and said: "I can't wait to marry her."
You can stop refreshing the King County Election results page now. They're not going to post the next drop at 4:30 p.m. as scheduled:
#BREAKING: King Countysays new ballot numbers may be delayed by 2hrs. High volumes meant more maintenance on machines. Now 6:30p #waelex
— Essex J. Porter (@EssexKIRO7) November 8, 2012
Sucks to be doing the 5 o' clock news, Essex.
Chambers' method of "unskewing" polls involved re-weighting the sample to match what he believed the electorate would look like, in terms of party identification. He thought the electorate would lean more Republican when mainstream pollsters routinely found samples that leaned Democratic.
But as it turned out, the pollsters were right — self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 6% in election exit polls.
"I think it was much more in the Democratic direction than most people predicted," Chambers said. "But those assumptions — my assumptions — were wrong."
The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to “normal” levels. Didn’t happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation’s politics.
Glad to see these schmucks owning up to their errors. Has Karl Rove pulled his thumb out of his mouth long enough to apologize for his election night snit-fit yet?
A couple of weeks ago, FBI agents served another May Day-related* subpoena, this one to Olympia resident Matthew "Maddy" Pfeiffer, ordering them ("them" is Pfeiffer's preferred pronoun) to appear at a federal courthouse this morning. Pfeiffer showed up and, according to Facebook, refused to participate. Pfeiffer wasn't immediately taken into custody for contempt of court—as other grand jury refusers/resisters have been—but has a contempt hearing scheduled for mid-December.
If Pfeiffer is held in contempt, they may join the other grand jury refusers/resisters, Matthew Duran and Katherine Olejnik, in SeaTac federal prison. (Leah-Lynn Plante has been released for reasons that remain obscure.)
* The eternal caveat: We don't actually know why the subpoenas were served or what the grand jury was going to ask, since grand juries are secret. But everything points to this grand jury being interested in May Day and anarchists, from the activists whose houses were raided to deliver the subpoenas—wouldn't an afternoon knock on the door have been enough?—to the search warrants looking for "anarchist" and "anti-government" "literature."
More party photos after the jump...
The story comes from The Stranger's own Renee, who writes:
In 2008 I was at the Showbox for the election and I received a random text of excitement. I saved this on my phone for four years, it became the oldest thing on my phone and sort of a great story to tell people and show them. To me it summed up the spirit of the elections that year. Strangers/citizens coming together and voting with conviction and rising up to celebrate that win. (Please forgive the horrible texting shorthand on my part, I had it was difficult to celebrate and text at the same time.)
So, my long-term hope was that four years would pass and Obama would run again and Obama would win and I could hopefully talk to that same person again. I never talked to them in the intervening years. Until last night...
Don't forget! Come sit in a fancy room and drink fancy things and read whatever you feel like reading by the fire. Stranger super-humans Paul Constant and Dominic Holden will be there and would love to sit next to you. A man playing the harp will be there. A pervading sense of happiness and ease will be there. Starts at 6 pm!
In an overshadowed Election Day contest, Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood in a nonbinding referendum, marking the first time such an initiative garnered a majority.
Puerto Ricans were asked about their desires in two parts. First, by a 54% to 46% margin, voters rejected their current status as a U.S. commonwealth. In a separate question, 61% chose statehood as the alternative, compared with 33% for the semi-autonomous "sovereign free association" and 6% for outright independence
It's way more complex than that, of course—our relationship with Puerto Rico is nothing if not complex—and it obviously doesn't guarantee statehood at all. But it does indicate that our relationship with Puerto Rico is due for serious reassessment. What do you think?
Before I say anything else—before I say what I dragged myself out of bed to say—let me say this: we did this. LGBT people came out, fought back, and changed the world. There's a fuck of a lot left to do—repealing DOMA, passing ENDA, completing the repeal of DADT (trans people are still barred from serving in the military), fighting for the rights of queers around the world—but LGBT people have come so far since Stonewall due to our own efforts and sacrifice. It has gotten better for us because we fought to make it better. We demanded better.
Now here's what I want to say: I know so many straight people in Seattle who worked unbelievably hard to approve R-74. They gave money, they volunteered their time, they reached out to friends and relatives and coworkers, all in an effort to make it possible for same-sex couples to marry. Gays and lesbians are a tiny percentage of the population. We couldn't do this on our own. A majority of the legislators who voted for same-sex marriage? Straight. The governor who signed the law making same-sex marriage legal in Washington state? Straight. The majority of the folks manning the phone banks for R-74? Straight. The overwhelming majority of people who voted to approve R-74? Straight. The president who took a huge political risk and came out for marriage equality before his reelection campaign? Straight. It has gotten better for us—better, not perfect—but it hasn't gotten better for us in a vacuum. It's gotten better for us because straight people have gotten better about us.
Whenever you feel politically depressed, remember how fast & comprehensively the straight majority responded to arguments against homophobia
— Johann Hari (@johannhari101) November 7, 2012
The LGBT community in Seattle should do a little something to thank all the righteous, awesome, beautiful straight people who worked so hard—all the straight people who fought so hard, phone banked so hard, donated so hard—to help us win the right to marry in Washington state. All the straight people who worked so hard to make our relationships and our families more secure.
So, yeah, I just wanted to get that off my chest. I've been weepy since I sat down with D.J. this morning and, over pancakes, answered his questions about what R-74's approval meant for him and his family. I sat down to write a "thank you" post after D.J. left for school but it seemed insufficient. For what our straight allies did for us yesterday, for what they did for our kids, I think some sort of big organized event is called for—a party, a bash, a celebration. I think we should thank all the straight people who came through for us in a big, public way. If a party is too impractical, well, then who about some sort of officially declared straight-allies-appreciation day? Something.
Because we couldn't have done it without them.
What do you say?
I'll admit it: I had a post-election freakout of my own, involving a temporarily paralyzing wave of relief and happiness and gratitude at my fellow citizens for upholding gay marriage (in all four states!), punishing rape idiots (both of them!), and electing a bunch of awesome women (Elizabeth Warren! Tammy Baldwin! Claire Mccaskill!) and one at least one awesome man (Obama!).
But my post-election freakout can't compare to the freakout of the woman who was so angry at the reelection of Obama that she posted to YouTube this amazing 24-minute tornado of cuss words, death threats, and furious tips on the proper use of Facebook.
By the time she gets to bragging about her butterscotch schnapps and instructing those who oppose her to "eat me," you'll be wracked by laughter and amazement. Good work, crazy lady!
"Oh, so you're telling me that you can pass a landmark civil rights law but you can't figure out how to send me a link?"
God I love this day.
Okay, okay: I'm just going to put up one more schadenfreude post and then I promise it's back to work. Over at The Corner, John J. Miller writes, "So, it’s pretty clear that Chris Christie won’t be the GOP nominee in 2016, right?"
What follows in the comments is an amazing display of conservative self-torture one-upmanship. Seriously, it's like a masturbatory, conservative 50 Shades of Grey:
I'd rather vote Ron Paul, and I think Ron Paul is a loon. I'd rather walk through fire. I'd rather not eat for two weeks. I'd rather go skydiving without a parachute.
Yes. Yes I would vote for Ron Paul before Christie too. In fact, I would walk through that fire with you to vote for Paul before I supported Christie.
I would carry the two of you on my back through burning broken glass for this exercise.
To add to the totally justified hyperbole: I would rather nail my hand to a burning building than vote for Christie.
Here at Stranger HQ, the cheap champagne is flowing, there's QFC pie and Cool Whip on the table, and we're engaging in some hard-earned gloating about the happy state of marriage, pot, and our other favorite pet issue, Republican Rob McKenna.
Specifically, we're wondering what McKenna ate for breakfast on this fine fall morning—a morning that brings him one step closer to his eventual gubernatorial defeat? Did he fortify his belly with a hearty breakfast of Stranger hack journalists, as his charming daughter and campaign worker Madeleine McKenna once suggested? Or did he stick to a simpler diet of imported jam on sourdough toast?
We can only drink more and speculate. So we must, and wildly!!!
"You know, Romney will still have a good life."
Washington State voters legalized marijuana last night. It was not just a gesture. It was not simply a statement.
Short version: You can legally possess up to an ounce of pot starting on December 6, and the city's prosecutor says there's nothing the feds can do about it.
Full version: By passing Initiative 502, we triggered a complex process to, for the first time in US history, create an above-board marijuana market, but put that out of your head for just a second. All that stuff will be hashed out in the next few years. (The regulations could potentially create a conflict with federal law—many say it doesn't create a conflict with federal law, and others say it does—but that has no bearing on the most important aspect of this law.) Here's what you need to know now. Starting on December 6, I-502's "Section 20" takes unequivocal effect:
The possession, by a person twenty-one years of age or older, of useable marijuana or marijuana-infused products in amounts that do not exceed those set forth in section 15(3) of this act is not a violation of this section, this chapter, or any other provision of Washington state law.
What this means is that in one month, adults 21 and older can legally possess up to one ounce of bud, 16 ounces of solid-form marijuana food products, and 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form (such as lotions or, like, a shocking volume of hash oil). You can also have pot paraphernalia.
This portion of the law, says Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, who is both a prosecutor and a co-sponsor of the initiative, "is simply not preemptable." In other words, Holmes is saying that feds may challenge the licensing and the stores—but not the possession portion. Furthermore, "The feds cannot make the state criminalize that kind of conduct," he says.
I asked State Representative Jamie Pedersen this question the other day and since he's planning on (re)marrying his husband once R-74 takes effect, he knew all the details.
The state's new homo-including marriage law will go into effect on Dec. 5, after the 30-day waiting period for voter-approved measures like this one expires.
People will be able to apply for marriage licenses the next day, Dec. 6.
But, since there's a three-day waiting period for getting married in this state, the first day gay marriages could be performed is Dec. 9.
(I wrote this last night at The Stranger's party for today's issue, which should be hitting the streets any minute now.)
There’s a lot of conventional wisdom that gets tossed around by people like me in situations like this—writing on a tight deadline for the early morning edition of a newspaper in a crowded room full of people screaming for a winning political candidate. And as cliché-riddled as it is, a lot of that conventional wisdom is true. It usually does come down to the ground game. When more people vote, Democrats do win. But my favorite bit of conventional wisdom is this: It’s almost impossible to win an election when your argument is that you’re not the other guy. People don’t vote against a candidate. They vote for a candidate.
That cliché seems especially relevant to me tonight for two reasons. For one thing, it’s one of the many reasons why Mitt Romney lost. When I attended the Republican National Convention back in August, it wasn’t so much a pro-Romney event as an anti-Obama event. The crowd rippled with hatred and disdain for President Obama, for Michelle Obama, for liberals. The compliments for Willard Romney were as thin and unctuous as the film that the Tampa humidity left on everyone’s skin: He’s a family man, a very successful businessman. He was governor of a liberal state. He did something with the Olympics that was positive, or something. All of the passion, all of the excitement, pitched and heaved into hatred.
Attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte a week later was like taking off a smudged pair of glasses: This was a convention about a candidate, a cause, and a community. People smiled, talked about hopes and memories. Romney’s name barely ever came up. I knew then, in some part of my brain immune to superstition, that everything would be all right on election night.
And so here we are...
Last night's marijuana-vote roundup, sent by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:
Colorado: Marijuana legalization - Passed!
Washington: Marijuana legalization - Passed!
Oregon: Marijuana legalization – Failed.
Massachusetts: Medical marijuana - Passed!
Arkansas: Medical marijuana – Failed.
Detroit, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Flint, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Ypsilanti, MI: Marijuana to be lowest law enforcement priority - Passed!
Grand Rapids, MI: Decriminalization of adult marijuana possession - Passed!
Kalamazoo, MI: Three medical marijuana dispensaries permitted in city - Passed!
Burlington, VT: Recommendation that marijuana should be legalized - Passed!
Montana: Referendum restricting medical marijuana likely to pass.
Anti-502 people argued that legalizing pot, pushing it from a legally grey area to an open market, would draw federal/DEA hellfire. But there's something to be said for solidarity. The more states legalize, and the more state-supreme court decisions build a foundation of case law (on what will be some inevitable busts and arrests), the better off we'll be. We can hang together, or we can hang separately.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has until December 1, 2013 to figure out what this new market will look like.
"I'm just so happy that the rest of the state is so upset."
This post has been moved up because that's the kind of whatshertits that I am.
Well, it seems we've got a little censorshipgate in Seattle art this week.
Ben Beres made the print you see above. It's 108 names of women artists in Seattle, each one with a pair of breasts. The breasts are basically, but not exactly, the same. None of the women were asked to participate or model; their names, according to curator/artist Sharon Arnold, form instead a relatively comprehensive list of women artists who are active and well-known in the city. In organizing an all-women show several months ago at Roq La Rue Gallery, Arnold "only got in 40. He did better than I did," she said. Beres hasn't responded yet to a request to talk about what's going on or what he intended with the piece.
But what's going on is this: On Monday, Arnold posted Beres's print to her Facebook page, as part of her promotion for the group show she's put together at Cornish (where she went to school). The group show is called Ils Disent, it opens tonight, and it's a series of responses by male artists to the art and issues raised in Elles, the current exhibition of work by women artists at Seattle Art Museum.
By Tuesday afternoon, Arnold wrote on Facebook that the piece had been pulled from the show. I spoke to her around 6 pm, and she told me that a couple of Cornish staffers among the 108 women whose names Beres listed had complained about having the print on display in their workplace.
"It became an HR issue," she said. "I'll never be at liberty to say who, but I did have a chance to talk to them. ... I'm trying to figure out several things. One is that obviously if this were Microsoft, yeah, it would have to be pulled, but this is an art school. Ultimately, I don't really think it's right that the piece isn't in the show."
Arnold and at least one other artist posted their segments of Beres's print as their profile pictures on Facebook. There, a big discussion was underway. Some of it was lighthearted, about the fact that so-and-so's breasts were not to scale. More was serious, about whether female artists do or should want to be part of the piece (and if they do, whether they feel ashamed about that), whether it represents the "male gaze" or some more critical POV on Beres's part, whether Cornish should have given this piece the publicity that comes with censorship, whether the lack of perfect symmetry in the sketched breasts is empowering to the realities of women's bodies, whether it raised the question of the general scarcity of recognition in Seattle whether you're a male or female artist (as opposed to somewhere like, say, New York).
I'd also really love to hear what the two women who would prefer not to have this print be a part of their working day have to say. I'm hoping they will contact me. Even anonymously, their perspectives are invaluable to the conversation.
And while I don't want this one piece by a dude to steal a season about women in art, this episode is presenting a chance for conversation across gender about gender in the art world, which is great.
When I saw Beres's print, what came first to my mind was my Slog series "Good Job, Whatshertits," which is my way of singling out female artists for attention while also pointing out the objectification that comes with being a female artist in the first place.
Of course, different phrases mean differently when they come out of different mouths, and jokes made by women about women are simply different from jokes made by men about women. Is this print a joke? Beres almost always uses humor in his work. I have a hard time believing it's not both a joke and serious, but I'm not sure exactly how on either side, and maybe that's okay, too. By reducing women to their names and their breasts, he's doing the same thing as the lamer sides of Elles—but what does it mean for a male Seattle artist to do this rather than the French national museum or Seattle's largest museum, or a female Seattle artist?
Maybe we shouldn't get sidetracked too much by the censorship. I spoke last night to gallery director Cable Griffith and Cornish interim provost Jenifer Ward, and they both said it was a torturous decision, involving a lot of wrestling between Cornish being an art school that prizes freedom of expression and a workplace that respects the boundaries of its employees, especially in issues of sexual harassment.
So what if a few people can't walk through the gallery and see the piece itself? The Internet has a far bigger audience than any gallery, and the discussion has begun, both about gender in Seattle art and about conflict within institutions. You can't censor that.
Washington United for Marriage says their campaign to approve gay marriage is definitely a winner. For the same reasons we think Democrat Jay Inslee looks certain to secure the governor's mansion—a good lead combined with ton of uncounted votes coming from populous and liberal King County—they explain their victory in this statement:
After crunching numbers throughout the night, Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the broad coalition which built an historic statewide campaign, from a record-setting donor base to an unprecedented GOTV effort, all to defend the freedom to marry, today announced that Referendum 74 will be approved by voters.
“This is a clear win,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk. “We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”
The incredibly satisfying press release continues after the jump...
Gawker says a bunch of students from University of Mississippi got together to riot when President Obama won reelection:
Local media reports that "hundreds of Ole Miss students exchanged racial epithets and violent, politicized chants" across campus. As many as 400 students are said to have participated. There are also reports that several students were arrested during the protest, though none have been officially charged. There were mixed reports about whether or not rocks were thrown as well.
Ole Miss has apologized.
If you're wondering how a slew of Republican rape apologists did during election night (spoiler alert: It seems that women have ways of shutting that whole thing down), Jezebel has the comprehensive national roundup:
There were the obvious big losses — Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin lost in Missouri and Richard "Rape Pregnancy is a Gift from God" Mourdock got his Tea Party ass handed to him in Indiana, but even the politicians who don't bat cleanup on Team Rape didn't do so great yesterday.
Once you're done laughing, be a dear, grab a shovel, and help these guys finish burying their careers.
Red State commenter Sybile was nice enough to aggregate many of Red State's most egregious Romney win predictions into a single post. Let's take a look at some of those, shall we?
Yes…that’s right…the “great” Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times, is calling anyone who thinks the election doesn’t currently reflect an impending Obama blowout STUPID.
And who does Krugman cite in defending his oh-so-brilliant assertion? Why it’s none other than fellow left-wing pundit, Daily Kos blogger and poll cherry-picker, Nate Silver.
In other words, according to an Obama acolyte relying on the prediction of another, Obama is winning big…and anyone who doesn’t recognize this is…STUPID.
Some foolishly think the Tea Party has disappeared. That it was nothing more than a temporary flash in the pan. Nothing more than a way for frustrated Americans to ventilate their grievances and move on. But they are so wrong....If I had to say where I think we are in terms of winning this war, I would wager that we may be about a fourth to a half of the way there.
I’m looking forward to the election next week. It is one of the most substantive ways we measure our progress.
1. Race...many whites will not tell pollsters they are voting against Barack Obama for fear of being labeled a racist...2. Enthusiasm: The overwhelming majority of polls that have been run over this election cycle have greatly oversampled Democrats while simultaneously undersampling Republicans...3. Hurricane Sandy: The aftermath of hurricane Sandy will not be good for Barack Obama...4. Undecided voters
There are so many more, including: