All results are preliminary: Spokane County released its early vote totals tonight. Statewide measures were also awaiting further vote counts.
Washington State Measures
Spokane County: yes: 56.12%; no: 43.88 %
Statewide: yes: 54.62 %; no: 45.38 %
Early results have Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976 passing. It would drop the basic TAB and LICENSING FEES down to $30 for all vehicles under 10,000 pounds.
If approved, the measure will remove the vehicle weight fee and get rid of Transportation Benefit District (TBD) fees, immediately lowering money that local jurisdictions and the state get to repair roads. Spokane gets about $3 million per year from its TBD fee, which pays for about half the city’s efforts to repave and chipseal residential roads.
If it's ultimately passed, the state would stand to lose $1.9 billion for transportation projects over the next six years, with local transportation projects losing $2.3 billion in that same time.
Spokane County: 42.57 approved; 57.43 rejected
Statewide: 49.44 approved; 50.56 rejected as of 8:44 pm
Voters are getting to decide whether they want AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. But in early results, it's too close to call whether Referendum 88 is passing or failing. Gov. Jay Inslee last year signed a measure bringing back affirmative action, which allows public colleges and other entities to consider race as one factor in admissions. The law is intended to help women and minorities have more opportunities for better education, income and employment, but opponents argued that people should be rewarded based on their merit instead. A "yes" vote approves the measure that Inslee signed, and a "no" vote rejects affirmative action.
PROPOSITION 1: YES
Yes: 78.15 %
No: 21.85 %
By approving Proposition 1, the Spokane City Charter will be amended to require all collective bargaining negotiations be transparent and open to public observation.
Better Spokane, the initiative’s sponsor, had argued that the proposition was all about transparency. Unions, however, opposed the measure, arguing that it’s harder to negotiate when both sides are trying to show off for their stakeholders. City Council President Ben Stuckart also opposed the initiative, arguing that, because state labor law generally requires bargaining conditions to be agreed upon by both parties, passage of the proposition would almost certainly expose the city to an expensive lawsuit.
PROPOSITION 2: YES
Yes: 72.79 %
No: 27.21 %
By passing the proposition, the Spokane City Charter will be amended to prohibit the city of Spokane from imposing an income tax on wages, salaries, investments, the sale of goods or services, or any other income source.
After Seattle tried to implement a local income tax, the business-friendly political action group Better Spokane wanted to be extra sure that Spokane couldn’t follow suit and subsequently introduced an initiative to ban taxes on “wages, salaries, investments, the sale of goods or services or any other income source.”
City Council President Ben Stuckart noted during the campaign that Washington’s Constitution already makes income taxes illegal, accusing the ordinance of being a solution in search of a problem. City Council candidate Michael Cathcart, director of Better Spokane, argued, however, that after an appeals court ruled that Seattle had the right to implement a uniform income tax, the question is in doubt.
Spokane Public Schools Board
Position 1: NIKKI LOCKWOOD, an activist and leader of a group called the Every Student Counts Alliance that’s fought for discipline reform, had a lead on KATEY TRELOAR, a former elementary school teacher. Lockwood opposed any armed officers in schools, while Treloar was open to having some Spokane police officers in schools. Lockwood is in favor of a levy to solve the district’s budget crisis, while Treloar called it a “short-term solution to a much bigger problem.”
Position 2: JENNY SLAGLE, who serves on the district’s diversity advisory council and who is the director of tribal relations for the nonprofit Better Health Together, was leading KELLI MACFARLANE, a former full-time teacher who has been a substitute for Spokane Public Schools for the last two years. MacFarlane supports arming officers, while Slagle doesn’t.
Position 4: Former spokesman for Spokane Public Schools, KEVIN MORRISON came away with a hefty lead over ERIN GEORGEN, a part-time physical therapist assistant who also runs a graphic design company. Morrison last year took an interim role as the director of safety and security. And years ago, he managed bond projects for the school district.
Spokane Valley City Council
Bo Tucker: 44.95 %
Tim Hattenburg: 54.37 %
Two self-professed conservatives went head-to-head for this open seat: BO TUCKER, 50, a local chiropractor, and TIM HATTENBURG, 66, a retired Central Valley School District teacher and former library board member.
Tucker describes himself as “fiscally conservative” and says that Spokane Valley needs to stay conservative. Hattenburg, he argued, isn’t a real conservative. Hattenburg, however, was leading in Tuesday night's returns. During the campaign, he framed himself as a lifelong “fiscal conservative” and a “moderate on social issues.” He pointed to his endorsement from Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who is Republican, as evidence of his bipartisan appeal. Tucker has also received support from controversial state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley), who has been widely derided for his involvement in fringe right-wing groups and is currently under investigation to determine if he’s promoted political violence.
Arne Woodard: 55.44 %
Lance Gurel: 43.9 %
Councilman ARNE WOODARD, 66, has been in office since his appointment in 2011, serving as a reliable conservative. He was winning in early voting totals Tuesday night. His opponent, LANCE GUREL, a 70-year-old accountant, aimed to topple him, arguing that he’s better positioned to represent all constituents in Spokane Valley rather than just conservative voters and stakeholders.
On homelessness, Woodard says that he’d like to see the city “do more on the prevention side of it” by keeping people from becoming homeless to begin with. He isn’t vehemently opposed to adding a shelter in Spokane Valley, but argues that it would have to be regionally funded.
Gurel, in contrast, supports “Housing First.” However, while he said that Spokane Valley does need to have a shelter “within the city” in the future, the people who are “best suited” to offer beds now are providers in Spokane.
Brandi Peetz: 49.68 %
Michele Rasmussen: 49.72 %
Spokane Valley Councilwoman BRANDI PEETZ, who was first elected in 2017, was losing by just four votes in early counting to 62-year-old MICHELLE RASMUSSEN, a former assistant to the city manager.
Peetz, 33, has pointed to her constituent engagement — such as “coffee chats” — and her role in getting road maintenance funded using roughly $7 million in surplus funds as some of her accomplishments. Rasmussen, meanwhile, has argued that Peetz hasn’t been financially responsible by voting for using one-time surplus money to fund basic infrastructure. She frames herself as a budget-savvy, true fiscal conservative. She was also described favorably on Rep. Matt Shea’s website as a “solid Christian Conservative” who will keep Spokane Valley “business and Christian friendly.”