Seattle and King County Elections 2019
START HERE ➞ Seattleites typically vote on stuff every 2 years. We vote by mail! Ballots for the Primary Election will be mailed out on July 18 (Primary Election is Aug. 6 / General is Nov. 4)
What district do I live in?In short: If you live in or around Beacon Hill, you’re probably in District 2 (or “D2”) For the long answer, keep reading!
What is a “district”?Districts designate geographical areas in order to balance representation among legislators / legislative bodies for voters. NOTE: Both City and County councils have nine members who serve four-year terms. All council elections are non-partisan, though council members may be members of particular political parties.
What are we voting on?At the County Level: Commissioners for each of the following: King County Council member for D2, Port of Seattle positions 2 & 5 (voted for “at large” vs. by district), & our Water & Sewer Districts (8 commissioner positions total to be voted on by the people). Plus: King Co. Assessor, Elections Director, Prosecutor & Superior Court judges & a few other things. (Continue reading on the upper-right!)
|At the City Level:
The Seattle City Council member for D2+ Plus a whole bunch of ballot measures, and some public schools Directors (not in our district, which is D7) & public hospital stuff.
Wait—what are ballot measures?Mostly proposed laws (or legislation), some proposed by legislators / or legislative bodies—like our County or City council, for instance—and some are “initiated” by regular folx. The latter are called initiatives (often shortened to “I” something, e.g. I-940). These could be increases/decreases in taxes, gun restrictions, anything, really. Tip: Look for County/City voters guides/pamphlets to guide you on all of the above. Will be available online here soon!
Now, some details:Districts — If you live in/near Beacon Hill, you’re likely in District 2 (or “D2”). But districts are complicated. Seattleites belong to specific districts—with varying geographical boundaries—based on where they live and what governing body (or bodies) oversee the area.King County residents belong to County Council and City Council voting districts. Beacon Hill is in “District 2” for both governing bodies, but the County council D2 covers a larger area. The county and city districts share a name and numerical value—and their boundaries overlap—but the two districts called “District 2” are not one in the same. Ex: Fremont is in County Council D2, but depending on where Fremonsters live, they might be in *City* Council D4 or D6!). NOTE: We also have two “at-large” City Council members representing all of Seattle.
Tell me more about:The Seattle City Council—Approves the city’s budget and develops laws and policies for the city. The King County Council—Sets policies, enacts laws, and adopts budgets “that guide an array of services.” This council holds final approval over the budget for the county. The Port of Seattle—A “special-purpose municipal corporation” that serves King Co., that connects WA State travel & transportation services—aviation (planes / airports; they own/operate SeaTac!), maritime (boats), & rail (trains, but not Sound Transit’s Link light rail). Manages logistics of various means of travel, & trade services. They also own/manage A LOT of public real estate. Five “commissioners” govern the Port (serving 4-year terms). The King County Assessor, Elections Director, and Prosecutor—Assessor: assesses property values. Elections Director: oversees “accurate, secure, and accessible elections.” Prosecutor: heads up the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (which employs 400+ ppl).
So what does the mayor do?The mayor is the head of the executive branch of the Seattle government. Is authorized by the city charter to enforce laws enacted by City Council and directs various officers in city departments. Also preps the city’s budget for Council approval. What are “Primary” Vs. “General” elections? During the “Primaries,” we vote for our favorite candidates. The top two contenders move on to the General election in November. *Primary Elections: Aug. 6 | General Election: Nov. 5 ✓✓✓ NOTE: Voters will see 3 WA State Court of Appeals judges for Division 1 (which is based in Seattle) in the General. These seats are uncontested, the judges are running to keep their jobs.
…And what the heck is a “Candidate Forum”?An opportunity for voters to meet candidates running in an upcoming election, publicly, to learn about their platforms—ideas, values, priorities—ask them questions, and (sometimes) more.
Beacon Hill’s District 2 Candidate Forum @ Centilia Cultural Center (1660 Roberto Maestas Fest. St) Thurs., July 18 from 6:30 – 8 PM. * FREE PUBLIC EVENT *
District 2 Neighborhood Candidate Forum (see Events page) @ New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave S.) Wed., Oct. 23 from 6 – 9 PM. * FREE PUBLIC EVENT *LEARN & DO MORE: Make sure you’re registered to vote, find your districts, and more on kingcounty.gov. NOTE: You should have received your ballot, voter’s pamphlet, and election guide in the mail by now. If you have not received these materials, go to http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/ and make sure you get what you need. You can also contact the elections department directly via email or phone:
Phone: 206-296-VOTE (8683)
- 8 days before Election Day: To register by mail or online, your application must be received no later than 8 days before Election Day.
- Election Day: Visit a local voting center to register or update your address in person no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.(Note: “Election Day” is usually considered November 5, when we vote in the General Election. If you want to vote in the Primary Election on August 6, be sure to check your voter registration at least 8 days prior to that election to be sure your vote will be counted. Then vote again on or before November 5 in the General.)
- Seattle City Council (on KingCounty.gov) and even more (on Wikipedia)
- The bazillion people who filed to run for City Council this year (a record number!)
- Candidates for County and City Council and more (note: most candidates will have their own websites / social media with further info about their platforms, etc., so do poke around on the web if you want to delve further into the candidates)
- The Port of Seattle
- King County government (Ballotpedia has lots of helpful info)
- WA 2019 elections, specifically (including local stuff, also via Ballotpedia)
- Seattle / King County elections (who’s who, what’s what, how/when to vote, elections ethics, and more)
- WA Secretary of State website w/ more voter/voting info (plus printable voter registration forms)
- Our elections process and history, special elections, ballot measures, referendums, and more
Featured image: Official Flag of the City of Seattle (via Seattle.gov City Archives)
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