by David Ammons | December 5th, 2011
Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed have officially certified the 2011 General Election returns, including statewide ballot propositions, including an initiative that ends state government’s retail liquor monopoly.
Meeting in the governor’s office, they signed documents certifying the vote tallies.
The state enjoyed a better-than-expected “turnout” of 52.95 percent, nearly 1.94 million ballots. The turnout was 6 percentage points higher than forecast for the off-year election with no statewide contests such as governor, U.S. senator or president on the ballot.
Reed noted that this was the first statewide November election conducted completely by mail, and said there was a flurry of interest in our statewide ballot measures, including Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, dealing with tolls and light rail, and the Costco-sponsored liquor privatization proposal. There was record spending on the liquor measure, raising the visibility of the issue and driving more turnout, Reed said.
Eyman’s I-1125 was defeated 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent, with a margin of defeat of about 120,000, primarily in King County. The liquor measure, I-1183, passed handily, 58.7 percent to 41.3 percent, carrying most counties. A third initiative, I-1163, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, to require training of homecare workers, was even more popular, passing 65-35 and carrying all 39 counties.
San Juan County had the highest turnout, almost 70 percent (69.55 percent). Other counties also broke 60 percent, including Columbia, Garfield, Island, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pacific, and Pend Oreille. Others were close. King had 52.11 percent, Spokane 56.5 and Snohomish 52.1.