The November midterm election had record voter turnout in King County with 76 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. While there were many factors that drove turnout, voters were also motivated by the four statewide measures on this year’s ballot. Millions of dollars poured into the campaigns for and against measures that would govern pollution, taxes on groceries (mainly sugary drinks), gun ownership, and police training concerning the use of deadly force. Voters were inundated with television commercials, digital ads, and mailers urging them to either approve or reject a given measure.
Statewide, voters approved all of the measures except for Initiative Measure No. 1631 concerning a fee on carbon emissions. Initiative No. 1634, which prohibits a tax on essential groceries, was the only measure rejected by King County voters. Let’s take a look at how the County’s six most-populated cities voted on each measure.
Carbon emissions fees (1631)
Renton, Kent and Federal Way rejected I-1631, which would have created a carbon fee on fossil-fuel emissions. Kent had the most NO votes, with 58 percent of voters rejecting the measure. Seattle resoundingly approved I-1631, with 73 percent voting for carbon fees.
Prohibiting local taxes on groceries (1643)
Seattle overwhelmingly rejected a ban on taxing groceries, which is no surprise since the city currently taxes soda and other sugary beverages. The measure also failed in Kirkland and Bellevue, though by just a few thousand votes. Renton, Kent and Federal Way approved the ban on a groceries tax.
Gun ownership restrictions (1639)
I-1639 raises the minimum age to buy a gun to 21, adds background checks and increases waiting periods for firearm purchases. All six cities voted to approve the measure.
Police training and use of deadly force (940)
All six cities voted to approve I-940, which requires police officers to receive de-escalation training and makes it easier to hold them criminally liable for using deadly force.